Plays

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Wendy Wasserstein

In 1989, Wendy Wasserstein not only won the Pulitzer Prize for The Heidi Chronicles, she became the first woman playwright to win a Tony Award.

Dora Wasserman

Dora Wasserman created a place for Yiddish theater in Canada by founding a theater and adapting great works of Yiddish literature for the stage.

Rose Pastor Stokes

Called the “Cinderella of the sweatshops,” Rose Pastor Stokes made headlines when she married millionaire socialist James Graham Phelps Stokes.

Gertrude Stein

An experimental writer whose works inspired Ernest Hemingway and Sherwood Anderson, Gertrude Stein shaped American literature with her writing and literary culture with her legendary Paris salons.

Susan Sontag

Through her work as a literary and cultural critic, Susan Sontag called long-held assumptions and taboos into question.

Joan Micklin Silver

Joan Micklin Silver bucked Hollywood assumptions about what made a successful film, becoming a critically acclaimed director of independent films with Jewish themes like Hester Street and Crossing Delancey.

Death of prolific screenwriter and novelist Vera Caspary

June 13, 1987

“Those who come after us may find it easier to assert independence, but will miss the grand adventure of having been born a woman in this century of change.” Screenwriter Vera Caspary

Ayn Rand

Ayn Rand sparked a new ethical philosophy called Objectivism with the principles laid out in her novels including the Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged.

Dorothy Parker

Dorothy Parker commented on the art and events of her times with her brilliant turns of phrase and acid wit.

Cynthia Ozick

Cynthia Ozick won high acclaim for her novels and short stories depicting the Jewish American experience and for her memorable, nuanced female characters.

Annie Nathan Meyer

Believing that education was the best path for women’s success, Annie Nathan Meyer founded Barnard College, New York’s first liberal arts college for women.

Pearl Lang

Pearl Lang was the first dancer Martha Graham allowed to perform some of her roles, and brought elements of the ecstatic poetry and dance of Hasidic and Sephardic Jewish traditions to her own critically praised work as a dancer and choreographer.

Lillian Hellman

Lillian Hellman displayed courage not only in her writing of powerful and controversial plays like The Children’s Hour, but in her public refusal to name colleagues to the House Un-American Activities Committee.

Edna Ferber

In her novels, short stories, and plays, Edna Ferber captured the rich variety of life in America, from the Mississippi River in Show Boat to the wilds of Alaska in Ice Palace.

Gertrude Berg

Gertrude Berg was the lead actress and driving force behind The Goldbergs, which successfully made the leap from radio plays to national television and brought a Jewish family into mainstream American homes.

Vicki Baum

Vicki Baum jokingly referred to herself as “a first-class second–rate writer,” but she created a new genre for popular fiction when she wrote the novel that inspired the stage and screen classic Grand Hotel.

Alix Kates Shulman

From her radical marriage contract to her lyrical novels and memoirs, Alix Kates Shulman’s honesty and willingness to share her story helped shape the conversation about women’s liberation.

Cheryl Moch

Long before gay marriage became a reality, Cheryl Moch dared to dream a gay marriage fairy tale.

Eve Ensler

Eve Ensler’s massively successful play The Vagina Monologues gave her a platform to launch V-Day, a campaign to end violence against women and girls.

E.M. Broner

Esther M. Broner’s revolutionary women’s Seder opened up new possibilities for reimagining Jewish rituals to include women’s voices.

Merle Feld

Both through her writing and in her work with Israeli-Palestinian dialogue groups, Merle Feld supported the difficult and delicate struggle to make peace in the Middle East.

Eve Ensler establishes V-Day, demanding that violence against women and girls must end

February 14, 1998

Eve Ensler:"I am proposing that we reconceive the dream."

Merle Feld

[I]t expresses the hope, the expectation even, that we will all come together to rejoice in our heritage...

Eve Ensler

V–World is the lives our mothers never got to live.

Wendy Wasserstein

Dear Wendy

by  Miriam Cantor-Stone

When I was 15 years old, I was about to go on vacation with my grandparents and I needed a book. I picked up a collection of three of your plays (The Heidi Chronicles, Uncommon Women and Others, & Isn't It Romantic) that I’d been assigned to read for my ninth grade English class, but never gotten around to studying. I didn’t know anything about you or the plays before opening the book, but I was soon transported to a world of women who didn’t necessarily know exactly what they wanted out of their educations, careers, and relationships, but did know they wanted a great deal. Suffice to say, it greatly appealed to me.

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