One-act Plays

Read these plays to celebrate that purity of intention that Wilder brought to the American theatre.

– John Guare, 1997

Because so many of the plays we see nowadays are really suited to the small screen, it is easy to forget that a stage, no matter its size, can contain the cosmos. No one understood this better than Thornton Wilder, whose plays show us how to see the infinite in the utterly mundane.

– Howard Kissel, New York Daily News


Professional and Amateur Productions:
Samuel French Inc.


Professional Productions in the UK and International; Amateur Productions outside the USA and Commonwealth Countries:
Alan Brodie Representation Ltd.

The Long Christmas Dinner

Showcases the lives of several generations of the Bayard family, and some of their Christmas dinners.

Queens of France

In New Orleans in 1869 a charlatan of a lawyer, preys on vulnerable women.

The Ages of Man

A collection of four short plays: Infancy, Childhood, Youth and Rivers Under The Earth.


Wilder’s satirical meditation on the excesses of America.


Represents “Pride” in Wilder’s projected cycle on the Seven Deadly Sins.

In Shakespeare and the Bible

Represents “Wrath” in Wilder’s cycle on the “Seven Deadly Sins.”

The Drunken Sisters

The Drunken Sisters is Wilder’s satyr play that followed The Alcestiad, his adaptation of the ancient Greek “Alcestis” story.

Pullman Car Hiawatha

Set in a Pullman car on a train traveling from New York to Chicago in December

Love and How To Cure It

This melodramatic comedy is set in SoHo, London, on the stage of the Tivoli Palace of Music in April of 1895.


Babies act like grown-ups and grown-ups act like babies in this comedy about fulfilling basic human needs.

Rivers Under the Earth

This play is thought to represent middle-age, in Wilder’s unfinished cycle of The Ages of Man.

The Wreck on the 5:25

Represents “Sloth” in Wilder’s projected cycle on The Seven Deadly Sins.

Cement Hands

Represents “Avarice” in Wilder’s projected cycle on the Seven Deadly Sins.

The Happy Journey from Trenton to Camden

A father, mother and two of their three surviving children drive from Newark, New Jersey to Camden.

Such Things Happen Only in Books

In this one-act, strangers are caught up in various deceptions, illusions and mysteries.


In this provocative, sometimes chilling comedy, Wilder renders a child’s-eye view of the grown-up world.

The Seven Deadly Sins

Thornton Wilder's seven one-act plays depicting the Seven Deadly Sins.

A Ringing of Doorbells

Represents the sin of Envy in Wilder’s projected cycle on The Seven Deadly Sins.

Someone from Assisi

Wilder's play about the Deadly Sin of Lust.