Best Plays of all time to Read in 2021

Play books

It is a million-dollar question of whether one can choose the best plays of all time. Today, thousands of plays are available in front of us, which have a unique story.

Is this a factor to be the best? Not at all. But it is definitely one of those factors.

When we talk about being the best of someone, we see his fame, see his historical significance, look at his story, and then go and tell it as the best. Similarly, the plays given here have also been done and then they were included in the list of best plays to date.

Do you want to know about these plays?

Okay, let’s start our famous plays list-

Best Plays to Read

In this article, we broke down the best plays of all time as follows

  • Best Modern Plays
  • Best Tragic Plays
  • Top Comedic Plays
  • Best Plays of all time

Best Modern Plays

Sweat by Lynn Nottage

AuthorLynn Nottage
Rating4.7 out of 5

Sweat” is an African American based very beautiful play which is written by a beautiful and Pulitzer Prize-winning lady, Lynn Nottage. It is a brilliant, unsentimental, blue-collar tragedy play set in western continents which describes tremendous violence and heart-wrenching fight among those people. Filling with surprises, love, friendship, and violence, this book is undoubtedly one of the best modern plays ever written. Apart from this, the language of it is very reader-friendly making it easy to read and easy to understand.

The Aliens by Annie Baker

AuthorAnnie Baker
Rating4.5 out of 5

The Aliens” is an American-based play that is one of the best modern plays of all time. It is not a heavy book like other books, it has only 72 pages. It is best for those who usually haven’t enough free time for reading. This play is a beautiful addition to humankind’s literature which is one of the best works of a Pulitzer-prize-winning playwright, Annie Baker. He created this masterpiece considering isolation, kindness, and respect as the base. Apart from this, it is well written and easy to read.

Enron by Lucy Prebble

AuthorLucy Prebble
Rating4.5 out of 5

Enron” is a British and Irish-based play that exhilarates a mix of political satire, modern morality, and multimedia spectacle. The author shows how easy it is to make fool anyone in this modern time and in this context, she tells a story about the famous Enron scandal. The play centers around greed, pride, and illegal practices that eventually lead to the historical end of Enron that was a very popular corporation. Filling with classical tragedy with savage comedy, this play is absolutely amazing and enthralling.

Best Tragic Plays

Night Mother by Marsha Norman

AuthorMarsha Norman
Rating4.8 out of 5

Whenever it comes to the best tragic plays, very few books come at fingers’ count, and the “Night Mother” by Marsha Norman is one of them. It is an American literature-based play that addresses different emotions and special relations between two women who are mother and daughter. It becomes more interesting when you come to know that a woman wants to end her life while she is happy and her mother wants her to stay with her. Although it is a short play and takes little time to read but prepare for the emotion it engenders.

Wit: A Play by Margaret Edson 

AuthorMargaret Edson 
Publication1999 (1st Edition)
Rating4.5 out of 5

Wit: A Play” is another great American literature-based tragic play that is filled with a thrilling, exciting, wise, thoughtful, and wrenching story. The author created this masterpiece very beautifully with her intelligence, observations, and surprising ability that spontaneously attracts people interested in tragic plays. Although it is a sad play, it has also comedic, serious, and even thrilling modes in it. Apart from this, it is beautifully written and each word provides delectable meaning to ponder.

King Lear by William Shakespeare

AuthorWilliam Shakespeare (Author), Paul Werstine (Editor)
Publication2004 (Annotated Edition)
Rating4.6 out of 5

King Lear” is a British and Irish literature-based play that was originally written by William Shakespeare in the 17th century but Mr. Barbara A. Mowat and Mr. Paul Werstine again presented its edited and Annotated version in 2004. It is an essay by a leading Shakespeare scholar providing a modern perspective on the play. The play tells us about families struggling between greed and cruelty, on the one hand, and it also shed light on the support and consolation. Definitely, it is a superb edition of a superb play.

Best Comedic Plays

Home, I’m Darling by Laura Wade

AuthorLaura Wade
Rating4.6 out of 5

Home, I’m Darling” is a British and Irish literature-based dark comedy play that is all about sex, emotion, joy, and the quest to be the perfect 1950s housewife. It is a cute story that makes the readers think about why and how to make the choices in their lives. The plot moves around reality and illusion and delivers a very beautiful story. Giggles, cringe-worthy moments, and a generally solid story really make this play interesting and extravagant. Apart from this, it is well written and very easy to understand.

The 39 Steps by John Buchan, Patrick Barlow

AuthorJohn Buchan, Patrick Barlow
Rating4.5 out of 5

The 39 Steps” is a wonderful play by John Buchan and Patrick Barlow. It has very high energy and is full of dry humor, entertainment and there are lots of opportunities for characters to shine. The author has tried very well to present a very enthralling and captivating story that will definitely capture and hold your’s attention. The language and style of this play are very unique and beautiful. If you love farce, this great and very entertaining play is for you

Boston Marriage by David Mamet

AuthorDavid Mamet
Rating4.5 out of 5

Boston Marriage” is another one of the best American literature-based comedic plays that focus on humor, entertainment, joy, etc many emotions. Along with narrating the comedic stories, the author also explores the sexual aspects of the lives of the two most proper ladies and the servant who gives them tit for tat. There is one problem about it that it is an adult book, therefore if you are an adult and a ​theater buff, you should definitely read this gem.

Best Plays of all time

Top Girls by Caryl Churchill

AuthorCaryl Churchill
Rating4.4 out of 5


The story moves around Marlene who is a career-driven woman. She heavily invests in women’s success in business. The play depicts the old and modern conditions of women. Some famous women of history tell their biography. Some of which are comedians, some are emotional, some are conflicting and some are painful. The story is excellent and has much illusion of life. That’s why it is counted in the best plays of all time.

Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller

AuthorArthur Miller
PublicationFebruary 1949
Rating4.7 out of 5


William ‘Willy’ Loman is a salesman as this play titled. He is insecure, Self-conceited, and unstable. He is 63 years old man. Linda Loman is his loyal wife who loves him much. She is much intelligent woman and always helps Willy in giving ideas. Sometimes Willy treats her very poorly but she doesn’t take it heartily. The play shows their views about life, the world, and success. The author Miller creates it very engrossing that if you don’t like to read, believe me, it will change your mentality.

The Clean House by Sarah Ruhl

AuthorSarah Ruhl
Rating4.8 out of 5


This romantic story centered on Matilde who is a Brazilian cleaning woman. She is also known as a comedian. The play is about three women’s interpersonal problems. She wants to show the world how a common woman has to handle her life. The play ends with a dialogue of Matilde that is “I think the world is a sea of untranslatable jokes, except everyone is laughing.” The language of it is very attractive and insightful. And the style is also unique. Since the play shows some comedy, therefore, it is one of the famous comedy plays of all time.

Angels in America by Tony Kushner

AuthorTony Kushner
Rating4.7 out of 5


This dramatic story is about various couples in America in the 1980s who are battling life-threatening illnesses ie. AIDS. It is not only about AIDS but also describes drug addicts, drinkers, and so on. The play is oriented towards homosexuality. There will be a big side of homosexuality here. The author has provided a detailed description of this story of how homosexuals attract each other and how they become afflicted with a terrible disease called AIDS. The author has also emphasized controversial topics, including religion and political beliefs, which in turn has heavily influenced the results in the book.

Betrayal by Harold Pinter

AuthorHarold Pinter
Rating4.5 out of 5


The beautiful engrossing novel Betrayal is regarded as one of the English playwright’s major dramatic works and has characteristically economic dialogue, motivation, emotion, and self-absorption. The author has displayed a love triangle of a woman between her husband’s best friend. If you want to experience the jealousy of a husband, then I would encourage you to read this novel. It has been expressed with great beauty and poignancy which has presented to us the observations of the author. Truly it is one of the greatest romantic plays of all time.

Noises Off by Michael Frayn

AuthorMichael Frayn
Rating4.6 out of 5


The best thing about this play is that it is not only performed within the boundary wall but also performed on road, in marketplaces, and in public places. That made it much realistic. You will not guess while it is natural or scripted. That is its beauty and probably it is the best theatre plays of all time. Dotty Otley who is one of the best characters of this play much affected the audience by his acting. Truly he is the real hero of this play. Dotty is a middle-aged television star who is not only the well-known and top-billed star but also one of the play’s principal investors. He is also dating the younger Garry.

A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams

AuthorTennessee Williams
PublicationDecember 1947
Rating4.7 out of 5


Williams’ most popular work A Streetcar Named Desire dramatizes the experiences of Blanche DuBois who is a former Southern belle. After losing everything, she leaves behind her privileged background to move into a shabby apartment in New Orleans that her younger sister and brother-in-law have rented. Her husband had died after some months of their marriage. She struggled with the world since her early life which makes her a strong lady. The play has almost all the taste of life. You will find comedy, drama, pain, and also struggle which attracts the reader diving into it.

Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare

AuthorWilliam Shakespeare
Publication16th century (1597)
Rating3.6 out of 5


When it comes to drama and Shakespeare is not mentioned, then it can be said that you have seen the whole film but it is not known who the hero is. Shakespeare is a great playwright in history and every person who is interested in drama will surely be familiar with this great figure. Basically, it is a romantic play but sometimes it appears as a tragedy. The play moves around Romeo Montague and Juliet Capulet. They like each other from a very little age but there are many people in their family who do not want this. It is considered as the top plays of all time.

Hamlet by William Shakespeare

AuthorWilliam Shakespeare
Publication17th century (1603)
Rating4.6 out of 5


It is another most popular work of William Shakespeare. Containing 30557 words, it is known as Shakespeare’s longest play. The story is about Prince Hamlet of Denmark. His father is murdered by his own uncle Claudius. Claudius is an ambitious man. He wants to rule over his brother’s throne so he killed his brother and forced his brother’s wife to marry him. Prince Hamlet was young at the time and could not avenge his uncle’s murder. But he was planning to take revenge in his mind. At the end of the play Hamlet succeeds in revenging his father’s murder.

Long Day’s Journey into Night

AuthorEugene O’Neill
Publication 1956
Rating4.5 out of 5


The play “Long Day’s Journey into Night” is the awesome works of O’Neill. He received Pulitzer Prize for Drama for this book in 1957. It is an autobiographical kind of play that has mainly four characters. The first is O’Neill himself and the others are his older brother and their parents. The story portrays the negative mentality of his family and It shows how the misunderstanding could separate any family.  The protagonist is troubled by the mother’s morphine addiction, father’s drug addiction, and brother’s illness.


Shakespeare wrote his first play Henry VI Part II, in 1590-1591 that was a historical play.

Due to lack of exact records of Shakespeare’s period, it is not said how many plays he wrote. But the scholars assume he wrote at least 37 plays in between 1590 to 1663.


Hope you know about the top 15+ plays that have won the hearts of readers. Now, what should you do? You should read these books to enjoy their amazing stories. You will be surprised when you read them. Don’t forget to mention your favorite book from our list in the comment section.

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