plays The Greatest Playwrights in History  

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List Rules Top writers of theatre and stage plays, including musicals

List of the best playwrights ever that span all time periods and issues in the plays that they wrote. Well known playwrights such as William Shakespeare, Tennessee Williams, and Arthur Miller are included on this list along with more modern playwrights that have yet to have the same kind of recognition as these big names and their classic plays.

A playwright writes dramatic literature or a drama and can be used as performance pieces or as closet dramas that are not performed and only read as literary works. Recognizable titles are listed with the author’s name, like “Hamlet” by William Shakespeare or “The Crucible” by Arthur Miller.

This list of the best playwrights asks the question, "Who is the best playwright ever?" and can be voted on by readers to change the order of who is on top. Each playwright is listed with a picture of themselves and have some of their most famous works listed next to their name to be identified easier. If you do not see a popular or your favorite playwright on the list, be sure to add them to have others be able to vote on them, as well.
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31 32
Stefan Zweig is listed (or ranked) 51 on the list The Greatest Playwrights in History
RazvanPop added Stefan Zweig Letter from an Unknown Woman, Marie Antoinette, The Post-Office Girl

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33 35
Cyrano de Bergerac is listed (or ranked) 52 on the list The Greatest Playwrights in History
ElijahKaganer added Cyrano de Bergerac Voyages to the Moon and the Sun, Selenarchia: The Government of the World in the Moon, The Comical History of the States and Empires of the Moon and Sun

53
77 57
Noël Coward is listed (or ranked) 53 on the list The Greatest Playwrights in History
Noël Coward Private Lives, Hay Fever, Tonight at 8:30

54
21 20
Sławomir Mrożek is listed (or ranked) 54 on the list The Greatest Playwrights in History
RazvanPop added Sławomir Mrożek DOS Cartas, Das dramatische Werk in sieben Bänden, Vatzlav

55
22 22
Niccolò Machiavelli is listed (or ranked) 55 on the list The Greatest Playwrights in History
jdbilleter added Niccolò Machiavelli The Prince, Discourses on Livy, Florentine Histories - La Mandragola (The Mandrake)

56
105 87
Stephen Sondheim is listed (or ranked) 56 on the list The Greatest Playwrights in History
Stephen Sondheim Into the Woods, Company

57
66 64
Sarah Kane is listed (or ranked) 57 on the list The Greatest Playwrights in History
Sarah Kane Blasted, Crave, Cleansed

58
45 41
Caryl Churchill is listed (or ranked) 58 on the list The Greatest Playwrights in History
Caryl Churchill Top Girls, Cloud Nine, Mad Forest

59
10 10
Jon Fosse is listed (or ranked) 59 on the list The Greatest Playwrights in History
iandmph added Jon Fosse The Girl on the Sofa, Visites - variations sur la mort, Jenta i sofaen

60
74 60
Federico García Lorca is listed (or ranked) 60 on the list The Greatest Playwrights in History
Federico García Lorca Blood Wedding, Yerma

61
42 40
Pierre de Beaumarchais is listed (or ranked) 61 on the list The Greatest Playwrights in History
ElijahKaganer added Pierre de Beaumarchais The Barber of Seville, The Marriage of Figaro, Le vœu de toutes les nations

62
21 25
Gabriele d'Annunzio is listed (or ranked) 62 on the list The Greatest Playwrights in History
RazvanPop added Gabriele d'Annunzio Cabiria, The Triumph of Death, Halcyon

63
8 9
Roland Schimmelpfennig is listed (or ranked) 63 on the list The Greatest Playwrights in History
iandmph added Roland Schimmelpfennig Woman Before, Push up, The Golden Dragon

64
40 38
Dario Fo is listed (or ranked) 64 on the list The Greatest Playwrights in History
ElijahKaganer added Dario Fo Master Breasts: Objectified, Aesthetisized, Fantasized

65
9 11
Simon Stephens is listed (or ranked) 65 on the list The Greatest Playwrights in History
iandmph added Simon Stephens On the Shore of the Wide World, Harper Regan, Port

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David Mamet is listed (or ranked) 66 on the list The Greatest Playwrights in History
David Mamet Race, Glengarry Glen Ross

67
8 11
Ivor Martinić is listed (or ranked) 67 on the list The Greatest Playwrights in History
Tenya added Ivor Martinić

68
7 11
Biljana Srbljanović is listed (or ranked) 68 on the list The Greatest Playwrights in History
Tenya added Biljana Srbljanović Porodične priče, The Fall, Skakavci

69
73 69
Lillian Hellman is listed (or ranked) 69 on the list The Greatest Playwrights in History
Lillian Hellman The Children's Hour, Another Part of the Forest, The Lark

70
7 11
Tena Štivičić is listed (or ranked) 70 on the list The Greatest Playwrights in History
Tenya added Tena Štivičić Fragile!

71
13 11
Elfriede Jelinek is listed (or ranked) 71 on the list The Greatest Playwrights in History
maya365 added Elfriede Jelinek The Piano Teacher, Malina, Greed

72
10 7
Rainer Werner Fassbinder is listed (or ranked) 72 on the list The Greatest Playwrights in History
maya365 added Rainer Werner Fassbinder Berlin Alexanderplatz, Querelle, World on a Wire

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6 13
Milena Markovic is listed (or ranked) 73 on the list The Greatest Playwrights in History
Tenya added Milena Markovic White White World, Tomorrow Morning

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11 20
Guillaume Apollinaire is listed (or ranked) 74 on the list The Greatest Playwrights in History
RazvanPop added Guillaume Apollinaire L'hérésiarque et Cie, Les Onze Mille Verges ou les Amours d'un hospodar, Alcools

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40 32
Friedrich Dürrenmatt is listed (or ranked) 75 on the list The Greatest Playwrights in History
RazvanPop added Friedrich Dürrenmatt The Marriage of Mr. Mississippi, It Happened in Broad Daylight, The Judge and His Hangman

76
26 43
Denis Diderot is listed (or ranked) 76 on the list The Greatest Playwrights in History
RazvanPop added Denis Diderot Memoirs of a Nun, Rameau's Nephew, Encyclopédie

77
9 7
Pier Paolo Pasolini is listed (or ranked) 77 on the list The Greatest Playwrights in History
Pier Paolo Pasolini La Dolce Vita, The Gospel According to St. Matthew, Nights of Cabiria

78
14 16
Thomas Bernhard is listed (or ranked) 78 on the list The Greatest Playwrights in History
Patryk Michalak added Thomas Bernhard Extinction, Correction, Old Masters

79
38 32
William Inge is listed (or ranked) 79 on the list The Greatest Playwrights in History
thebeauseph added William Inge Splendor in the Grass, Let's Make It Legal, Come Back

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Vladimir Mayakovsky is listed (or ranked) 80 on the list The Greatest Playwrights in History
RazvanPop added Vladimir Mayakovsky Mystery-Bouffe, Night & Morning, The bedbug

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18 21
Botho Strauß is listed (or ranked) 81 on the list The Greatest Playwrights in History
Mollevangsvagen added Botho Strauß The Distant Land, Theaterstücke 3. 1993 - 1999, Schlußchor. Drei Akte

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18 20
Pierre de Marivaux is listed (or ranked) 82 on the list The Greatest Playwrights in History
RazvanPop added Pierre de Marivaux L' épreuve, Le préjugé vaincu, La Vie de Marianne

83
12 14
Witold Gombrowicz is listed (or ranked) 83 on the list The Greatest Playwrights in History
Patryk Michalak added Witold Gombrowicz Three Plays, Trans-Atlantyk, Les Envoûtés

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Karel Čapek is listed (or ranked) 84 on the list The Greatest Playwrights in History
RazvanPop added Karel Čapek War with the Newts, Adam the creator, R.U.R.

85
25 33
Georg Büchner is listed (or ranked) 85 on the list The Greatest Playwrights in History
RazvanPop added Georg Büchner Werke und Briefe, Briefe von ihm und Briefe an ihn, Woyzeck

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51 29
Lin-Manuel Miranda is listed (or ranked) 86 on the list The Greatest Playwrights in History
-1454876775214 added Lin-Manuel Miranda

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7 10
Conor McPherson is listed (or ranked) 87 on the list The Greatest Playwrights in History
maya365 added Conor McPherson The Eclipse, I Went Down, This Lime Tree Bower: Three Plays

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71 49
Sam Shepard is listed (or ranked) 88 on the list The Greatest Playwrights in History
Sam Shepard True West, Fool for Love, Cowboy Mouth

89
36 36
Mikhail Bulgakov is listed (or ranked) 89 on the list The Greatest Playwrights in History
ElijahKaganer added Mikhail Bulgakov The Master and Margarita, The White Guard, Heart of a Dog

90
34 33
John Osborne is listed (or ranked) 90 on the list The Greatest Playwrights in History
RazvanPop added John Osborne Tom Jones, The Entertainer, The Charge of the Light Brigade

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34 33
Tracy Letts is listed (or ranked) 91 on the list The Greatest Playwrights in History
thebeauseph added Tracy Letts Killer Joe, August: Osage County, Bug

92
21 18
Seán O'Casey is listed (or ranked) 92 on the list The Greatest Playwrights in History
leoc added Seán O'Casey Juno and the Paycock, Juno and the Paycock, The Plough and the Stars

93
32 32
Yasmina Reza is listed (or ranked) 93 on the list The Greatest Playwrights in History
RazvanPop added Yasmina Reza Carnage, Art, God of Carnage

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Ludovico Ariosto is listed (or ranked) 94 on the list The Greatest Playwrights in History
RazvanPop added Ludovico Ariosto Sir John Harington's translation of Orlando Furioso, Il negromante, Orlando Furioso

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4 8
Marius von Mayenburg is listed (or ranked) 95 on the list The Greatest Playwrights in History
maya365 added Marius von Mayenburg Fireface, The Ugly One

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32 36
Peter Weiss is listed (or ranked) 96 on the list The Greatest Playwrights in History
Peter Weiss Marat/Sade

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5 11
Mark Ravenhill is listed (or ranked) 97 on the list The Greatest Playwrights in History
maya365 added Mark Ravenhill Faust, Bette Bourne: It Goes with the Shoes, Pool (No Water) & Citizenship

98
27 29
W. Somerset Maugham is listed (or ranked) 98 on the list The Greatest Playwrights in History
RazvanPop added W. Somerset Maugham Of Human Bondage, The Razor's Edge, The Unfaithful

99
27 30
Émile Zola is listed (or ranked) 99 on the list The Greatest Playwrights in History
RazvanPop added Émile Zola Nana, Germinal, Thérèse Raquin

100
37 43
Aaron Sorkin is listed (or ranked) 100 on the list The Greatest Playwrights in History
RazvanPop added Aaron Sorkin The Social Network, A Few Good Men, Moneyball