No form of scripted storytelling is more intimate than theater. Actors get one shot at delivering their best each night, as the audience brings a different energy and in turn receives a slightly different performance than the night before. With theater, the third wall between actor and audience is fluid, held in place by a delicate agreement and willing suspension of disbelief that transports the audience beyond the limitations set into their own imagination and frames of reference. This kind of intimate exchange creates a divine experience, uniquely tailored to the viewers' perspectives

1. Sarah Jones

sarah jones


2. Dael Orlandersmith

Dael Orlandersmith
Photo: Joan Marcus


3. Charlayne Woodard

Charlayne Woodard
Photo: Sara Krulwich/The New York Times
Neat, In Real LifeThe Night WatcherFlight

4. Radha Blank

Radha Blank

Kenya, Seed, Nannyland, Reverb, Casket Sharp
American SchemesEmpireThe Get Down

5. Anna Deavere Smith

6. Lydia R. Diamond

Photo: handout
Photo: handout

Stick Fly

7. Lynn Nottage

Lynn Nottage


8. Katori Hall

Katori Hall
Photo: Christine Cain-Weidner

The Mountaintop — 

9. Sigrid Gilmer

Sigrid Gilmer
Photo: Angela Webb

Harry and the Thief,

10. Suzan-Lori Parks

Suzan-Lori Parks

The Death of the Last Black Man in the Whole Entire World.

11. Christina Anderson

Christina Anderson
Photo: Jake Chessum

The Ashes Under Gait City, Good Goods, Man in Love, Blacktop Sky, Hollow Roots, How to Catch Creation

12. Ifa Bayeza

Ifa Bayeza

The Ballad of Emmett Till, aAmistad Voices, Club HarlemHomer G and the Rhapsodies,

13. Danai Gurira

Danai Gurira
Photo: Justin Holt for


If it's true that art should reflect the times, these ladies definitely have a finger on the pulse of the moment.

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