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Our Town

Thornton Wilder

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Full Length Play, Drama

17m, 7f

ISBN: 9780573110085

Winner! 1938 Pulitzer Prize for Drama
"While all of Wilder's work is intelligent, non-synthetic and often moving, as well as funny, it is Our Town that makes the difference. It is probably the finest play ever written by an American." - Edward Albee

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Description | Characters | Media | Author | Now Playing | Reviews


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Full Length Play


More than 120 minutes (2 hours)

Time Period - 1900-1910


Bare Stage/Simple Set


College Theatre / Student, Community Theatre


Tony, Pulitzer, From Broadway, From Off-Broadway

Samuel French, in cooperation with the Thornton Wilder Family, is pleased to release the playwright’s definitive version of Our Town. This edition of the play differs only slightly from previous acting editions, yet it presents Our Town as Thornton Wilder wished it to be performed. Described by Edward Albee as “…the greatest American play ever written,” the story follows the small town of Grover’s Corners through three acts: “Daily Life,” “Love and Marriage,” and “Death and Eternity.” Narrated by a stage manager and performed with minimal props and sets, audiences follow the Webb and Gibbs families as their children fall in love, marry, and eventually – in one of the most famous scenes in American theatre – die. Thornton Wilder’s final word on how he wanted his play performed is an invaluable addition to the American stage and to the libraries of theatre lovers internationally.

"While all of Wilder's work is intelligent, non-synthetic and often moving, as well as funny, it is Our Town that makes the difference. It is probably the finest play ever written by an American." —Edward Albee

"Thornton Wilder's masterpiece...An immortal tale of small town morality [and]...a classic of soft spoken theater." — The New York Times

"Beautiful and remarkable one of the sagest, warmest and most deeply human scripts to have come out of our theatre...A spiritual experience." —The New York Post

"No American play describes more powerfully how we imagine ourselves."- The New York Daily News

"No play ever moved me so deeply." —Alexander Woolcott, The New Yorker



17m, 7f

  • In Our Living and Our Dying: Our Town in the 21st Century

  • Tappan Wilder on the Legacy of Our Town

  • The New Edition of Our Town

Thornton Wilder

Thornton Wilder

Thornton Wilder (1897-1975), born in Madison, Wisconsin, and educated at Yale and Princeton, was an accomplished novelist and playwright whose works explore the connection between the commonplace and the cosmic dimensions of human experience. The Bridge of San Luis Rey, one of his seven novels, won the Pulitzer Prize in 1928, and his next-to-last novel, The Eighth Day received the National Book ... view full profile

Now Playing
Tim Marquette 03/08/2016 16:53
Our Town is a classic that all theatre students should read and study, whether it is publicly performed or not. A must-have for every theatre program!
Jessica Horn 17/03/2016 06:16
Craig Fisher 11/12/2015 11:11
I believe that Our Town has gotten a reputation as "the High School play".  I swear that just about every high school mounts a production just about once a decade.  There are a number of reasons for this, including the minimal staging requirements and the simple and straightforward language.

But don't be fooled.  This play is deep enough, emotional enough, fun enough that it needs an age appropriate cast.  That is, the age of the actors should closely mirror the age of the characters they portray.  

Take, for example, the wedding scene when Mrs Webb walks on stage and turns and addresses the audience, explaining how emotionally wrenching it is to see her daughter to get married.  While there are certainly teenagers who can do a decent job of this soliloquy, this speech really deserves a middle-aged woman with daughters of her own, or at least someone who can reach into herself and pull out her own experiences and emotions.  

Our Town displays the panoply of human experience.  The best actors to portray this scope, these events, are those actors who have a broad experience in life.  I'm not saying that high schools shouldn't mount a production.  I am only urging all-ages troupes to take the challenge and mount their own production -- to portray Our Town as it was meant to be portrayed.

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Because we know every theatre maker and reader is different, we now offer a choice of formats to suit the way you work 


Our regular paperback book at our regular size, perfect if you like to keep things classic

The same size as the Standard Edition, but with a sturdy, easy-to-fold, easy-to-hold, spiral-bound spine. Ideal for use in rehearsal

A4 size and spiral-bound, with larger text and a blank page for notes opposite every page. Perfect for technical and directing use