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We asked several Guild members, “Who is an overlooked dramatist from the past everyone should know and what is your favorite work of theirs?”

Here are seven recommendations to add to your reading list.


Dramatist: JOHN BELLUSO (1969-2006)

• Born in Warwick, RI, he had Engleman-Camurdrie syndrome, a rare bone disorder that taxes the muscles, and used a wheelchair since he was thirteen.

• Completed both BA and MFA degrees at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts Dramatic Writing program studying with Tony Kushner, John Guare, Tina Howe, and Eduardo Machado.

• Honors include 1995 John Golden Playwriting Prize, Mark Taper Forum’s Sherwood Award for Emerging Theatre Artists, NEA/TCG playwright-in-residence at Trinity Rep, and a Resident Artist at the Mark Taper Forum.

• Also wrote for television, including the first season of HBO’s Deadwood.

Must read: Gretty Good Time.

Recommended by Caridad Svich

Dramatist: HOWARD SIMON (1963-2000)

• Born in Cleveland, OH.

• Received a BA degree from Morehouse College and MFA from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts Dramatic Writing.

• Taught in the New York City school system.

• Died at the age of 37, three days after his play (recommended below) opened to favorable reviews off-Broadway.

Must read: James Baldwin: A Soul on Fire.

Recommended by ROGER Q. MASON

Dramatist: DOLORES PRIDA (1943-2013)

• Born in Caibarién, Cuba, migrating with her family to New York City in 1961.

• Attended Hunter College, later becoming a journalist and playwright.

• Was a founding member of Latina magazine, senior editor of Nuestro magazine, and literary manager of the International Arts Relations (INTAR).

• For her playwrighting she won the Cintas Fellowship Award for Literature (1976), the Creative Artistic Public Service Award for Playwriting (1976), and the Excellence in Arts Award (1987).

Must read: Beautiful Señoritas.

Recommended by TERE MARTÍNEZ

DramatistSIDNEY KINGSLEY (1906-1995)

• Born in New York City.

• Studied at Cornell University.

• Won the 1934 Pulitzer Prize for Drama for Men in White.

• Elected thirteenth President of the Dramatists Guild in 1964.

Must read: Detective Story.

Recommended by JEFFREY SWEET

Dramatist: PHILLIP HAYES DEAN (1931-2014)

• Born in Chicago, IL.

• Attended Wayne State University.

• To date, his play Paul Robeson has been produced on Broadway three times.

• His recommended play below won a Drama Desk Award and the second-ever Hull-Warriner Award (from the Guild) in 1972

Must read: The Sty of the Blind Pig.

Recommended by KERMIT FRAZIER

Dramatist: NELSON RODRIGUES (1912-1980)

• Born in Recife, the capital of the Brazilian state of Pernambuco.

• He was a playwright, journalist, and novelist.

• Wrote seventeen full-length plays, nine novels, and thousands of short stories.

• He is widely regarded as Brazil’s greatest playwright.

Must read: The Wedding Dress

Recommended by MJ KAUFMAN


Dramatist: WILLIAM S. YELLOW ROBE, JR. (1960-2021)

• Born in Poplar, MT. A member of the Assiniboine and Sioux Tribes of the Fort Peck Indian Reservation.

• He was an actor, author, director, educator, playwright, and poet.

• His many honors include the 2021 Flora Roberts Award, the Lifetime Achievement Award of the Native Writer’s Circle of the Americas, a Rauschenberg Foundation Residency, the Native American Achiever’s Award from the Smithsonian Institute’s National Museum of the American Indian, and an honorary doctorate from University of Montana.

• Read the roundtable on page 30 to learn more about his life and work.

Must read: Wood Bones

Recommended by LLOYD SUH