Barrie Stavis

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Barrie Stavis
Born (1906-06-16)June 16, 1906
Died February 2, 2007(2007-02-02) (aged 100)
Occupation playwright

Barrie Stavis (June 16, 1906 – February 2, 2007) was an American playwright.[1] He has authored several powerful plays about men struggling in the vortex of history. They advocate ideas, suffer, often are executed, but eventually their ideas win. The heresy of one age becomes the established truth of the next. His subjects include scientist Galileo, abolitionist John Brown, and labor leader Joe Hill. His play, Lamp at Midnight, about Galileo's struggle with the Catholic Church to get his ideas accepted, was performed and televised on the Hallmark Hall of Fame in 1966. Melvyn Douglas starred as Galileo.

Stavis's plays can be done on a clean, simple stage. They have been translated into 28 languages and have been produced in dozens of major theaters around the world and in numerous college theaters.[citation needed]

Stavis was actively still actively in his work until his death on February 2, 2007, at the age of 100.

Major Plays[edit]

  • Harpers Ferry (New York: A.S. Barnes, 1960, 67). First new play in a classical repertory produced by the Guthrie Theater, Minneapolis, 1967. John Brown adopts guerrilla warfare to overthrow slavery. The raid fails and he is executed, but slavery is eventually abolished.
  • Lamp At Midnight (New York: A.S. Barnes, 1966). First produced at New Stages, New York, 1947. Television adaptation Hallmark Hall of Fame, 1966. Galileo challenges religious dogma with science and finds enormous resistance to the truth.
  • The Man Who Never Died (New York: A.S. Barnes, 1972). Joe Hill confronts power by organizing a trade union and pays with his life. First produced at the Jan Hus Theater, New York, 1958.
  • The Raw Edge of Victory in Dramatics Vol. 57, No. 8 and 9 (April and May 1986). George Washington leads a revolution to establish national independence.
  • The House of Shadows.


  • The National Theater Conference honors an outstanding emerging playwright each year with the "Barrie and Bernice Stavis Playwriting Award."


  1. ^ "Paid Notice: Deaths Stavis, Barrie.". The New York Times. July 10, 2007. 

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