Forbidden Acts: Pioneering Gay & Lesbian Plays of the Twentieth Century

Front Cover
Benjamin A. Hodges
Hal Leonard Corporation, 2003 - Drama - 741 pages
3 Reviews
(Applause Books). Applause Theatre & Cinema Books is proud to announce the publication of the first collected anthology of gay and lesbian plays from the entire span of the twentieth century, sure to find wide acceptance by general readers and to be studied on campuses around the world. Among the ten plays, three are completely out of print. Included are The God of Venegeance (1918) by Sholom Ash, the first play to introduce lesbian characters to an English-language audience; Lillian Hellman's classic The Children's Hour (1933), initially banned in London and passed over for the Pulitzer Prize because of its subject matter; and Oscar Wilde (1938) by Leslie and Sewell Stokes, a major award-winning success that starred Robert Morley. More recent plays include Mart Crowley's The Boys in the Band (1968), the first hit "out" gay play that was the most realistic and groundbreaking portrayal of gays on stage up to that time; Martin Sherman's Bent (1978), which daringly focused on the love between two Nazi concentration camp inmates and starred Richard Gere; William Hoffman's As Is (1985), which was one of the first plays to deal with the AIDS crisis and earned three Tony Award nominations; and Terrence McNally's Love! Valour! Compassion! (1994), which starred Nathan Lane and won the Tony Award for Best Play. The other plays are Edouard Bourdet's The Captive (1926), Ruth and Augustus Goetz's The Immoralist (1954) and Frank Marcus' The Killing of Sister George (1967). Forbidden Acts includes a broad range of theatrical genres: drama, tragedy, romance, comedy and farce. They remain vibrant and relevant today as a testament of art's ability to persevere in the face of oppression.

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Forbidden acts: pioneering gay & lesbian plays of the twentieth century

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

In this anthology, Hodges, an actor, producer, and director, shows that the theater has been a powerful force in bringing gays and lesbians out of the closet and into the public's consciousness ... Read full review

Review: Forbidden Acts: Pioneering Gay & Lesbian Plays of the 20th Century

User Review  - James Weisbach - Goodreads

Nice anthology of plays. I would have appreciated modern essays on each of them and their histories, but I'm glad that this anthology exists, even without any material besides the plays themselves. Read full review


The God of Vengeance Sholom Asch
The Captive Edouard Bourdet
The Childrens Hour Lillian Hellman
Oscar Wilde Leslie and Sewell Stokes
The Immoralist Ruth and Augustus Goetz
The Killing of Sister George Frank Marcus
The Boys in the Band Mart Crowley
Bent Martin Sherman
As Is William Hoffman
Love Valour Compassion Terrence McNally

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About the author (2003)

Ben Hodges is an actor, director, theatre and independent film producer, and was executive director of Fat Chance Productions and the Ground Floor Theatre. He is editor of Forbidden Acts: Pioneering Gay and Lesbian Plays from the Twentieth Century, and co-editor of The Commercial Theater Institute Guide to Producing Plays and Musicals.

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