The Best Plays Theater Yearbook






NEW YORK (August 11, 2008) -- Continuing a tradition that dates back to 1920, when Burns Mantle founded the annual Best Plays Theater Yearbook, the Best Plays of 2007–2008 were announced today by editor Jeffrey Eric Jenkins.


For the 89th edition, to be published by Limelight Editions early in 2009, the annual chronicle of United States theater honors 10 new plays. In addition to the Best Plays of 2007–2008, the volume also honors three regional plays cited in the Harold and Mimi Steinberg New Play Awards and Citations competition, which is administered by the American Theatre Critics Association. As always, the Best Plays Theater Yearbook will continue to build its ongoing theater history project with a comprehensive collection of facts and figures about the year in United States theater.


The Best Plays of 2007–2008 were chosen from Broadway, Off Broadway and Off Off Broadway productions of new plays that opened between June 1, 2007 and May 31, 2008. The choices were made by the editor after consultation with the Best Plays Theater Yearbook editorial board, which includes Tish Dace, Christine Dolen, Sylviane Gold, Robert Hurwitt, John Istel, Chris Jones, Charles McNulty, Julius Novick, Christopher Rawson, Alisa Solomon, Jeffrey Sweet, Anne Marie Welsh, Linda Winer and Charles Wright. Robert Brustein is consulting editor to the series.


Jenkins, who will survey the Broadway and Off Broadway season, noted that “this season the choices were again more difficult than in the previous year. There were many fine plays among the four dozen we considered as finalists and we might easily have added another five or six honorees. Contrary to the ‘conventional wisdom’ of some observers, these are exciting times to be a theatergoer.” In addition to the 10 New York premieres honored, master playwright Edward Albee is honored with a Special Citation for Peter and Jerry, a re-thinking and expansion of The Zoo Story. Veteran theater critic Michael Sommers will examine the ways Albee’s classic one-act play has shifted into a fuller expression of the human condition. For the 89th edition, George Jean Nathan Award winner Sylviane Gold will explore the Off Off Broadway scene in search of highlights for the annual OOB overview.


Each of the Best Plays of 2007–2008 will be celebrated in an essay to be published in The Best Plays Theater Yearbook 2007–2008. The Best Plays of 2007–2008 (in alphabetical order):


Adding Machine by Jason Loewith and Joshua Schmidt (essayist, Jeffrey Sweet)

August: Osage County by Tracy Letts (essayist, Chris Jones)

Dividing the Estate by Horton Foote (essayist, Garrett Eisler)

eurydice by Sarah Ruhl (essayist, Celia Wren)

The Farnsworth Invention by Aaron Sorkin (essayist, Christopher Rawson)

100 Saints You Should Know by Kate Fodor (essayist, John Istel)

The Receptionist by Adam Bock (essayist, David Cote)

Rock ’n’ Roll by Tom Stoppard (essayist, Charles Wright)

The Seafarer by Conor McPherson (essayist, Charles McNulty)

Yellow Face by David Henry Hwang (essayist, Dan Bacalzo)



Peter and Jerry by Edward Albee (essayist, Michael Sommers)

            (Retitled in 2008 as At Home at the Zoo)





(Administered by the American Theatre Critics Association)

New Play Award ($25,000): 33 Variations by Moisés Kaufman (essayist, Nelson Pressley)

Produced by Arena Stage in Washington, DC

Citation ($7,500): End Days by Deborah Zoe Laufer (essayist, Christine Dolen)

Produced by Florida Stage in Manalapan, Florida

Citation ($7,500): Dead Man’s Cell Phone by Sarah Ruhl (essayist, Peter Marks)

Produced by Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company in Washington, DC


Mailing address: Jeffrey Eric Jenkins, Best Plays Theater Yearbook, 825 President Street, Brooklyn, NY 11215. Phone: 718-789-5553; e-mail:; web: