Summer Reading List: Plays You'll Want to Produce. Includes a production photo from the Inheritance.

10 Superb Plays for Summer Reading That You’ll Want to Produce at Your Theater

Lounging by the pool may be nice, but lounging with a script is even nicer. Pick up some new scripts on your vacation to get ready for season planning!

  1.  School Girls; or, The African Mean Girls Play
  2. The Play That Goes Wrong
  3. Fairview
  4. Usual Girls
  5. The Half-Life of Marie Curie
  6. Grand Horizons
  7. The Inheritance Part 1
  8. The New Englanders
  9. Mlima’s Tale
  10. Rx

Taupe and white poster with geometric pattering. In orange and green script: School Girls or The African Mean Girls PlaySchool Girls; or, The African Mean Girls Play 

Jocelyn Bioh 

Paulina, the reigning queen bee at Ghana’s most exclusive boarding school, has her sights set on the Miss Global Universe pageant. But the arrival of Ericka, a new student with undeniable talent and beauty, captures the attention of the pageant recruiter—and Paulina’s hive-minded friends. This buoyant and biting comedy explores the universal similarities (and glaring differences) facing teenage girls across the globe. 

Why you should read: 

No matter the time or place, a clique of teenage girls is probably having the same conversations around a lunch table somewhere. Jocelyn Bioh perfectly captures these dynamics with humor and heart, with realistic portrayals of colorism and societal rifts in Ghana. 


Henry Lewis, Jonathan Sayer, & Henry Shields 

From Mischief, Broadway masters of comedy, comes the smash hit farce. Welcome to opening night of the Cornley University Drama Society’s newest production, The Murder at Haversham Manor, where things are quickly going from bad to utterly disastrous. This 1920s whodunit has everything you never wanted in a show—an unconscious leading lady, a corpse that can’t play dead, and actors who trip over everything (including their lines). Nevertheless, the accident-prone thespians battle against all odds to make it through to their final curtain call, with hilarious consequences! Part Monty Python, part Sherlock Holmes, this Olivier Award–winning comedy is a global phenomenon that’s guaranteed to leave you aching with laughter! 

Why you should read:  

As one of our newest popular releases, you’ll want to get your hands on this as soon as possible! While a play going wrong is every director’s worst nightmare, this expertly-crafted comedy is a perfect trainwreck. 


Jackie Sibblies Drury 

At the Frasier household, preparations for Grandma’s birthday party are underway. Beverly is holding on to her sanity by a thread to make sure this party is perfect, but her sister can’t be bothered to help, her husband doesn’t seem to listen, her brother is MIA, her daughter is a teenager, and maybe nothing is what it seems in the first place…! Fairview is a searing examination of families, drama, family dramas, and the insidiousness of white supremacy. 


Why you should read: 

This 2019 Pulitzer Prize Winner is a must-read. What starts as a portrait of a family shifts into something much more sinister once they are under the gaze of intrusive white onlookers.  


Ming Peiffer 

Kyeoung has spent her entire life negotiating the double standards imposed on her as an Asian-American woman. Bullied by boys in childhood, ostracized by girls as a teen, and gas-lit by men as an adult, her experiences with sexuality grow more and more challenging. As we trace Kyeoung from the insecurity of puberty to the disenchantment of her adult life, Usual Girls chronicles the wonder, pain, and complexity of growing up female. 

Why you should read: 

Usual Girls portrays some of the most embarrassing, uncomfortable, and complicated parts of being a girl on stage. Ming Peiffer, an up-and-coming female playwright of color, illustrates the extreme highs and lows of growing up as an Asian-American woman. TW: rape. 

Lauren Gunderson 

In 1911, Marie Curie won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for her discovery of the elements radium and polonium. By 1912, she was the object of ruthless gossip over an alleged affair with the married Frenchman Paul Langevin, all but erasing her achievements from public memory. Weakened and demoralized by the press lambasting her as a “foreign” Jewish temptress and a homewrecking traitor, Marie agrees to join her friend and colleague Hertha Ayrton, an electromechanical engineer and suffragette. The Half-Life of Marie Curie revels in the power of female friendship as it explores the relationship between these two brilliant women, both of whom are mothers, widows, and fearless champions of scientific inquiry. 

Why you should read:  

This duet piece is a stunning portrayal of strength and friendship. Although they were historical figures, Marie and Hertha’s stories told through Lauren Gunderson’s powerful dialogue are sure to resonate with audiences today.  


Bess Wohl 

Fifty years into their marriage, Bill and Nancy want a divorce. While they seem unfazed by the decision, their two adult sons are shaken to the core, forced to reexamine everything they thought they knew about their parents’ outwardly happy lives. As the family grapples with their new reality, each must reckon with their own imperfect past and how their collective love for each other might express itself in new and unlikely forms. 

Why you should read: 

This play features excellent roles for older actors and is FUNNY! With common themes experienced while growing older, Grand Horizons is perfect if you’re looking for a wonderfully entertaining and thought-provoking night of theatre.  


Matthew López 

Winner of the 2020 Tony Award for Best Play. Winner of the 2020 Drama Desk Award for Best Play. Winner of the 2019 Olivier Award for Best Play. Decades after the height of the AIDS epidemic, THE INHERITANCE tells the story of three generations of gay men in New York City attempting to forge a future for themselves amid a turbulent and changing America. Eric Glass is a political activist engaged to his writer boyfriend, Toby Darling. When two strangers enter their lives—an older man and a younger one—their futures suddenly become uncertain as they begin to chart divergent paths. Inspired by E.M. Forster’s masterpiece Howards End, The Inheritance is an epic examination of survival, healing, class divide, and what it means to call a place home. 

Why you should read: 

If you like Angels in America, The Inheritance should be top on your list. It explores the effect of the AIDS epidemic on gay men, New York City, and the world in this beautifully haunting two-part epic. 


The New Englanders 

Jeff Augustin 

Can you ever really live the life you envisioned? In a mixed race family, a teenaged daughter and her dads are each trying to find happiness. Eisa wants to be the next Lauryn Hill and is struggling to break free of her sleepy New England town where she feels hopelessly trapped. Her fathers are each being pulled in different directions of their own, one trying to reconnect with an old love, the other clinging to the path he always believed would be their future. 

Why you should read: 

The New Englanders is a contemporary story about a found family in times of crisis. With a small six-person cast, each character’s unique identity and experiences are explored in this humorous drama. 


Lynn Nottage 

Mlima is a magnificent elephant trapped by the underground international ivory market. As he follows a trail littered by a history of greed, Mlima takes us on a journey through memory, fear, tradition, and the penumbra between want and need. 

Why you should read: 

With a powerful four-person ensemble, Mlima’s Tale is a beautiful and heart-wrenching story about the ivory trade in Africa. Two-time Pulitzer Prize winner Lynn Nottage combines lyrical language with expressive staging to create a memorable night of theatre. 



Kate Fodor 

Phil is a researcher entrusted with the first major trial of Thriveon, Schmidt Pharma’s experimental treatment for workplace depression. Meena is a study subject who is depressed by her workplace. Can Thriveon cure Meena? Can Meena cure Phil? A comedy about big love, big dreams and Big Pharma. 

Why you should read: 

While themes of depression and Big Pharma might carry negative connotations, Rx is a hilarious satire on workplace efficiency. If you’re a fan of Apple TV’s Severance, read Rx as soon as possible. 

Previous PostNext Post