Alexander Street Press Audio Drama: The LA Theatre Works Collection

Audio Drama: The L.A. Theatre Works Collection delivers, for the first time online, hundreds of important dramatic works in streaming audio from the curated archive of the nation’s premiere radio theatre company. The plays—which include some of the most significant dramatic literature of the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries—are performed by leading actors from around the world and recorded specifically for online listening.


The collection presents classics of the Western canon, modern works by American luminaries, originally commissioned plays, and high profile docudramas—by both renowned and emerging playwrights, such as:

  • Julius Caesar, William Shakespeare’s classic tale of duplicity, betrayal and murder, performed by Stacy Keach, Jobeth Williams, and Kelsey Grammer
  • Arthur Miller’s The Crucible performed by Richard Dreyfuss, Michael York and Ed Begley, Jr., which mirrors the anti-Communist hysteria of the 1950s through the lens of the seventeenth-century Salem, Massachusetts witch trials
  • Reginald Rose’s classic study of persuasion and power, Twelve Angry Men, starring Hector Elizondo, Richard Kind and Dan Castellaneta
  • The Cherry Orchard , Anton Chekhov’s timeless story of an aristocratic Russian family’s fading fortunes and struggle to maintain their status in a changing world, starring Marsha Mason, Charles Durning and Jennifer Tilly
  • Top Girls by Olivier Award-winning playwright Caryl Churchill, a modern comedy exploring the personal expense of one woman’s rise to the top of her field during the go-getting ‘80s, starring Amy Brennenman, Carolyn Seymour and Megan Austin Oberle
  • The Great Tennessee Monkey Trial, an L.A. Theatre Works originally commissioned docudrama about the seminal 1925 Scopes trial, starring Ed Asner, Mike Farrell and Sharon Gless


The plays can be used for research and instruction well beyond literature, as the works are chosen not only for their literary significance, but also for their ability to challenge presumptions and examine complicated moral and ethical questions. Critical essays written by known figures in medicine, academia, politics, and other fields draw connections from the plays to issues and hot topics in the humanities, social sciences, theatre, hard sciences, law, medicine, and virtually every other field of study. Audio Drama’s teaching tools—including course folders, playlists, permanent URLs for electronic course reserves, and other features—let the database serve as a rich and expansive resource for the classroom. Optional downloading makes the plays portable and useful for more applications.


Alexander Street’s Semantic Indexing brings further interdisciplinary utility to the database. Cross search all plays for specific themes and subjects, and then link to the relevant audio tracks for online listening. The database uses a unique controlled vocabulary developed for this project and is indexed by scholars and other experts within the field of dramatic literature. For example:

  • A search for plays about race relations or black history links to Roy Milner and Steve Albrezzi’s Ruby McCollum, based on the book by William Bradford Hule, about a true case in South Florida in 1952 in which journalists Zora Neale Hurston and William Bradford Hule investigate the murder of a white doctor by an affluent African-American woman.
  • Research into American politics at home during the Vietnam War leads to Geoffrey Cowan and Leroy Aaron’s award-winning docudrama, Top Secret: the Battle for the Pentagon Papers, depicting The Washington Post’s decision to publish the documents and the ensuing trial, starring Richard Dysart, Robert Foxworth, Marsha Mason, Howard Hesseman and Harry Shearer.
  • Studies in medical ethics are supported by Secret Order, by Bob Clyman and starring Ed Asner, part medical drama and part suspense-filled thriller, which examines bioethics, money, and power

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