Women Playwrights of Diversity: A Bio-Bibliographical Sourcebook

By Jane T. Peterson; Suzanne Bennett | Go to book overview

Lesbian Playwrights: Diverse Interests, Identities, and Styles

Jill Dolan

Although earlier periods in American culture saw any hint of so-called deviant sexuality reviled when it was portrayed on stage ( The Captive by Edouard Bourdet might be one early example), post-Stonewall theatre in the United States has gradually opened to gay and lesbian content. The feminist and gay and lesbian liberation movements of the 1960s through the present in the United States have also allowed theatre critics to call attention to playwrights' gender and sexual identities in positive cultural ways. By the 1990s, the success of gay and lesbian activism in promoting a civil rights discourse around sexual identity has yielded a more open dialogue not only about the content of dramatic literature in the United States, but also about the sexuality of the playwrights.

Following on the heels of similar debates over whether a playwright's gender makes an integral impression on his or her work, issues of sexuality and authorship have more recently been noted by theatre professionals, critics, and scholars. In many ways, the relationship between sexual identity and artistry is more vexed than that of gender, since sexual practice can remain invisible in ways that the relatively clear announcement of gender precludes. As a result, definitions of "lesbian playwright," "lesbian play," or even "lesbian" are complicated to attempt.

The early second wave of U.S. feminism brought with it new definitions of lesbian identity. Adrienne Rich early article, "Compulsory Heterosexuality and Lesbian Existence" ( Signs 5. 4, 1980), proposed a continuum of woman identification, which allowed some feminist women to claim lesbian identities not necessarily based on sexual practice. From 1980 to the early 1990s, a more fractious lesbian criticism developed multiple, contradictory definitions of lesbian identity, some explicitly along sexual lines. These debates of necessity haunt any discussion of lesbian playwrights and the production and reception of their work.

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Women Playwrights of Diversity: A Bio-Bibliographical Sourcebook
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Preface ix
  • Acknowledgments xiii
  • Abbreviations xv
  • Introduction: The Challenges of Diversity 1
  • The Sista Masses (1970s-1990s): African American Women Playwrights 7
  • Brave, Bold, and Poetic: The New Generation of Asian American Women Playwrights 13
  • Beyond the Festival Latino: (Re)Defining Latina Drama for the Mainstage 17
  • Lesbian Playwrights: Diverse Interests, Identities, and Styles 27
  • PLAYWRIGHTS 35
  • Rosanna Yamagiwa Alfaro 37
  • Claudia Allen 42
  • Lynne Alvarez 45
  • Jane Anderson 49
  • Valetta Anderson 53
  • Janis Astor Del Valle 56
  • Jeannie Barroga 59
  • Martha Boesing 63
  • Claire Chafee 69
  • Jane Chambers 72
  • Eugenie Chan 76
  • Denise Chávez 79
  • Theresa Chavez 83
  • Kitty Chen 87
  • Pearl Cleage 90
  • Kathleen Collins 94
  • Kia Corthron (1961- ) 97
  • Clare Coss 101
  • Migdalia Cruz 104
  • Linda Faigao-Hall 109
  • Evelina Fernandez (1954- ) 112
  • Five Lesbian Brothers (fl. 1989- ) 116
  • Maria Irene Fornes (1930- ) 120
  • J. E. Franklin 128
  • Terry Galloway 131
  • Terry Garner 135
  • P. J. Gibson 137
  • Gloria Gonzalez (1940- ) 142
  • Silvia Gonzalez S. (1958- ) 145
  • Judy Grahn (1940- ) 150
  • Jessica Hagedorn 153
  • Wendy Hammond 157
  • Kim Hines 160
  • Endesha Ida Mae Holland 163
  • Velina Hasu Houston 166
  • Holly Hughes 171
  • Naomi Iizuka 175
  • Marsha A. Jackson 178
  • Mercilee M. (lee) Jenkins 181
  • Julie Jensen 184
  • Michael Angel Johnson 188
  • Karen Jones-Meadows 191
  • June Jordan 194
  • Honour Kane 197
  • Adrienne Kennedy 201
  • Susan Kim 206
  • Tina Landau 209
  • Cherylene Lee 212
  • Lisa Loomer 216
  • Josefina López 220
  • Nikki Nojima Louis 223
  • Lynn Martin 226
  • Robbie Mccauley 230
  • Cassandra Medley 234
  • Marlane Meyer 238
  • Susan Miller (1944- ) 242
  • Chiori Miyagawa (1961- ) 246
  • CherrÍe Moraga (1952- ) 249
  • Lesli-Jo Morizono 254
  • Phyllis Nagy 256
  • Lynn Nottage 260
  • Madeleine Olnek 264
  • Monica Palacios 267
  • Suzan-Lori Parks 270
  • Estela Portillo-Trambley 276
  • Dolores Prida 279
  • Aishah Rahman (1937- ) 283
  • Sandra Rodgers (1956- ) 287
  • Kate Moira Ryan (1966- ) 290
  • Milcha Sanchez-Scott 293
  • Joan Schenkar 297
  • Ntozake Shange 302
  • Anna Deavere Smith 307
  • Beverly Smith-Dawson 312
  • Diana Son 316
  • Split Britches 318
  • Caridad Svich 323
  • Regina Taylor 327
  • Carmelita Tropicana 330
  • Alice Tuan 334
  • Edit Villarreal 337
  • Paula Vogel 340
  • Lucy Wang 345
  • Cheryl L. West 349
  • Elizabeth Wong 353
  • Charlayne Woodard 356
  • Marian 358
  • Wakako Yamauchi 362
  • Shay Youngblood 366
  • Appendix A Playwrights by Cultural/Ethnic Grouping 371
  • Appendix B Additional Playwrights 375
  • Appendix C Nominators--Theatres 377
  • Appendix D Nominators--Individuals 379
  • Selected Bibliography 381
  • Index 385
  • About the Authors 400
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