A Chekhov in Training
Playwriting in America has tended to be a man’s game. Many American women have written individual hit plays, but only three—Lillian Hellman, Wendy Wasserstein, and the long-forgotten Rachel Crothers—scored multiple successes on Broadway in the 20th century, and their track records there have yet to be rivaled. Only eight plays by women (not counting adaptations) have won the Pulitzer Prize since World War II, and of them only three—Beth Henley’s Crimes of the Heart (1980), Marsha Norman’s ’Night, Mother (1983), and Wasserstein’s The Heidi Chronicles (1988)—enjoyed extended Broadway runs. And while women playwrights are now ubiquitous, none is widely known by name to the public at large.
About the Author
Terry Teachout, Commentary’s critic-at-large and the drama critic of the Wall Street Journal, is the author of the forthcoming Duke: A Life of Duke Ellington (Gotham Books). Satchmo at the Waldorf, his first play, was produced last year in Lenox, Massachusetts, New Haven, and Philadelphia.