Bad Pennies and Dead Presidents: Money in American Drama 1935-2001


Jon Dietrick


Book now avaialble:

Dietrick, Jon. Bad Pennies and Dead Presidents: Money in Modern American Drama. Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2012. Print.

For other inquiries, please contact the Babson Faculty Research Fund.


This is a book-length study of money in American drama from the Great Depression to the present day. While many plays and productions are discussed, particular attention is given to works by five authors: Sidney Kingsley, Arthur Miller, David Mamet, August Wilson, and Suzan-Lori Parks. Through close readings of specific plays and broader discussion of each author’s oeuvre, the study traces an evolution in the treatment of money and economic life from the highly naturalistic American theatre of the thirties to what critic William Demastes calls the “new realism” of play-wrights like Mamet and Parks. The book draws new connections between American theatre’s demonstrable preoccupation with economic life and the highly idiosyncratic formal tradition of American drama since the Depression.

Academic Division

Arts and Humanities


American Literature | Dramatic Literature, Criticism and Theory | Theatre and Performance Studies

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