Streecar Named Desire, Oklahoma! Top Critics' 25 Important U.S. Plays & Musicals

News   Streecar Named Desire, Oklahoma! Top Critics' 25 Important U.S. Plays & Musicals A Streetcar Named Desire and Oklahoma! are the most significant play and musical of the 20th Century, according to the American Theatre Critics Association Inc. In celebration of the group's 25th anniversary, the 250-member body of newspaper, magazine, radio and television critics voted on which pieces of American theatre had the greatest impact on U.S. culture.

A Streetcar Named Desire and Oklahoma! are the most significant play and musical of the 20th Century, according to the American Theatre Critics Association Inc. In celebration of the group's 25th anniversary, the 250-member body of newspaper, magazine, radio and television critics voted on which pieces of American theatre had the greatest impact on U.S. culture.

Tennessee Williams came up twice in the top five plays with his Streetcar leading the list and The Glass Menagerie finishing fifth. The only playwright to triple-play on the list, his Cat on a Hot Tin Roof placed 15th. Repeating twice were Arthur Miller (Death of a Salesman at number 2, The Crucible, number 10), Eugene O'Neill (Long Day's Journey Into Night at number 3, The Iceman Cometh tied for 12th), Thorton Wilder (Our Town at number 4, The Skin of Our Teeth at 19), Edward Albee (Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? finished 6th, The Zoo Story tied for 24th) and David Mamet (American Buffalo at 17, Glengarry Glen Ross at 20).

A number of the top plays and musicals have had current or very recent New York revivals, including Death of a Salesman, The Iceman Cometh, Cabaret, Chicago and Kiss Me, Kate, with Inherit the Wind, Buried Child, Show Boat and Guys and Dolls also having major revivals this decade. The Fantasticks, number 16 on the musicals list, has yet to be revived -- because, of course, the original production is still running.

The entire list follows:

1. A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams
2. Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller
3. Long Day's Journey Into Night by Eugene O'Neill
4. Our Town by Thornton Wilder
5. The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams
6. Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf by Edward Albee
7. Angels in America by Tony Kushner
(tie) A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry
9. You Can't Take It With You by Moss Hart & George S. Kaufman
10. The Crucible by Arthur Miller
11. The Little Foxes by Lillian Hellman
12. Fences by August Wilson
(tie) The Iceman Cometh by Eugene O'Neill
14. The Odd Couple by Neil Simon
15. Cat on a Hot Tin Roof by Tennessee Williams
16. Waiting for Lefty by Clifford Odets
17. American Buffalo by David Mamet
(tie) Inherit the Wind by Jerome Lawrence & Robert E. Lee
19. The Skin of Our Teeth by Thornton Wilder
20. Glengarry Glen Ross by David Mamet
21. The Front Page by Ben Hecht & Charles MacArthur
(tie) Picnic by William Inge
23. The Boys in the Band by Mart Crowley
24. Buried Child by Sam Shepard
(tie) The Zoo Story by Edward Albee In the realm of musical theatre, Rodgers and Hammerstein proved to be the musical team of the century with four collaborations making the list. Oklahoma! finished first with South Pacific (tied for 10th), Carousel (11th) and The King And I (tied for 19). Apart from one another, each man made another entry; Hammerstein tied for third with Jerome Kern's Show Boat, while Rogers made number 18 with Pal Joey, written with Lorenz Hart and John O'Hara.

Multiple entries were made by Stephen Sondheim, who tied himself at number 14 with Company and Sweeney Todd, tied Rogers and Hammerstein at number 19 with Follies and with A Little Night Music tied Cole Porter, P.G. Wodehouse et al's Anything Goes. As a lyricist, Sondheim appeared again twice on the list with West Side Story (number 2) and Gypsy (number 10). Of Sondheim's bookwriters, only Hugh Wheeler doubled on the list.

The song writing team of John Kander and Fred Ebb placed twice (Cabaret at 6, Chicago at 22) as did Cole Porter (Kiss me, Kate) at 17, Anything Goes at 24).

The entire list follows:

1. Oklahoma! by Richard Rodgers & Oscar Hammerstein II
2. West Side Story by Leonard Bernstein, Stephen Sondheim & Arthur Laurents
3. Guys and Dolls by Frank Loesser, Abe Burrows & Jo Swerling
(tie) Show Boat by Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein II
5. A Chorus Line by Marvin Hamlisch, Edward Kleban, James Kirkwood & Nicholas Dante
6. Cabaret by John Kander, Fred Ebb & Joe Masteroff
7. My Fair Lady by Alan Jay Lerner & Frederick Loewe
8. Porgy and Bess by George Gershwin, Ira Gershwin & Du Bose Heyward
9. Fiddler on the Roof by Jerry Bock, Sheldon Harnick & Joseph Stein
10. Gypsy by Jule Styne, Stephen Sondheim & Arthur Laurents
(tie) Hair by Galt MacDermot, James Rado & Gerome Ragni
(tie) South Pacific by Richard Rodgers, Oscar Hammerstein II & Josh Logan
13. Carousel by Richard Rodgers & Oscar Hammerstein II
14.Company by Stephen Sondheim & George Furth
(tie) Sweeney Todd by Stephen Sondheim & Hugh Wheeler
16. The Fantasticks by Tom Jones & Harvey Schmidt
17. Kiss Me, Kate by Cole Porter, Sam Spewack & Bella Spewack
18. Pal Joey by Richard Rodgers, Lorenz Hart & John O'Hara
19. Follies by Stephen Sondheim & James Goldman
(tie) The King and I by Richard Rodgers & Oscar Hammerstein II
21. Hello, Dolly! by Jerry Herman & Michael Stewart
22. Chicago by John Kander, Fred Ebb & Bob Fosse
23. The Music Man by Meredith Willson
24. Anything Goes by Cole Porter, Guy Bolton, P.G. Wodehouse, Howard Lindsay & Russel Crouse
(tie) A Little Night Music by Stephen Sondheim & Hugh Wheeler

The American Theatre Critics Association is the only national association of professional theatre critics. Along with an annual New Play Award and the M. Elizabeth Osborn Award, the ATCA selects the new regional theatre to be included in the "Best Plays" volumes. Members of the body also nominate and vote for the regional theatre Tony Award and the Theatre Hall of Fame.