This volume addresses the work of women playwrights throughout the history of the American theater, from the early pioneers to contemporary feminists. Each chapter introduces the reader to the work of one or more playwrights, covering significant writers such as Rachel Crothers, Susan Glaspell, Lillian Hellman, Sophie Treadwell, Lorraine Hansberry, Alice Childress, Megan Terry, Ntozake Shange, Adrienne Kennedy, Wendy Wasserstein, Marsha Norman, Beth Henley and Maria Irene Fornes, in the context of topics such as early comedy and melodrama, feminism and realism, the Harlem Renaissance and feminism.
List of illustrations; List of contributors; Preface; Chronology Stephanie Roach; Part I. Pioneers: 1. Comedies by early American women Amelia Howe Kritzer; 2. Women writing melodrama Sarah J. Blackstone; 3. Realism and feminism in the Progressive era Patricia R. Schroeder; Part II. Inheritors: 4. Susan Glaspell and Modernism Veronica Makowsky; 5. The Expressionist movement: Sophie Treadwell Jerry Dickey; 6. Feminism and the marketplace: the career of Rachel Crothers Brenda Murphy; 7. The Harlem Renaissance and the New Negro movement Judith L. Stephens; 8. Lillian Hellman: feminism, formalism, and politics Thomas P. Adler; 9. From Harlem to Broadway: African-American women playwrights at mid-century Margaret Wilkerson; Part III. New Feminists: 10. Feminist theory and contemporary drama Janet Brown; 11. Feminist theater of the 'Seventies' in the United States Helene Keyssar; 12. Contemporary Playwrights/traditional forms Laurin Porter; 13. Wendy Wasserstein: a feminist voice from the Seventies to the present Jan Balakian; Part IV. Further Reading: 14. Contemporary American women playwrights: a brief survey of key scholarship Christy Gavin; 15. African-American women playwrights before 1930 Christine R. Gray; Works cited; Index.