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Women's Theater Movement

Women have consistently been marginalized in the theater profession, being under-represented as characters, playwrights, directors and technicians.  Beginning in the 1970s, inspired by the emergence of the Women’s Rights Movement, women theater professionals organized and established theaters that produced plays by women that dealt with feminists issues.

In the 1960s, 83 percent of professional playwrights and directors were men.  According to a study done by the New York State Council in 2001, only 17 percent of playwrights and 22 percent of directors were women, indicating that over the course of more than forty years not much has changed. Theater is still an unequal profession.

Wendy Wasserstein, Beth Henley, Marsha Norman, Paula Vogel and Ntozake Shange were involved in the Women’s Theater Movement.

Wendy Wasserstein

The Heidi Chronicles and Other Plays. San Diego: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, [1990].

This collection includes Wassertsein’s three earliest plays, including the title play for which she was awarded the 1989 Pulitzer Prize for Drama.

The Sisters Rosenzweig. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, [1993].

This play premiered Off-Broadway in a Lincoln Center Theater production at the Mitzi Newhouse Theater on October 22, 1992 and closed on February 28, 1993 after 149 performances. Directed by Daniel J. Sullivan, the cast of The Sisters Rosenzweig included Jane Alexander and Madeline Kahn.

Beth Henley

Beth Henley: Four Plays. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann/Methuen, [1992].

This collection contains The Wake of Jamey Foster, The Miss Firecracker Contest, The Lucky Spot and Abundance.

Crimes of the Heart. New York: Viking Press: Penguin Books, 1982.

Paula Vogel

The Baltimore Waltz. New York: Dramatists Play Service, [1992].

Open to an introduction written by Vogel and a letter from her brother.

Tina Howe

Approaching Zanzibar. New York: Theater Communications Group, [1989].

Ntozake Shange

For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide, When the Rainbow is Enuf: a Choreopoem. New York: MacMillan, [1977].

Spell Number Seven. London: Methuen, 1985.

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