Essays about the ten chosen plays will be featured in the upcoming tome, the latest in the series that dates back to 1920. Editor Jeffrey Eric Jenkins, in consultation with his editorial board — Robert Brustein, Tish Dace, Christine Dolen, Robert Hurwitt, John Istel, Chris Jones, Julius Novick, Michael Phillips, Christopher Rawson, Alisa Solomon, Jeffrey Sweet, Linda Winer and Charles Wright — chose the top-ten list from a mix of Broadway, Off-Broadway and Off-Off Broadway productions. Plays up for consideration opened between June 1, 2004, and May 31, 2005. The ten plays chosen and the essayists who will write about them follow:
After Ashley by Gina Gionfriddo (Essay by Elizabeth Maupin)
Brooklyn Boy by Donald Margulies (Essay by Michael Feingold)
Democracy by Michael Frayn (Essay by Chris Jones)
Doubt by John Patrick Shanley (Essay by Jeremy McCarter)
Gem of the Ocean by August Wilson (Essay by Christopher Rawson)
Guantanamo by Victoria Brittain and Gillian Slovo (Essay by Charles Wright)
Hot 'n' Throbbing by Paula Vogel (Essay by David Savran)
A Number by Caryl Churchill (Essay by Robert Hurwitt)
The Pillowman by Martin McDonagh (Essay by John Istel)
Romance by David Mamet (Essay by Robert Vorlicky)
In addition to the plays, the 86th edition of the series also honors three regional plays and provides a collection of facts and figures about the year in American theatre.
"The Best Plays Theater Yearbook: The Best Plays of 2004-2005" will be published by Limelight Editions. This edition will be dedicated to the memory of critic Mel Gussow, a longtime "Best Plays" collaborator.