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August 30, 2007                                                                                                                      

Dark Portents Mark Dramatic Season

Somber Themes Arise in Works Honored by

Best Plays Theater Yearbook 2005-2006

(New York, NY) -- The 87th edition of The Best Plays Theater Yearbook, released today by Limelight Editions ($49.95, 562 pages), recounts the tumultuous 2005-2006 theater season, which was marred by the tragic deaths of August Wilson and Wendy Wasserstein. Both of these Pulitzer Prize-winning authors are honored in the new edition for works that rank among their finest. Throughout this edition’s selections somber themes permeate the works celebrated. From Grey Gardens to Third (alphabetically), the essays in the new edition re-capture the essence of a season marked by loss--and occasionally punctuated with laughter.

Publication of The Best Plays Theater Yearbook continues a tradition dating to 1920, when Burns Mantle founded the annual series on United States theater. National reviewers have written recently of Best Plays that it provides “consummate analysis of directions in modern theater”; that “no theater enthusiast should be without it”; that it offers “stylish commentary” on the original productions and the plays’ literary merit; and that it “remains the smartest, most comprehensive . . . survey of American theater.”

Under series editor Jeffrey Eric Jenkins, the current edition honors 10 New York-based dramatic works and three plays from the resident theater while providing a collection of viewpoints on the season under review. It also offers an extensive compendium of facts and figures about the theater season in New York and around the United States. The 87-page index alone makes this theater reference a must for libraries of every type.

The Best Plays of 2005-2006 were chosen from Broadway, Off Broadway and Off Off Broadway productions of new plays that opened between June 1, 2005 and May 31, 2006. The choices were made by Jenkins after consultation with the Best Plays editorial board, which included Robert Brustein, Tish Dace, Christine Dolen, Robert Hurwitt, John Istel, Chris Jones, Julius Novick, Michael Phillips, Christopher Rawson, Alisa Solomon, Jeffrey Sweet, Linda Winer and Charles Wright. The United States resident theater is represented in new-production statistics and in essays by Rawson and Dominic Papatola on plays recognized by the American Theatre Critics Association in its Steinberg New Play Award and Citations competition.

The Best Plays of 2005-2006 (in alphabetical order): Grey Gardens by Doug Wright, Scott Frankel and Michael Korie (essayist, Michael Feingold); The History Boys by Alan Bennett (essayist, Charles McNulty); In the Continuum by Danai Gurira and Nikkole Salter (essayist, Anne Marie Welsh); The Intelligent Design of Jenny Chow by Rolin Jones (essayist, Charles Wright); The Lieutenant of Inishmore by Martin McDonagh (essayist, John Istel); Rabbit Hole by David Lindsay-Abaire (essayist, Michael Sommers); Red Light Winter by Adam Rapp (essayist, Chris Jones); Shining City by Conor McPherson (essayist, David Cote); Stuff Happens by David Hare (essayist, Misha Berson); Third by Wendy Wasserstein (essayist, Anne Cattaneo). Each of the Best Plays of 2005-2006 is illustrated by photographic highlights from the honored production.

The Best Plays Theater Yearbook is generously supported

by the Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust