American Female Playwrights

Right IconThis ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

Vote for Your Favourite American Female Playwrights
 1 
Danai Gurira
(Actress and Playwright)
Danai Gurira
21
Birthdate: February 14, 1978
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Grinnell, Iowa, United States
Danai Gurira is best known as Michonne from The Walking Dead and as Okoye from the Marvel films Black Panther, Avengers: Infinity War, and Avengers: Endgame. She earned a Tony nomination for writing the Broadway play Eclipsed. She has been a UN Goodwill Ambassador and promotes arts and women empowerment.
 2 
Zoe Kazan
(American Actress Known for Her Role in the TV Series 'Olive Kitteridge')
Zoe Kazan
6
Birthdate: September 9, 1983
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, United States

Born to screenwriters Nicholas Kazan and Robin Swicord, Zoe Kazan is also the granddaughter of director Elia Kazan and thus was never a stranger to show business. Now a regular on Broadway and in films, she also bagged an Emmy nomination for her role in the miniseries Olive Kitteridge.

 3 
Mae West
(Actress, Screenwriter, Singer)
Mae West
4
Birthdate: August 17, 1893
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York, United States
Died: November 22, 1980
Mae West began her career as a child actor in vaudeville. She later appeared in films such as You Done Me Wrong and Go West, Young Man. She became famous for her signature double entendres and sexual liberty she projected on screen. She also wrote books and plays later.
 4 
Nora Ephron
(Screenwriter, Producer, Director)
Nora Ephron
5
Birthdate: May 19, 1941
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: New York City, New York, United States
Died: June 26, 2012

Nora Ephron was an American writer, filmmaker, and journalist. She is known for writing films like Sleepless in Seattle and When Harry Met Sally... The Nora Ephron Prize was created by the Tribeca Film Festival in her memory. Her life and work inspired the 2016 documentary film Everything Is Copy, which was directed by her son Jacob Bernstein.

 5 
Gertrude Stein
(American Novelist, Poet and Playwright)
Gertrude Stein
4
Birthdate: February 3, 1874
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States
Died: July 27, 1946

Gertrude Stein was an American playwright, novelist, poet, and art collector. She is remembered for publishing works about lesbian sexuality, which was considered a taboo at that time. Over the years, Gertrude Stein has been the subject of several works of art. In the 2011 movie Midnight in Paris, Stein was portrayed by Kathy Bates.

 6 
Lorraine Hansberry
(Writer, Theatre director, Screenwriter, Playwright, Human rights activist)
Lorraine Hansberry
7
Birthdate: May 19, 1930
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, United States
Died: January 12, 1965

Lorraine Hansberry was a writer and playwright best remembered for her play A Raisin in the Sun which emphasizes the plight of African-Americans living under racial segregation. At the age of 29, Lorraine Hansberry received the New York Drama Critics' Circle Award, becoming the youngest playwright and the first African-American dramatist to win the prestigious award.

 7 
Ruth Gordon
(Actress)
Ruth Gordon
5
Birthdate: October 30, 1896
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Quincy, Massachusetts, United States
Died: August 28, 1985
 8 
Amanda Palmer
(Singer, Street artist, Composer, Pianist, Musician, Playwright, Blogger, Songwriter)
Amanda Palmer
5
Birthdate: April 30, 1976
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: New York City
 9 
Lillian Hellman
(Dramatist and Screenwriter)
Lillian Hellman
4
Birthdate: June 20, 1905
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: New Orleans, Louisiana
Died: June 30, 1984
 10 
Joyce Carol Oates
5
Birthdate: June 16, 1938
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Lockport, New York, United States
 11 
Elaine May
(Actor, Film director, Screenwriter, Writer, Playwright)
Elaine May
5
Birthdate: April 21, 1932
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
 12 
Carrie Hamilton
6
Birthdate: December 5, 1963
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: New York City, New York, USA
Died: January 20, 2002
 13 
Tovah Feldshuh
(Television actor, Film actor, Writer, Playwright, Stage actor)
Tovah Feldshuh
5
Birthdate: December 27, 1952
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: New York City
 14 
Patrisse Cullors
5
Birthdate: June 20, 1983
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, U.S.
 15 
Patricia Wettig
(Actor, Playwright, Stage actor, Television actor)
Patricia Wettig
5
Birthdate: December 4, 1951
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Cincinnati
 16 
Anna Deavere Smith
(Actress, Playwright & Professor)
Anna Deavere Smith
5
Birthdate: September 18, 1950
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Baltimore, Maryland, United States
 17 
Frances Hodgson Burnett
5
Birthdate: November 24, 1849
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Cheetham, Manchester, England
Died: October 29, 1924
Edna St. Vincent Millay
5
Birthdate: February 22, 1892
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Rockland, Maine, United States
Died: October 19, 1950
 19 
Charlayne Woodard
(Actress, Playwright)
Charlayne Woodard
5
Birthdate: December 29, 1953
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Albany, New York, United States
 20 
Clare Boothe Luce
(Author, Politician)
Clare Boothe Luce
4
Birthdate: March 10, 1903
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: New York, New York, United States
Died: October 9, 1987
 21 
Lynn Nottage
(Playwright)
Lynn Nottage
4
Birthdate: November 2, 1964
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York, United States
 22 
Eve Ensler
(Artist, Actor, Playwright, Autobiographer, Writer, Feminist)
Eve Ensler
4
Birthdate: May 25, 1953
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: New York City
 23 
Kathy Acker
(Author)
Kathy Acker
4
Birthdate: April 18, 1947
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: New York City, New York
Died: November 30, 1997
 24 
Annie Baker
(screenwriter, author, writer)
Annie Baker
4
Birthdate: 1981
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Boston
 25 
Ntozake Shange
(Playwright)
Ntozake Shange
4
Birthdate: October 18, 1948
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Trenton, New Jersey, United States
Died: October 27, 2018
 26 
Natalie Clifford Barney
4
Birthdate: October 31, 1876
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Dayton, Ohio, United States
Died: February 2, 1972
 27 
Eileen Chang
(Chinese-born American Novelist, Essayist, and Screenwriter)
Eileen Chang
4
Birthdate: September 30, 1920
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Shanghai, China
Died: September 8, 1995

Zhang Ailing was a Chinese-born American novelist, essayist, and screenwriter. A realist and modernist writer, Chang is credited with writing the scripts of many successful films like Miserable at Middle Age, Qing Chang Ru Zhan Chang, and Jin Suo Ji. Zhang Ailing is also credited with influencing and inspiring many creative writers in Taiwan, including Chu T’ien-wen and Yuan Chiung-chiung.

 28 
Marilyn vos Savant
21
Birthdate: August 11, 1946
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: St. Louis, Missouri, United States
 29 
Leslye Headland
(Director, producer known for the play and 2012 film Bachelorette and 2015 film Sleeping with Other People)
Leslye Headland
3
Birthdate: 1980 AD
Birthplace: Maryland, United States
 30 
Suzan-Lori Parks
(American playwright)
Suzan-Lori Parks
4
Birthdate: May 10, 1963
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Fort Knox, Kentucky, United States
 31 
Sarah Ruhl
(Playwright whose most popular plays are Eurydice (2003), The Clean House (2004), and In the Next Room (or the Vibrator Play) (2009))
Sarah Ruhl
4
Birthdate: January 24, 1974
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Wilmette, Illinois, United States
 32 
Betty Comden
(Screenwriter, Librettist, Performer, Stage actor, Lyricist, Songwriter)
Betty Comden
3
Birthdate: May 3, 1917
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: New York City
Died: November 23, 2006
Shirley Graham Du Bois
3
Birthdate: November 11, 1896
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Indianapolis, Indiana, United States
Died: March 27, 1977
 34 
Roberta Colindrez
(actress and writer known for originating the role of Joan in the musical Fun Home)
Roberta Colindrez
0
Birthdate: 1986
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Monterrey, Mexico
Mexican-American actor and dramatist Roberta Colindrez had decided she wanted to pursue acting at age 12. Known for shows such as I Love Dick, she also gained fame as Joan from the musical Fun Home. She has spoken about how her queer sexual identity became an obstacle in her acting career.
 35 
Susan Glaspell
(Playwright)
Susan Glaspell
3
Birthdate: July 1, 1876
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Davenport, Iowa, United States
Died: July 28, 1948
 36 
Mina Loy
(Poet)
Mina Loy
3
Birthdate: December 27, 1882
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: London, England
Died: September 25, 1966
 37 
Mabel Dodge Luhan
(Biographer)
Mabel Dodge Luhan
3
Birthdate: February 26, 1879
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Buffalo, New York
Died: August 13, 1962
 38 
Jane Bowles
(Writer)
Jane Bowles
3
Birthdate: February 22, 1917
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: New York, New York, United States
Died: May 4, 1973
 39 
Regina Taylor
(Actress, Playwright.)
Regina Taylor
0
Birthdate: August 22, 1960
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Dallas, Texas, United States
 40 
Maria Irene Fornés
3
Birthdate: May 14, 1930
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Havana, Cuba
Died: October 30, 2018
 41 
Diane di Prima
3
Birthdate: August 6, 1934
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York, United States
 42 
Jean Webster
(Writer)
Jean Webster
3
Birthdate: July 24, 1876
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Fredonia, New York, United States
Died: June 11, 1916
 43 
Wendy Wasserstein
(Playwright)
Wendy Wasserstein
3
Birthdate: October 18, 1950
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: New York City, New York, United States
Died: January 30, 2006
 44 
Linda Hogan
3
Birthdate: July 16, 1947
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Denver, Colorado, United States
 45 
Gerda Lerner
(Historian)
Gerda Lerner
2
Birthdate: April 30, 1920
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Vienna, Austria
Died: January 2, 2013
 46 
Beth Henley
(Playwright)
Beth Henley
2
Birthdate: May 8, 1952
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Jackson,Mississippi,United States
 47 
Angelina Weld Grimké
2
Birthdate: February 27, 1880
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Boston, Massachusetts, USA
Died: June 10, 1958
 48 
Michael Strange
2
Birthdate: October 1, 1890
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: New York City, New York, United States
Died: November 5, 1950
 49 
Jean Kerr
(Author)
Jean Kerr
2
Birthdate: July 10, 1922
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Scranton, Pennsylvania, United States
Died: January 5, 2003
 50 
Alice Childress
(Former novelist, playwright, and actress, acknowledged as)
Alice Childress
2
Birthdate: October 12, 1916
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Charleston, South Carolina, United States
Died: August 14, 1994