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The Best Broadway Plays of the '90s

Updated June 14, 2019 854 votes 124 voters 13.3k views31 items

What are the top Broadway plays of the 1990s? This list has been ranked by theater lovers to determine the best non-musical plays on Broadway running from 1990 to 1999, a decade of rising usage of and influence from cable television and the internet. As entertainment continued to evolve in America, what were the Broadway plays from the 1990s?

Though no longer the golden age of Broadway, the 90s saw a new generation of talent emerge on Broadway that attracted younger fans, mostly students who were offered discounted tickets at many Broadway theaters. Though 90s musicals still reigned supreme on the stage, with shows such as Rent and Aida, a number of non-musical Broadway plays opened in the 1990s.

Lettice and Lovage was a comedic play that opened at the start of the decade, and though it ran for fewer than 300 performances, the play was nominated for several Tonys and won two for acting. Written by Peter Shaffer (also the author of Equus and Amadeus), the show was adapted for an American audience instead of its original English audience.  

The Pulitzer Prize-winning play by Neil Simon, Lost in Yonkers, was another standout Broadway production when it opened in 1991 and ran for almost 800 performances. A coming-of-age story, Lost in Yonkers depicted a dysfunctional family through the eyes of a 15-year-old. The play won the Tony Award for Best Play in 1991, as well as several Tony acting accolades. 

What are the top non-musical Broadway shows from the 1990s? Cast your votes below to rank the best Broadway plays of the 90s.
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  • 1
    37
    13

    Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes

    Tony Kushner
  • 2
    19
    9

    Arcadia

    Tom Stoppard

    CharactersRichard Noakes, Septimus Hodge, Captain Brice, Lady Croom, Valentine Coverly

    Arcadia is a 1993 play by Tom Stoppard concerning the relationship between past and present, order and disorder, certainty and uncertainty. It has been praised by many critics as the finest play from...  more
  • 3
    19
    21

    Freak

    John Leguizamo
  • 4
    11
    11

    Lost in Yonkers

    Neil Simon

    CharactersLouie Kurnitz, Bella, Jay, Eddie, Louie

    Lost in Yonkers is a play by Neil Simon. The play won the 1991 Pulitzer Prize for Drama....  more
  • 5
    11
    11

    Lettice and Lovage

    Peter Shaffer

    CharactersLettice Douffet, Mr. Bardolph, A Surly Man, Lotte Schoen, Miss Framer

    Lettice and Lovage is a comedic and satire play by Peter Shaffer. It is centered around a flamboyant tour guide who loves to embellish the history behind an English country house and who butts heads...  more
  • 6

    CharactersLouisa ('Ouisa') Kittredge, Paul, Trent Conway, Elizabeth, Kitty

    Six Degrees of Separation is a play written by American playwright John Guare that premiered in 1990. The play was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize for Drama and was nominated for the Tony Award for...  more
  • 7
    15
    21

    Master Class

    Terrence McNally , Vincenzo Bellini
    Master Class is a 1995 play by American playwright Terrence McNally, presented as a fictional master class by opera singer Maria Callas near the end of her life, in the 1970s. As such, the play...  more
  • 8
    10
    16

    The Judas Kiss

    David Hare
  • 9
    10
    17
    The Grapes of Wrath is a 1988 play adapted by Frank Galati from the classic John Steinbeck novel of the same name, with incidental music by Michael Smith. The play debuted at the Steppenwolf Theatre...  more
  • 10
    5
    9

    Someone Who'll Watch Over Me

    Frank McGuinness
  • 11
    12
    23

    CharactersBuzz Hauser, Perry Sellars, James Jeckyll, Bobby Brahms, Gregory Mitchell

    Love! Valour! Compassion! is a play by Terrence McNally. The play opened Off-Broadway in 1994 and transferred to Broadway in 1995. It won the Tony Award for Best Play and the Drama Desk Award for...  more
  • 12
    11
    21

    'Art'

    Yasmina Reza
    'Art' is a French-language play by Yasmina Reza that premiered in 1994 at Comédie des Champs-Élysées in Paris. The play subsequently ran in London in 1996 and on Broadway in 1998....  more
  • 13
    12
    23

    The Piano Lesson

    August Wilson

    CharactersDoaker, Boy Willie, Lymon, Berniece, Maretha

    The Piano Lesson is a 1990 play by American playwright August Wilson. It is the fourth play in Wilson's The Pittsburgh Cycle. Wilson began writing this play by playing with the various answers...  more
  • 14
    9
    19

    Indiscretions

    Jean Cocteau
  • 15
    8
    18

    Seven Guitars

    August Wilson

    CharactersFloyd Barton, Louise, Hedley, Canewell, Ruby

    Seven Guitars is a 1995 play by American playwright August Wilson. It focuses on seven African-American characters in the year 1948. The play begins and ends after the funeral of one of the main...  more
  • 16
    10
    23

    The Sisters Rosensweig

    Wendy Wasserstein
    The Sisters Rosensweig is a play by Wendy Wasserstein. The play focuses on three Jewish-American sisters and their lives. It "broke theatrical ground by concentrating on a non-traditional cast of...  more
  • 17
    5
    16

    The Old Neighborhood

    David Mamet
  • 18
    6
    16

    Two Trains Running

    August Wilson

    CharactersWolf, Holloway, West, Hambone, Memphis

    Two Trains Running is a play by American playwright August Wilson, the seventh in his ten-part series The Pittsburgh Cycle. It was first performed by the Yale Repertory Theatre in New Haven,...  more
  • 19
    9
    21

    CharactersPeter

    Prelude to a Kiss is a 1988 play by Craig Lucas. It tells the story of a couple that falls in love despite the girl's pessimistic outlook on life. Shortly after their wedding, a supernatural event...  more
  • 20
    6
    18

    CharactersPaulina Escobar, Gerardo Escobar, Dr. Roberto Miranda

    Death and the Maiden is a 1990 play by Chilean playwright Ariel Dorfman. The world premiere was staged at the Royal Court Theatre in London on 9 July 1991, directed by Lindsay Posner. It had one...  more
  • 21
    6
    18

    Having Our Say

    Emily Mann
  • 22
    8
    23

    Moon Over Buffalo

    Ken Ludwig
  • 23
    6
    21

    Dancing at Lughnasa

    Brian Friel

    CharactersKate Mundy, Gerry Evans, Christina Mundy, Maggie Mundy, Agnes Mundy

    Dancing at Lughnasa is a 1990 play by dramatist Brian Friel set in Ireland's County Donegal in August 1936 in the fictional town of Ballybeg. It is a memory play told from the point of view of the...  more
  • 24
    7
    22

    Skylight

    David Hare
  • 25

    CharactersCarol Wyman, Kenny Franks, Lucas Brickman, Ira Stone, Harry Prince

    Laughter on the 23rd Floor is a play by Neil Simon....  more