The Count 2.0

Who’s Getting Produced in the U.S.?

the count hero image; the count 2.0; who's getting produced in the us?

Written by Julia Jordan
Treasurer of the Dramatists Guild
Executive Director of The Lillys

In this second installment of The Count, we have tried to put a stronger focus on context with which to think about the statistics that we’ve gathered. Of course, all of us hold biases. I, for one, do believe that the American theatre would be more exciting, influential and have a higher bar for excellence if it produced a more diverse host of writers. And I hope The Count itself helps to push theatre in that direction. So that’s out there. Some may quibble with the contextual statistics that we have chosen and/or left out, but they seem fairly basic to us. That said, we have also attempted to hold our editorializing in check by presenting the statistics simply and plainly.

then and now graph; 1.0 compared to 2.0

gains and losses graph

I feel it is my duty, though, to encourage you to look closely at the smallest bars on the graphs and the tiniest slices of pie. One of the most remarked upon statistics in The Count 1.0 was the exceeding low numbers of women of color whose work reached production. It might not look like much on a bar graph, and is still vastly out of proportion to their actual presence (see context!), but theatres seem to have responded to that information by almost doubling their percentage in just three years.

three pie charts on the 2017 census; ba degrees awarded in performing arts; ba degrees awarded in english literature

have refined our statistical focus surrounding “unique writers” by counting the writers who reach production, rather than the numbers of productions (“unique productions”). Tracking both led to confusion. On a national scale, the two lines of inquiry were not numerically all that different, which led to us seeing them quoted interchangeably. All statistics in 2.0 are based on “unique writers.”

united states regions graph

In The Count 2.0, there is a new line of study on revivals and new plays. The statistics presented here will serve as a baseline and, we expect, will be interesting to track across subsequent years. The big question here is not simply “how many of each?” but will the larger numbers of women and writers of color produced in the past three years enter the canon? Ten years from now, will a larger number of them be performed and seen again? Is our culture actually changing or are we temporarily racking up numbers to suit the current social mood?

The Count graphic

Click here to read the count 1.0

documenting the changes at the guild; the past 21 years

methodology for the count; the lilly's and dg logo
In order to maintain accurate and comparable data each year, we created criteria, controls, and rules for the theatres, productions, and writers. Our goal is to compare apples to apples each year. However, if better methodology is discovered we will be able to amend our process and back-date data. If a new theatre is suggested for the study, and it meets all of the criteria, we will include the theatre in future studies. All of the theatres were chosen by the Dramatists Guild’s regional representatives located in their area.


  • Not-for-profit, regional theatres that met our criteria were studied. This includes Off-Broadway, Off-Off Broadway, and a few Broadway Theatres.
  • Produced at least three plays or musicals each season counted.
  • Had at least a ten-year history of professionally producing plays or musicals.
  • Was routinely reviewed by national or regional press.
  • Must have had three productions that ran longer than 21 performances each season counted.

147 theatres 3970 productions


  • A revival is considered any production that is produced more than ten years after its premiere.
  • A new production is considered any play or musical that is produced as a premiere, or within ten years of the original premiere.
  • A season is considered any performances between September 1 and August 31 of the year counted.
  • In the event a production spanned across multiple seasons it was counted in the season in which the greater number of performances took place.
  • Devised theatre productions are not counted in our study unless attributed to specific author(s).


  • To ensure the data was not skewed toward greater gender imbalance by revivals of classic works, we did not count dramatists who died more than 50 years before the revival.
  • Transgender writers were counted by the pronoun they used to self-identify at the time the counted production took place.
  • Race was determined by researching how the writers chose to self-identify in interviews or on their websites.
  • For adapted plays or musicals, we counted the adapter not the writer/s of the original work.
  • For translated plays or musicals with multiple writers we split one count by how many writers there were. (i.e. for a musical with a librettist, lyricist, and composer, each writer was credited with one third of a percentage point.)

six seasons 2011-2017


  • The data was collected primarily from each individual theatre and/or writer’s website.
  • In the rare case the website did not contain all the needed information, we consulted reviews, interviews, and Doolee.
  • If we are unable to determine any of the studied factors using the methods above, we’ll reach out directly to the theatre and/or writer to self-identify.


  • The first report of The Count was published in 2015. It created a baseline by averaging three seasons: 2011-2012, 2012-2013, 2013-2014.
  • The current report features data for six complete seasons: 2011-2012, 2012-2013, 2013-2014, 2014-2015, 2015-2016, 2016-2017.
  • In most cases, the data is a comparison between The Count 1.0 (our baseline) and the 2016-2017 season.


Project conceived by: Julia Jordan and Marsha Norman
Project Funded By: The Lillys and the Dramatists Guild
Statistics By: Anya Marchenko and Graham Tierney, University of Chicago
Graphics By: Bekka Lindstrom
Edited By: Joey Stocks
Researchers: Serena Berman, EllaRose Chary, Lily Dwoskin, Elana Gartner, Phillip Lawson, Nathan Wei Chi Liu, Sarah Rebell, Emily Ryan, Michelle Tse
Original Research Conducted By: DG Staff, Lilly Awards Staff, DG Regional Reps, DG Ambassadors, DG Council Members, Lilly Awards Board Members, DG Fellows, DG Members, and DG Interns.


the theatres: list of all theatres counted

The 5th Avenue Theatre
ACT Theatre
Actor’s Express
Actors Theatre of Louisville
Alley Theatre
Alliance Theatre
American Conservatory Theatre
American Repertory Theater
Arden Theatre Company
Arena Stage
Arizona Theatre Company
Arkansas Repertory Theatre
ArtsWest Theatre
Asolo Repertory Theatre
Atlantic Theater Company
Aurora Theatre Company
Bay Area Children’s Theatre
Berkeley Rep
Boston Playwrights’ Theatre
Broward Stage Door Theatre
Bucks County Playhouse
Capital Repertory Theatre
Center Stage
Center Theatre Group
Central Works Theater
Chicago Shakespeare Theater
Children’s Theatre Company
Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park
City Theatre (Pittsburgh)
Cleveland Play House
Colony Theatre
The Coterie
Court Theatre
Curious Theatre Company
Dallas Theater Center
Denver Center Theatre Company
Drury Lane
Ensemble Studio Theatre
Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati
Everyman Theatre
The Flea Theater
Florida Repertory Theatre
Florida Studio Theatre
Ford’s Theatre
Gable Stage
Geffen Playhouse
George Street Playhouse
Geva Theatre Center
Goodman Theatre
Goodspeed Musicals
Guthrie Theatre
Hartford Stage
History Theatre
Horizon Theatre Company
Indiana Repertory Theatre
InterACT Theatre
The Irish Repertory Theatre
The Jungle Theater
Kansas City Repertory
La Jolla Playhouse
La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts
Laguna Playhouse
Lincoln Center Theater
Long Wharf Theatre
Lookingglass Theatre
Lyric Stage Company of Boston
Magic Theatre
Magik Theatre
Maltz Jupiter Theatre
Manhattan Theatre Club
Marin Theatre Company
Marriott Theatre
MCC Theater
McCarter Theatre
Meadow Brook Theatre
Milwaukee Repertory Theater
MusicalFare Theatre
The New Group
New Jersey Repertory Company
New Repertory Theatre
New York Theatre Workshop
North Carolina Stage
Northern Stage Company
Northlight Theatre
The Old Globe
Onley Theatre Center
Oregon Shakespeare Festival
Orlando Shakespeare Theater
Palm Beach Dramaworks
Paper Mill Playhouse
Park Square Theatre
Pasadena Playhouse
People’s Light & Theatre Company
Perseverance Theatre
Philadelphia Theatre Company
Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera
Pittsburgh Public
Playwrights Horizons
Portland Center Stage
Portland Playhouse
Portland Stage Company
Primary Stages
The Public Theater
Purple Rose Theatre Company
Rattlestick Playwrights Theater
The Reparatory Theatre of St. Louis
Round House Theatre
Roundabout Theater Company
Sacramento Theatre Company
Salt Lake Acting Company
San Diego Repertory Theatre
San Francisco Playhouse
Seattle Children’s Theatre
Seattle Repertory Theatre
Second Stage Theatre
Shotgun Players
Signature Theatre
Signature Theatre Company
South Coast Repertory
Southern Rep
Stages Repertory Theatre
Steppenwolf Theatre Company
Studio Theatre
Syracuse Stage
Taproot Theatre
Theater J
Theatre Three
Toby’s Dinner Theatre
Triad Stage
Trinity Repertory Company
Two River Theater
Unicorn Theatre
Utah Shakespeare Festival
Victory Gardens Theater
Village Theatre
Vineyard Theatre
Virginia Repertory Theatre
Walnut Street Theatre
Westport Country Playhouse
Williamstown Theatre
Wilma Theater
Woolly Mammoth
ZACH Theatre

Graphic of The Count 2.0