‘Tis the season for shopping! Whether you’re looking to update your script library at home or you have a classroom just waiting to be filled with new plays, we’ve gathered the top plays everyone should have in their hands this year.
Playscripts’ Top Plays of 2022:
I and You
One afternoon, Anthony arrives unexpectedly at classmate Caroline’s door bearing a beat-up copy of Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass, an urgent assignment from their English teacher. Homebound due to illness, Caroline hasn’t been to school in months, but she is as quick and sardonic as Anthony is athletic, sensitive, and popular. As these two let down their guards and share their secrets, this seemingly mundane poetry project unlocks a much deeper mystery that has brought them together. I and You is an ode to youth, life, love, and the strange beauty of human connectedness.
Dating is wild, especially if you’re a praying mantis and your date might bite your head off. Or a ram and you have to fight another ram on your first date with an ewe. Or a lobster discovering falling in love means molting. (Beavers have nothing to worry about though; they pair-bond forever and raise children equally.) Luckily there’s Zoodate, the first-ever dating app for animals. Zoodate: When animal instincts just aren’t enough. Not responsible for terrible dates with bad animals.
The Brothers Grimm Spectaculathon
The fairy tales of the Brothers Grimm are turned on their heads in this fast-paced, rollicking ride as two narrators and several actors attempt to combine all 209 stories ranging from classics like Snow White, Cinderella, and Hansel and Gretel to more bizarre, obscure stories like The Devil’s Grandmother and The Girl Without Hands. A wild, free-form comedy with lots of audience participation and madcap fun. (A one-act version of this play is also available.)
It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play
Adapted by Joe Landry
This beloved American holiday classic comes to captivating life as a live 1940s radio broadcast. With the help of an ensemble that brings a few dozen characters to the stage, the story of idealistic George Bailey unfolds as he considers ending his life one fateful Christmas Eve. (A short version of this play is also available.)
When the aging king of a Magical Kingdom (England) decides to split his empire between his three daughters, Cinderella, Belle, and the Snow Queen (who in no way resembles a copyrighted character), terrible tragedy ensues. Terrible, hilarious tragedy. Combining the gut-wrenching plot twists of Game of Thrones and the soul-numbing despair of Shakespearean tragedy, this adaptation of King Lear will leave you dying with laughter as the body count mounts. When you play the Game of Tiaras, you win or you die.
Everyone Gets Eaten By Sharks
From the Mouths of Monsters
Teenage poet Michelle is used to fading into the background. Performing at a poetry slam feels impossible, until she is offered a mask with the power to remove the wearer’s doubts. But when the mask proves to have other strange powers, Michelle must dig deeper to find her true voice. An imaginative slam-poetry fable inspired by Frankenstein. Recommended for grades 3 and up!
Container of Sharks!
There are two sides to every story.
In 17, Robbie asks his friends to meet up and talk before they go to his longtime girlfriend’s surprise birthday party. As the conversation progresses, the four friends reveal things that forever change the way they see each other.
In 18, Sloane’s friends are setting up for her birthday. When they find out she and Robbie broke up the night before, they realize everything is changing as they get older.
17/18 explores how one breakup makes two friend groups contend with anxieties about growing up, their identities, and the future.
Both plays are available to license together or separately.
Dramatists Play Service’s Top Plays of 2022:
Welcome to Almost, Maine, a place that’s so far north, it’s almost not in the United States. It’s almost in Canada. And it’s not quite a town, because its residents never got around to getting organized. So it almost doesn’t exist. One cold, clear, winter night, as the northern lights hover in the star-filled sky above, the residents of Almost, Maine, find themselves falling in and out of love in unexpected and hilarious ways. Knees are bruised. Hearts are broken. But the bruises heal, and the hearts mend—almost—in this delightful midwinter night’s dream.
On the first night of Winter Break, nineteen teenagers, some who know each other, some who don’t, wrestle with friendships, breakups, loss, graduating, and finding their place in the world. Alternately hilarious and touching, WINTER BREAK was slated for the 2020 Educational Theatre Association commission.
In CLYDE’S, a truck stop sandwich shop offers its formerly incarcerated kitchen staff a shot at redemption. Even as the shop’s callous owner tries to keep them down, the staff members learn to reclaim their lives, find purpose, and become inspired to dream by their shared quest to create the perfect sandwich.
Recipient of The Tony Award® for Best Play
The story focuses upon a young farmer, his wife, and a young servant-girl who maliciously causes the wife’s arrest for witchcraft. The farmer brings the girl to court to admit the lie—and it is here that the monstrous course of bigotry and deceit is terrifyingly depicted. The farmer, instead of saving his wife, finds himself also accused of witchcraft and ultimately condemned with a host of others.
The action is set in Truvy’s beauty salon in Chinquapin, Louisiana, where all the ladies who are “anybody” come to have their hair done. Helped by her eager new assistant, Annelle (who is not sure whether or not she is still married), the outspoken, wise-cracking Truvy dispenses shampoos and free advice to the town’s rich curmudgeon, Ouiser, (“I’m not crazy, I’ve just been in a bad mood for forty years”); an eccentric millionaire, Miss Clairee, who has a raging sweet tooth; and the local social leader, M’Lynn, whose daughter, Shelby (the prettiest girl in town), is about to marry a “good ole boy.” Filled with hilarious repartee and not a few acerbic but humorously revealing verbal collisions, the play moves toward tragedy when, in the second act, the spunky Shelby (who is a diabetic) risks pregnancy and forfeits her life. The sudden realization of their mortality affects the others, but also draws on the underlying strength—and love—which give the play, and its characters, the special quality to make them truly touching, funny and marvelously amiable company in good times and bad.
Every Brilliant Thing
Duncan Macmillan, with Jonny Donahoe
You’re six years old. Mum’s in hospital. Dad says she’s “done something stupid.” She finds it hard to be happy. So you start to make a list of everything that’s brilliant about the world. Everything that’s worth living for. 1. Ice cream. 2. Kung Fu movies. 3. Burning things. 4. Laughing so hard you shoot milk out your nose. 5. Construction cranes. 6. Me. You leave it on her pillow. You know she’s read it because she’s corrected your spelling. Soon, the list will take on a life of its own. A play about depression and the lengths we will go to for those we love.
William Goldman, Based on the Novel by Stephen King
Misery follows successful romance novelist Paul Sheldon, who is rescued from a car crash by his “number one fan,” Annie Wilkes, and wakes up captive in her secluded home. While Paul is convalescing, Annie reads his latest book and becomes enraged when she discovers the author has killed off her favorite character, Misery Chastain. Annie forces Paul to write a new Misery novel, and he quickly realizes Annie has no intention of letting him go anywhere. The irate Annie has Paul writing as if his life depends on it, and it does.
Set in South Harlem, amidst a vibrant and eclectic community of West African immigrants, MERRY WIVES is a New York story about tricks of the heart. A raucous spinoff featuring the Bard’s most beloved comic characters, this hilarious farce tells the story of the trickster Falstaff and the wily wives who outwit him in a celebration of Black joy, laughter, and vitality.
The Wickhams: Christmas at Pemberley
Lauren Gunderson and Margot Melcon
In this delightful companion play to Miss Bennet, Gunderson and Melcon once again bring Austen’s beloved characters to the stage for a yuletide sequel to Pride and Prejudice. While Miss Bennet depicted the newly wed Darcys’ Christmas gathering on the ground floor of Pemberley, THE WICKHAMS takes audiences to the downstairs servants’ quarters for that same celebration. Mrs. Reynolds, a no-nonsense housekeeper; Cassie, an eager new maid; and Brian, a lovesick footman, are bustling with preparations for holiday guests. But their work is interrupted by the midnight arrival of the definitely not invited Mr. Wickham—Lydia’s rogue of a husband and Mr. Darcy’s sworn enemy. THE WICKHAMS is a charming holiday tale that explores the confines of class and the generosity of forgiveness.