Go Deeper

Theater Freakonomics

Posted June 25th, 2009

You may have heard that playwright Julia Jordan has been hammering New York theaters for a while about the dearth of productions of women-written plays. The New York Times ran an article this week on a study by Princeton economics student Emily Glassberg Sands that sought evidence of gender discrimination in American theater.

As often occurs when sensitive topics are examined with hard data, unexpected findings arise:
>>>The U.S. has markedly fewer female playwrights than male playwrights. Female playwrights also produce fewer plays.
>>>Plays and musicals by female writers are more profitable than those by male writers, although their runs are not extended with any greater frequency.
>>>Male literary managers and artistic directors rate plays by male and female writers the same. Female literary managers and artistic directors give significantly worse ratings to female writers.

Check out the study for details. It’s just about New York theater, but it’s pretty interesting stuff.

–Nicholas Gilewicz