30 MORE Plays All High School Seniors Should Read (Before They Graduate) Part 2

Written by Ashleigh Gardner

August 15, 2017

Read Part 1 of this series here.

You know what’s great about being a high school senior? Graduating obviously! But another great thing about being on the cusp of your transition from high school to college (or the professional acting world) is that you’ll now get the chance to audition for some of the greatest plays ever written. You’ll have the opportunity to audition for theatres to earn the role of Freddy in Pygmalion, Nick in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, or Cory in Fences. Ophelia from Hamlet, Irina from Three Sisters, or Lysistrata from — well — Lysistrata.

To have a better chance at being cast in any of those amazing plays, you should read them first. Below is Performer Stuff’s addendum to our top 25 list of plays every high school senior should read before graduating — 30 MORE plays you should read! What are you waiting for? Get on it!

1. The Cherry Orchard by Anton Chekhov

Summary:The Cherry Orchard is the story of a mortgage, with the grounds and beautiful trees of the proud landowners going for sale at a public auction to pay off their debts to the boorish son of a peasant who has risen in the world. Mme Ranyevskaya’s family departs to take up their lives anew, leaving the old and forgotten First to die alone as the woodsmen’s axes thud ironically against the cherished trees.” – Samuel French

Get the play here.

2. Our Town by Thornton Wilder

Summary: Winner of the 1938 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. “Described by Edward Albee as ‘…the greatest American play ever written,’ the story follows the small town of Grover’s Corners through three acts: ‘Daily Life,’ ‘Love and Marriage,’ and ‘Death and Eternity.’ Narrated by a stage manager and performed with minimal props and sets, audiences follow the Webb and Gibbs families as their children fall in love, marry, and eventually – in one of the most famous scenes in American theatre – die. Thornton Wilder’s final word on how he wanted his play performed is an invaluable addition to the American stage and to the libraries of theatre lovers internationally.” – Samuel French

Get the play here.

3. The Little Foxes by Lillian Hellman (1939)

Summary: “Picture a charming home in the South. Into this peaceful scene put the prosperous, despotic Hubbard family—Ben, possessive and scheming; Oscar, cruel and arrogant; Ben’s dupe, Leo, weak and unprincipled; Regina wickedly clever—each trying to outwit the other. In contrast, meet lonely intimidated Birdie, whom Oscar wed for her father’s cotton fields; wistful Alexandra, Regina’s daughter; and Horace, ailing husband of Regina, between whom a breach has existed for years. The conflict in these lives has been caused by Ben’s ambition to erect a cotton mill. The brothers still lack $75,000 to complete the transaction. This, they hope, will come from Horace, who has been in a hospital with a heart ailment.” – Dramatists Play Service

Get the play here.

4. A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams

Summary: Winner of the 1948 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. “The play reveals to the very depths the character of Blanche du Bois, a woman whose life has been undermined by her romantic illusions, which lead her to reject—so far as possible—the realities of life with which she is faced and which she consistently ignores. The pressure brought to bear upon her by her sister, with whom she goes to live in New Orleans, intensified by the earthy and extremely ‘normal’ young husband of the latter, leads to a revelation of her tragic self-delusion and, in the end, to madness.” – Dramatists Play Service

Get the play here.

5. Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett

Summary: “In Waiting for Godot, two wandering tramps, Vladimir and Estragon, wait by a lonely tree, to meet up with Mr. Godot, an enigmatic figure in a world where time, place and memory are blurred and meaning is where you find it. The tramps hope that Godot will change their lives for the better. Instead, two eccentric travelers arrive, one man on the end of the other’s rope. The results are both funny and dangerous in this existential masterpiece.” – Samuel French

Get the play here.

6. Picnic by William Inge

Summary: Winner of the 1953 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. “The play takes place on Labor Day weekend in the joint backyards of two middle-aged widows. The one house belongs to Flo Owens, who lives there with her two maturing daughters, Madge and Millie, and a boarder who is a spinster school teacher. The other house belongs to Helen Potts, who lives with her elderly and invalid mother. Into this female atmosphere comes a young man named Hal Carter, whose animal vitality seriously upsets the entire group.” – Dramatists Play Service

Get the play here.

7. Cat on a Hot Tin Roof by Tennessee Williams

Summary: Winner of the 1955 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. “In a plantation house, a family celebrates the sixty-fifth birthday of Big Daddy, as they sentimentally dub him. The mood is somber, despite the festivities, because a number of evils poison the gaiety: greed, sins of the past and desperate, clawing hopes for the future spar with one another as the knowledge that Big Daddy is dying slowly makes the rounds.” – Dramatists Play Service

Get the play here.

8. The Diary of Anne Frank by Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett

Summary: Winner of the 1956 Pulitzer Prize. “During the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands Anne Frank began to keep a diary on June 14, 1942, two days after her 13th birthday, and twenty two days before going into hiding with her mother, father, sister, and three other people. The group went into hiding in the sealed-off upper rooms of the annex of her father’s office building in Amsterdam. The sealed-off upper-rooms also contained a hidden door which the Franks would hide in during the parts when Nazi soldiers were investigating the buildings for harbored Jews. They remained hidden for two years and one month, until their betrayal in August 1944, which resulted in their deportation going to Nazi concentration camps.” – Samuel French

Get the play here.

9. Look Homeward, Angel by Ketti Frings (novel by Thomas Wolfe)

Summary: Winner of the 1958 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. “An authentic American classic, this powerful and vital play captures the sardonic humor and the grief, both private and universal, of Wolfe’s novel about a youth coming of age. Concentrating on the last third of Wolfe’s story, the play vividly portrays Eugene Gant, his mother, who is obsessed by her material holdings and who maintains barriers against the love of her family, his father, a stonecutter imprisoned by his failures, and the brother who never breaks away.” – Samuel French

Get the play here.

10. A Delicate Balance by Edward Albee

Summary: Winner of the 1967 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. “Wealthy middle-aged couple, Agnes and Tobias have their complacency shattered when Harry and Edna, longtime friends appear at their doorstep. Claiming an encroaching, nameless ‘fear’ has forced them from their own home, these neighbors bring a firestorm of doubt, recrimination and ultimately solace, upsetting the ‘delicate balance’ of Agnes and Tobias’ household.” – Samuel French

Get the play here.

11. The Effect of Gamma Rays in the Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds by Paul Zindel

Summary: Winner of the 1971 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. “Frowzy, acid-tongued Beatrice Hunsdorfer, supporting herself and her two daughters by taking in a decrepit old boarder, wreaks a petty vengeance on everybody around her. One daughter, Ruth, is a pretty but highly strung girl subject to convulsions, while the younger daughter, Matilda (‘Tillie’), plain and almost pathologically shy, has an intuitive gift for science. Encouraged by her teacher, Tillie undertakes a gamma ray experiment with marigolds that wins a prize at her high school—and also brings on the play’s shattering climax. Proud and yet jealous, too filled with her own hurts to accept her daughter’s success, Beatrice can only maim when she needs to love and deride when she wants to praise.” – Dramatists Play Service

Get the play here.

12. The House of Blue Leaves by John Guare

Summary: “Artie Shaugnessy is a songwriter with visions of glory. Toiling by day as a zookeeper, he suffers in seedy lounges by night, plying his wares at piano bars in Queens, New York, where he lives with his wife, Bananas, much to the chagrin of Artie’s downstairs mistress, Bunny Flingus, who’ll sleep with him anytime but refuses to cook until they are married. On the day the Pope is making his first visit to the city, Artie’s son Ronny goes AWOL from Fort Dix, stowing a homemade bomb intended to blow up the Pope in Yankee Stadium.” – Samuel French

Get the play here.

13. The Shadow Box by Michael Cristofer

Summary: Winner of the 1977 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. “In this compelling dramatic triptych, three terminal cancer patients dwell in separate cottages on a hospital’s grounds. The three are attended and visited by family and close friends: Agnes and her mother Felicity, estranged further by the latter’s dementia; Brian and Beverly, whose marital complications are exacerbated by Brian’s new lover, Mark; and Joe and Maggie, unready for the strain of Joe’s impending death and its effect on their teenage son.” – Samuel French

Get the play here.

14. Buried Child Sam Shepard

Summary: Winner of the 1979 Pulitzer Prize. “The setting is a squalid farm home occupied by a family filled with suppressed violence and an unease born of deep-seated unhappiness. The characters are a ranting alcoholic grandfather; a sanctimonious grandmother who goes on drinking bouts with the local minister; and their sons, Tilden, an All-American footballer now a hulking semi-idiot; and Bradley, who has lost one leg to a chain saw. Into their midst comes Vince, a grandson none of them recognizes or remembers, and his girlfriend, Shelly, who cannot comprehend the madness to which she is suddenly introduced. The family harbors a dark secret—years earlier the grandfather, Dodge, had buried an unwanted newborn baby in an undisclosed spot.” – Dramatists Play Service

Get the play here.

15. Talley’s Folly by Lanford Wilson

Summary: Winner of the 1980 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. “The scene is the ornate, deserted Victorian boathouse on the Talley place in Lebanon, Missouri; the time 1944. Matt Friedman, an accountant from St. Louis, has arrived to plead his love to Sally Talley, the susceptible but uncertain daughter of the family. Bookish, erudite, totally honest, and delightfully funny, Matt refuses to accept Sally’s rebuffs and her fears that her family would never approve of their marriage. Charming and indomitable, he gradually overcomes her defenses, telling his innermost secrets to his loved one and, in return, learning hers as well.” – Dramatists Play Service

Get the play here.

16. True West by Sam Shepard

Summary: Finalist for the 1983 of the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. “Sons of a desert-dwelling alcoholic and a suburban wanderer clash over a film script. Austin, the achiever, is working on a script he has sold to producer Sal Kimmer when Lee, a demented petty thief, drops in. He pitches his own idea for a movie to Kimmer, who then wants Austin to junk his bleak, modern love story and write Lee’s trashy Western tale.” – Samuel French

Get the play here.

17. The Colored Museum by George C. Wolf

Summary: The Colored Museum has electrified, discomforted, and delighted audiences of all colors, redefining our ideas of what it means to be black in contemporary America. Its eleven ‘exhibits’ undermine black stereotypes old and new and return to the facts of what being black means.” – Samuel French

Get the play here.

18. The Heidi Chronicles by Wendy Wasserstein

Summary: Winner of the 1989 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. “Comprised of a series of interrelated scenes, the play traces the coming of age of Heidi Holland, a successful art historian, as she tries to find her bearings in a rapidly changing world. Gradually distancing herself from her friends, she watches them move from the idealism and political radicalism of their college years through militant feminism and, eventually, back to the materialism that they had sought to reject in the first place. […] Eventually Heidi comes to accept the fact that liberation can be achieved only if one is true to oneself, with goals that come out of need rather than circumstance.” – Dramatists Play Service

Get the play here.

19. The Piano Lesson by August Wilson

Summary: Winner of the 1990 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. “It is 1936, and Boy Willie arrives in Pittsburgh from the South in a battered truck loaded with watermelons to sell. He has an opportunity to buy some land down home, but he has to come up with the money right quick. He wants to sell an old piano that has been in his family for generations, but he shares ownership with his sister and it sits in her living room. She has already rejected several offers because the antique piano is covered with incredible carvings detailing the family’s rise from slavery. Boy Willie tries to persuade his stubborn sister that the past is past, but she is more formidable than he anticipated.” – Samuel French

Get the play here.

20. Lost in Yonkers by Neil Simon

Summary: Winner of the 1991 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. “By America’s great comic playwright, this memory play is set in Yonkers in 1942. Bella is thirty-five years old, mentally challenged, and living at home with her mother, stern Grandma Kurnitz. As the play opens, ne’er-do-well son Eddie deposits his two young sons on the old lady’s doorstep. He is financially strapped and taking to the road as a salesman. The boys are left to contend with Grandma, with Bella and her secret romance, and with Louie, her brother, a small-time hoodlum in a strange new world called Yonkers.

Get the play here.

21. Angels in America, Parts 1 and 2 by Tony Kushner

Summary: Winner of the 1993 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. “In the first part of Tony Kushner’s epic, set in 1980’s New York City, a gay man is abandoned by his lover when he contracts the AIDS virus, and a closeted Mormon lawyer’s marriage to his pill-popping wife stalls. Other characters include the infamous McCarthy-ite lawyer Roy Cohn, Ethel Rosenberg, a former drag queen who works as a nurse, and an angel.  In the second part, the plague of AIDS worsens, relationships fall apart as new ones form, and unexpected friendships take form.” – Broadway Play Publishing

Get the plays here.

22. Three Tall Women by Edward Albee

Summary: Winner of the 1994 Pulitzer Prize. “A young lawyer, ‘C,’ has been sent to the home of a client, a ninety-two-year-old woman, ‘A,’ to sort out her finances. ‘A,’ frail, perhaps a bit senile, resists and is of no help to ‘C.’ Along with ‘B,’ the old woman’s matronly paid companion/caretaker, ‘C’” tries to convince ‘A’ that she must concentrate on the matters at hand. In ‘A’s’ beautifully appointed bedroom, she prods, discusses and bickers with ‘B’ and “C,” her captives.” – Dramatists Play Service

Get the play here.

23. How I Learned to Drive by Paula Vogel

Summary: Winner of the 1998 Pulitzer Prizes for Drama. “A wildly funny, surprising and devastating tale of survival as seen through the lens of a troubling relationship between a young girl and an older man. How I Learned to Drive is the story of a woman who learns the rules of the road and life from behind the wheel.” – Dramatists Play Service

Get the play here.

24. Proof by David Auburn

Summary: Winner of the 2001 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. “On the eve of her twenty-fifth birthday, Catherine, a troubled young woman, has spent years caring for her brilliant but unstable father, a famous mathematician. Now, following his death, she must deal with her own volatile emotions; the arrival of her estranged sister, Claire; and the attentions of Hal, a former student of her father’s who hopes to find valuable work in the 103 notebooks that her father left behind. Over the long weekend that follows, a burgeoning romance and the discovery of a mysterious notebook draw Catherine into the most difficult problem of all: How much of her father’s madness—or genius—will she inherit?” – Dramatists Play Service

Get the play here.

25. Anna in the Tropics Nilo Cruz

Summary: Winner of the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. “Set in Florida in 1929 in a Cuban–American cigar factory, where cigars are still rolled by hand and “lectors” are employed to educate and entertain the workers. The arrival of a new lector is a cause for celebration, but when he begins to read aloud from Anna Karenina, he unwittingly becomes a catalyst in the lives of his avid listeners, for whom Tolstoy, the tropics and the American dream prove a volatile combination.” – Dramatists Play Service

Get the play here.

26. Doubt, a parable by John Patrick Shanley

Summary: Winner of the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. “In this brilliant and powerful drama, Sister Aloysius, a Bronx school principal, takes matters into her own hands when she suspects the young Father Flynn of improper relations with one of the male students.” – Dramatists Play Service

Get the play here.

27. Ruined by Lynn Nottage

Summary: Winner of the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. “Set in a small mining town in Democratic Republic of Congo, this powerful play follows Mama Nadi, a shrewd businesswoman in a land torn apart by civil war. But is she protecting or profiting by the women she shelters? How far will she go to survive? Can a price be placed on a human life?” – Dramatists Play Service

Get the play here.

28. Clybourne Park by Bruce Norris

Summary: Winner of the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. “CLYBOURNE PARK explodes in two outrageous acts set fifty years apart. Act One takes place in 1959, as white community leaders anxiously try to stop the sale of a home to a black family. Act Two is set in the same house in the present day, as the now predominantly African-American neighborhood battles to hold its ground in the face of gentrification.”

Get the play here.

29. Disgraced by Ayad Akhtar

Summary: Winner of the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. “Amir Kapoor is a successful Pakistani-American lawyer who is rapidly moving up the corporate ladder while distancing himself from his cultural roots. Emily, his wife, is white; she’s an artist, and her work is influenced by Islamic imagery. When the couple hosts a dinner party, what starts out as a friendly conversation escalates into something far more damaging.” – Dramatists Play Service

Get the play here.

30. The Flick by Annie Baker

Summary: Winner of the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. “In a run-down movie theater in central Massachusetts, three underpaid employees mop the floors and attend to one of the last 35 millimeter film projectors in the state. Their tiny battles and not-so-tiny heartbreaks play out in the empty aisles, becoming more gripping than the lackluster, second-run movies on screen.” – Samuel French

Get the play here.

Interested in reading more plays? Check out our other features below!

Ashleigh Gardner received her AA in Theatre/Drama/Dramatic Arts from Valencia College and her Bachelors Degree in English Literature and Masters Degree in Literary, Cultural, and Textual Studies from the University of Central Florida. She is a playwright, an actor, and PerformerStuff.com’s Editor. 
Thumbnail: Photo by Kinga Cichewicz on Unsplash