Bradley Brunstetter

Or: Lady Playwrights I know / a diatribe.  

Okay, so I am finally being bloggy about this – last week – the Times ran an article about the very interesting findings of a grad student, Emily Glassberg, who did her thesis at Princeton on Gender Bias in the theater (towards playwrights, in particular).

The findings were pretty ummmmmm terrifying. I have to be honest, maybe it comes from having three brothers and a blissfully domestic mommy –  but I have yet in my life to get riled up over anything gender-related, really. I have always considered myself more of just a playwright than Lady playwright. (This might be bad. Is this bad?)

 But I have to say, this study was pretty eye-opening and did burn my biscuit, just a bit.  Emily found that plays, when sent to theaters for critique – GOT BETTER SCORES WHEN THE PEN NAME WAS CHANGED TO THAT OF A GENTLEMAN’s. I mean, just WOW. Also, the low scores were given by – you guessed it – the ladies of the theater themselves. In addition, the percentage of produced plays written by women are pretty grim.

So this has caused quite the stir, naturally. It’s gotten me to thunking, though. I’m lucky enough to know a lot of  young lady playwrights that are doing very well for themselves – some I know from Ars Nova – some I don’t really know but pretend to know and harbor healthy amounts of envy for. Healthy.

Like fellow ars nover Ms. Annie Baker


Who’s play Body Awareness was a HUGE SUCCESS at the Atlantic last fall. She’s received grants from Time Warner, MacDowell – developed plays with Soho Rep – Sundance Theater Institute – and Her play Circle Mirror Transformation opens at Playwright’s Horizons in the fall. Nice!

And then also Carly Mensch


Who preceded me as the playwright in residence at Ars Nova who – while still studying at Julliard – had plays the Humana (All Hail Hurricane Gordo) and Second Stage (Len, Asleep in Vinyl), and now is working on a commission for Playwrights Horizons.

Or gah! The pretty Mrs. Liz Flahive!


Who’s (first) play From up Here, produced by Manhattan Theater Club last year, won the Drama Desk, and landed her an envied spot on the staff of the new show Nurse Jackie.

OR! OR! OR! Amy Herzog!


A Yale alum, who is currently developing a new play up at the Williamstown Theater Festival – who has been produced all OVER the proverbial wazoo.

AND AND AND! Polly Stenham (one that I do not  really know)  –


 who’s first play went up at the Royal Court in London when she was just 19 – that play (That Face) is being produced by Manhattan Theater Club in 2010.

And finally, of course, my hero – Sarah Ruhl


…..the genius behind turning her characters into almonds – Her play The Vibrator Play is going to Broadway.

So there.

Not like ‘so there’ like the study is not totally valid and right. Just ‘so there’ as in wanting to sing the praises of all the good things that are happening.

Okay, now I go burn my bra, or make a layer cake, or both.

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