Heads up! We’re working hard to be accurate – but these are unusual times, so please always check before heading out.
Since as far back as fifth-century B.C. Athens, playwrights have plucked the family tree for the fruits of comedy and tragedy. From Sophocles to Shakespeare, bloodlines equal plot lines. And while changing customs and technology have altered every aspect of our lives, the family remains a basic unit of society, source material for dramatists today, from Broadway shows to Off-Off experiments. To compile this ranked list, we had to narrow the category a bit, to American nonmusical works. It’s worth noting that a significant number of the titles—and many in the top ten—are by dead white males from the previous century. Either that means the genre had its heyday 70-odd years ago, or family dramas by women and playwrights of color will make their impact on the canon in the years to come. Some, iike Young Jean Lee and Katori Hall, already have. At any rate, everyone is welcome at the table.