L.A. Theatre Works, the nation’s leading producer of audio drama, presents its newest educational initiative:


The Play’s the Thing for Higher Education

The Play’s the Thing for Higher Education delivers for the first time an indexed, searchable digital Audio Drama database of more than 300 titles of important dramatic works selected from our curated Audio Theatre Collection.  The new database, entitled Audio Drama: The L.A. Theatre Works Collection, is being developed in partnership with Alexander Street Press, a premier publisher of humanities digital databases for higher education. Designed as an expansive resource for research and academic applications, the new database includes some of the most significant dramatic literature of the nineteenth, twentieth and twenty-first centuries performed by top name actors from around the world and recorded on state-of-the-art sound specifically for on-air and streaming audio listening.


Major funding for L.A. Theatre Works’ The Play’s the Thing for Higher Education initiative is provided by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Additional funding for inclusion of titles from L.A. Theatre Works' Relativity Series of science-themed plays is provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation to enhance public understanding of science and technology.











Ranging from classics of Western literature to modern works by American luminaries to original commissioned and high profile docudramas, the database features plays by renowned and emerging playwrights that illuminate the American and human experience such as:

Julius Caesar, William Shakespeare’s classic tale of duplicity, betrayal and murder, powerfully performed by an all-American cast including 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;

Secret Order, by Bob Clyman. This part medical drama, part suspense-filled thriller examines bioethics, money and power through the story of a young medical researcher who is pressured to trumpet his findings for a potential cure for cancer, despite reservations about the certainty of his breakthrough...Starring George Segal and Richard Schiff. Secret Order is part of L.A. Theatre Works' Relativity Series of science-themed plays, funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

• Roy Milner and Steve Albrezzi's Ruby McCollum-based on the book by William Bradford Huie about a true case in South Florida in 1952, journalists Zora Neale Hurston and William Bradford Huie investigate the murder of a white doctor by an affluent African-American woman, uncovering a trail of lies, secrets and racial prejudice, staring Loretta Devine, Paul Winfield, Jean Smart and Kurtwood Smith.

The Great Tennessee Monkey Trial, L.A. Theatre Works' originally commissioned docudrama about the seminal 1925 Scopes trial which debated the teaching of evolution in the Tennessee public school system, starring Ed Asner, Mike Farrell and Sharon Gless. The Great Tennessee Monkey Trial is part of L.A. Theatre Works' Relativity Series of science-themed plays, funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

Proof, by David Auburn tells the story of a enigmatic young woman searching for the truth behind a mysterious mathematical proof written by her brilliant father in this Tony award-winning play starring Anne Heche and Jeremy Sisto. Proof is part of L.A. Theatre Works' Relativity Series of science-themed plays, funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

• Geoffrey Cowan and Leroy Aaron's award-winning docudrama, Top Secret: The Battle for the Pentagon Papers, which depicts The Washington Post's bold decision to publish the Pentagon Papers, and the ensuing trial which pitted issues of a national security against the People's Right to Know, starring John Heard, Gregory Harrison and Susan Sullivan.


For more information about L.A. Theatre Works’ The Play’s the Thing for Higher Education initiative, or to inquire about becoming a contributing scholar or dramaturge for indexing or document projects, please contact Helene Williams, The Play’s the Thing for Higher Education Program Manager at helenew@isomedia.com.


The partnership with Alexander Street Press, allows Audio Drama: The L.A. Theatre Works Collection database to offer not only the thorough indexing and cross referencing that Alexander Street Press’s higher education customers have come to expect, but will also includes a new feature enabling users to search for discipline-specific themes and subjects.  L.A. Theatre Works is developing the disciplinary indexing construct; this innovative method teams scholars from across the academic disciplines with dramaturgs and other experts from the field of dramatic literature. Together, they create the links between individual audio tracks and academic disciplines, thus significantly increasing users’ ability to easily search hundreds of plays at once to target and find relevant, useful content. In addition to this added layer of disciplinary indexing, scholars will be are providing academic commentary on the individual play tracks. Scholars wishing to include more exposition and contextual information are being invited to write essays, create lesson plans, and even build multi-media “document projects” to enhance the content of the database even further.

Offering insight into nearly every avenue of human endeavor, The Play’s the Thing for Higher Education initiative provides powerful academic connections in the humanities, social sciences, theatre, hard sciences, law, medicine, and virtually every field of study on both the undergraduate and graduate level. 



Audio Drama: The L.A. Theatre Works Collection is available either by annual subscription or through one-time purchase of perpetual rights. Prices are scaled to budget and FTE, with optional downloading at an additional annual fee. 

For more information about purchasing the Collection, please contact Alexander Street Press at sales@alexanderstreet.com.


L.A. Theatre Works would like to thank the following scholars and dramaturgs for their contribution to The Play’s the Thing for Higher Education initiative:



Helene Williams
Project Manager and Product Development Consultant University of Washington

Elizabeth Bennett
Freelance Dramaturg

Diana Chlebek
University of Akron

Charlotte Cubbage
University of Akron

Marianne Eismann
Independent Scholar
David Finkle
Andy Firpo
JP Morgan Chase
Dr. Liorah Golomb
Wichita State University
Patricia Hardesty
James Madison University
Scott Horstein
Los Angeles-based freelance dramaturg, director, teacher
Annie MacRae
Manhattan Theatre Club
Beth Mulhern
Independent Scholar
Dr. Louise Peacock
Writer and Independent Scholar
Uta Schorlemmer
Occidental College
Professor Catherine Sheehy
Yale School of Drama and Yale Repertory Theatre
Mervin P. Antonio
Freelance Dramaturg
Melissa Van Vuuren
James Madison University