The Kilroys, a group of female playwrights and producers, is named after the graffiti left by World War II soldiers and others to make their presence known.
The lack of plays written by women has been a topic of discussion both on and Off-Broadway. The recently concluded 2013-14 Broadway season did not include any new plays written by women, and none of the plays that have been announced for the 2014-15 season is by a woman.
"We've had a lot of conversations with artistic directors who defend their season lineups by complaining they have no access to quote-unquote good plays written by females or people identifying as female," playwright Sheila Callaghan ("Port Out, Starboard Home") told the Times. "The list lets us deliver 46 great plays to people who can't seem to find them."
The Times reports that the Kilroys asked 127 playwrights, dramaturgs and artistic directors to recommend plays written by women that were among the best they had seen or read over the previous year but had one or no productions. Of the more than 300 plays that were recommended, 46 were selected. Martha Lavey, artistic director of Steppenwolf Theater Company in Chicago, and Adam Greenfield, director of new play development at Playwrights Horizons Off-Broadway, were among the participants. Among the recommended plays were works by Pulitzer Prize winner Paula Vogel, Tanya Barfield, Halley Feiffer, Janine Nabers and Anna Ziegler.
A survey conducted in 2013 found that 16 percent of the shows at nine major theatres that season in Southern California were written by women. The same proportion were directed by women. Similar percentages were found in Broadway and Washington.
"Some of the spikiest, most trenchant writing I'm reading lately is by female playwrights," Lavey told the Times.
To read the list of recommended plays, visit thekilroys.org/thelist/.