Information about Twentieth Century North American Drama
1. Introduction - personal account of how the database was created.
2. About the Database - a description of the contents of the database and its purpose.
3. Editorial Policy - detailed criteria used in selecting materials.
4. Errata - known errors in this database.
5. Release Notes - notes on this version of the database.
6. Software Requirements - notes on which browsers are supported.
7. Technical Support - whom to contact for technical support.
8. Subscription and Free Trial Information - how to get a subscription or a trial.
9. License Agreement - licensing terms and conditions.
10. Acknowledgements - charter customers and individuals who contributed.
11. How to Contribute Materials or Comments - how to contribute materials.
12. Copyright and Performance Permission Statement - copyright terms and conditions.
13. Archiving - how this material is preserved for the future.
14. Cataloging Records - what kind of MARC records will be available for this collection.

1.   An Introduction to Twentieth Century North American Drama

This eighth release of Twentieth Century North American Drama includes 2,058 plays by 434 playwrights. New to this release are many important names in contemporary theatre, such as Jon Robin Baitz, Lee Blessing, Tina Howe, David Henry Hwang, Naomi Iizuka, David Ives, Richard LaGravanese, Kenneth Lonergan, Elizabeth Swados, Lanford Wilson, and Craig Wright. In addition, recent works by several major writers have been added, including plays by Horton Foote, Romulus Linney, Sam Shepard and Adrienne Kennedy.

Many of the preeminent playwrights of the past century are well-represented: David Mamet, Marsha Norman,August Wilson, Emily Mann, David Rabe, and Eugene O'Neill, among others. Pulitzer prize winners from every decade of the century are included.

The early part of the 20th century is covered thoroughly, with the plays of David Belasco, George Cohan, Susan Glaspell, Rachel Crothers, Elmer Rice, Gertrude Stein, Owen Davis, Langdon Mitchell, Ben Hecht, Augustus Thomas, Percival Wilde, Sophie Treadwell, Zoe Akins, Percy McKaye, and many others. Important works from of the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s will include George Kaufman, Maxwell Anderson, William Saroyan, Garson Kanin, Philip Barry, Langston Hughes, George Kelly, S.N. Behrman, Robert Sherwood, and Sidney Kingsley, among others. Playwrights from the latter part of the twentieth century include Neil LaBute, John Guare, David Mamet, Jane Martin, Sam Shepard, James Baldwin, David Rabe, Paddy Chayefsky, Beth Henley, Maria Irene Fornes, Kenneth Lonergan, Richard Foreman, and Lee Breuer.

In addition, we plan to include a number of plays of particular social significance, such as the "people’s theatre" exemplified in performances by The Living Theatre and The Open Theatre. This material, with its heavy social and political overtones, will be of particular interest to students and scholars of popular culture and history.

For every major author, we aim to include the person’s entire corpus. Students of film will find much of value in Twentieth Century North American Drama. The collection includes texts and details of plays that subsequently were made into films.

The collection includes selected authors from Alexander Street’s other projects, including Black Drama, Latino Literature, Asian American Drama, and North American Women’s Drama. In addition, the project specifically targets gay and lesbian theatre, along with plays drawn from the Jewish theatre, American Indian theatre, and other groups.

Twentieth Century North American Drama includes sections devoted to regional theatre and contemporary theatre. The aim is to have several hundred plays that have never been published before. The collection will contain not only the texts themselves, but also hundreds of playbills, posters, and other ephemera. As with Alexander Street’s other drama databases, significant information is included about productions, performances, theatrical companies, and other details.

Will Whalen
Editor, Twentieth Century North American Drama

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2.   About Twentieth Century North American Drama

Twentieth Century North American Drama contains the full text of 2,059 plays written from the late 1800s to the present by more than 400 playwrights from North America. Many of the works are rare, hard-to-find, or out of print.  Nearly a quarter of the collection will consist of previously unpublished plays.

Each play is extensively and deeply indexed, allowing both keyword and multi-fielded searching. The plays are accompanied by reference materials, significant ancillary information, a rich performance database, and images. The result is an exceptionally deep and unified collection that illustrates the many purposes that theater has served.

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3.   Editorial Policy

We consulted several bibliographies in creating the database, and content selection is under the direction of our editors and advisors. The collection’s unpublished portion has evolved mostly under the direction of the playwrights themselves.

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4.   Errata

It is our goal to have no errors in this database. Below are known errors in this release of the database which will be rectified in the next release.

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5.   Release Notes

This release of the database includes 2,059 plays by 434 playwrights.

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6.   Software Requirements

Twentieth Century North American Drama is optimized to operate with Microsoft Internet Explorer 7.0 or higher, and Firefox 3.0.

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7.   Technical Support

You can contact us by:

When reporting a problem please include your customer name, e-mail address, phone number, domain name or IP address and that of your web proxy server if used.

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8.   Subscription and Free Trial Information

Twentieth Century North American Drama is available for one-time purchase of perpetual access, or as an annual subscription. Please contact us at if you wish to begin a subscription or to request a free 30-day trial

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7.   License Agreement

Terms of Use

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10.   Acknowledgements

Twentieth Century North American Drama was made possible through the hard work of the following individuals:

Catherine Mardikes Software development and design, University of Chicago
Mark Olsen Software development and design, University of Chicago
Will Whalen Editorial selection, rights negotiation, commissioning, Alexander Street Press
John Sciarretto Lead Indexer, Alexander Street Press
Pat Carlson Editor, Alexander Street Press
Graham Dimmock Software development, Alexander Street Press
Dave Althen Sourcing, Alexander Street Press
Sean Preilipper Sourcing, Alexander Street Press
Michael Kangal Sourcing, proofing, mark-up, images, Alexander Street Press
Janice Cronin Finance, Alexander Street Press
Tanya Walls Finance, Alexander Street Press
Eileen Lawrence Research, Alexander Street Press
Milena Gruwell Indexer, Alexander Street Press
John Cicero Software development, Alexander Street Press
Charles Cooney Software development and design
...and, most of all, the authors and their families Editorial advice, historical information, script identification, contact information, and everything else

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11.   How to Contribute Materials or Comments

Our goal is to create a unique archive of Twentieth Century North American Drama according to the editorial criteria expressed above. We welcome contributions from organizations and individuals, especially if you have materials that are unpublished or of unique interest. Submitting materials to our editors is easy and without obligation on your part. If you have collections of substantial value, we may be able to pay you a royalty in return for the rights to use them.

  • To submit materials for inclusion in Twentieth Century North American Drama, please email the Editor at or mail them to Alexander Street Press, 3212 Duke Street, Alexandria, VA 22314.
  • If you are a commercial publisher who would like to discuss licensing materials for inclusion in the database, please contact the Editor at or 1-800-889-5937 or 1-703-212-8522.
  • To report factual errors or to suggest improvements, please email us at Please include the author, the document, and the page number. Please also include your email address, so that we can let you know the status of your correction.

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12.   Copyright and Performance Rights

Professionals and amateurs are hereby warned that plays and materials in this database are fully protected under the copyright laws of the United States of America, and all other countries covered by the International Copyright Union (including the British Commonwealth and Canada), and of all countries covered by the Pan-American Copyright Convention, and the Universal Copyright Convention, and of all countries with which the United States has reciprocal copyright relations.  All rights, including but not limited to professional, amateur, motion pictures, recitation, lecturing, public reading, radio broadcasting, television, video or sound taping, all other forms of mechanical or electronic reproduction, including information storage and retrieval systems and photocopying, and the rights of translation into foreign languages, are strictly reserved.

Plays from this collection may not be performed without securing permission from the appropriate copyright holders, as listed in the bibliographic display for each play.  Particular emphasis is laid upon the question of readings, permission for which must be secured in writing.  All production rights reserved.  Under no circumstances may any electronic form (CD-ROM, online, or other local storage medium) be used to create production copies of the play. 

Specific performance rights information for each play can be found in the bibliographic detail display for that play.  Alexander Street Press makes no guarantee that this information is correct.  For plays where no performance rights information is listed Alexander Street Press does not warrant that no performance rights exist. 

We are eager to hear from any rights owners who are not properly identified so that appropriate information may be provided in the future. Please e-mail the editor at the address below.

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13.   Archiving

Texts produced for Twentieth Century North American Drama are considered research materials and receive the same level of stewardship as books, paper documents, and photographs. Once complete, copies of the database will be given to all purchasing institutions, so ensuring that the materials are available to subsequent generations.

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14.   Cataloging Records

MARC records are available for this collection. Each play has its own MARC record to allow linking from the OPAC to the individual item. This will enable patrons to link directly from a publish access catalog to all documents pertaining to that author.To retrieve these records, please see our site at and select the records for Twentieth Century North American Drama.


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