Women Playwrights Of Diversity

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The cultural and ethnic diversity of contemporary American society is represented in plays by women. These women playwrights of diverse backgrounds, however, are too infrequently seen on the stage or read in the classroom. This reference highlights the careers and work of more than 80 women playwrights whose writings portray the African American, Latina, Asian American and lesbian sensibility in the United States. Each profile includes a biographical sketch, a description of plays, a selected production history of each work, information on the availability of plays, awards won by the playwright, and a selected bibliography of critical articles and reviews. Introductory essays begin the volume, and the work concludes with a selected bibliography of major studies.

The ethnic and cultural diversity of the United States is well represented by contemporary dramatists. Women playwrights have made many contributions to American drama, and their plays portray a broad range of cultural experiences. These dramatists, however, are too frequently underrepresented on the stage and in the classroom. This reference book presents the African American, Latina, Asian American, and lesbian perspective in the United States. Many of the playwrights are established; others are emerging. Playwrights were selected based on the recommendations of theatre professionals and leading scholars, along with the production record of the writer and the production potential for the plays.

Included are alphabetically arranged entries for dramatists such as Maria Irene Fornes, the Five Lesbian Brothers, Adrienne Kennedy, Velina Hasu Houston, Holly Hughes, Lisa Loomer, Suzan-Lori Parks, and Wakako Yamauchi. Each entry includes a brief biographical narrative, descriptions of individual plays, a selected production history of each drama, information on the availability of both published and unpublished works, a listing of awards won by the playwright, and a selected bibliography of critical articles and reviews. The volume begins with introductory essays which overview the contributions of African American, Asian American, Latina, and lesbian women playwrights, providing a valuable context for the profiles that follow. The book concludes with a selected bibliography of major critical and scholarly studies.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Any volume that brings attention to playwrights who do not fit neatly into the mainstream is to be welcomed, and this is such a book. It focuses on contemporary, self-identified Asian American, African American, Latina, and lesbian playwrights, the majority of whose work was written after 1970. This informative work is a good single source in which to find what is often difficult-to-locate material. Eighty-nine women are given extensive treatment: a biographical narrative, descriptions of the plays, a selected production history, play availability, awards, and a selected bibliography of critical and review articles. An appendix lists 58 playwrights not included in the main body of the text, including Native American (a category not used in the main grouping). Many of these talented women have received little attention, and researchers and theater enthusiasts should be glad that the authors have brought this project to fruition. Recommended for all academic and large public libraries.Susan L. Peters, Emory Univ. Lib., Atlanta, Ga.
A reference for scholars and a practical resource for theater practitioners seeking plays by Latina, Asian-American, African- American, or lesbian women. Each entry includes a brief biographical narrative, descriptions of plays, a selected production history of each work, the availability of the plays, awards, and a select bibliography of critical and review articles. The playwrights were chosen from recommendations submitted. Works that are unlikely to be performed by anyone but the author are excluded. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780313291791
  • Publisher: ABC-CLIO, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 4/30/1997
  • Pages: 418
  • Lexile: 1420L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 6.14 (w) x 9.21 (h) x 0.94 (d)

Meet the Author

JANE T. PETERSON is Assistant Professor in the Department of Broadcasting, Speech, Communication, Dance, and Theatre at Montclair State University.

SUZANNE BENNETT is Artistic Associate at the Women's Project and Productions and a director and dramaturge in New York City.

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Table of Contents



Introduction: The Challenges of Diversity


The Sista Masses (1970-1990s): African American Women Playwrights by Sydne Mahone

Brave, Bold, and Poetic: The New Generation of Asian American Women Playwrights by Chiori Miyagawa

Beyond the Festival Latino: (Re)Defining Latina Drama for the Mainstage by Tiffany Ana Lopez

Lesbian Playwrights: Diverse Interests, Identities and Styles by Jill Dolan


Appendix A: Playwrights by Cultural/Ethnic Grouping

Appendix B: Additional Playwrights

Appendix C: Nominators--Theatres

Appendix D: Nominators--Individuals

Selected Bibliography


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