Beth Henley

Beth Henley



Born and raised in Jackson, Mississippi, it's no surprise that Beth Henley's written works, both screenplays and plays, commonly center on stories of women in the rural south. The daughter of an actress, she herself participated in the theatre onstage in her teenage years and into college. During her studies at Southern Methodist University, Henley completed her first short play, Am I Blue. Her most-known works include titles like The Miss Firecracker Contest, Impossible Marriage, and Crimes of the Heart. Crimes of the Heart won the 1981 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, and was additionally nominated for a Tony Award. Henley's subsequent screenplay for "Crimes of the Heart" was nominated for an Academy Award. With a wholly unique style of writing, employing techniques from southern gothic and black comedy genres, Henley frequently uses quirks and oddities of her characters' personalities to reveal their deepest vulnerabilities. Romantic connection, familial love, complex sibling and parent dynamics, struggle to fit in, and life in the American South are frequent themes in her pieces of dramatic literature. Henley's heartwarming, honest, and gutsy work has earned her a prominent name, especially alongside southern woman writers whose stories and style inspired her own.

Shows by Beth Henley


When meek Bess Johnson and bold Macon Hill meet at a stage-coach stop in Wyoming Territory, they are united by their common purpose. Both mail-order brides, they have come West across the states during the era of expansion, l... read more

Am I Blue, the first play of well-known author Beth Henley, is a brief one-act that opens on a rainy street in the French Quarter of New Orleans. John Polk, a young college student, is having a drink at a dingy bar when he me... read more

The three MaGrath sisters are back together in their hometown of Hazelhurst, Mississippi for the first time in a decade. Lenny, the eldest, never left Hazelhurst -- she is the caretaker of the sisters’ cantankerous Old Grandd... read more

In the back garden of a country estate outside Savannah Georgia, Pandora Kingsley, 20, eagerly awaits her upcoming nuptials to Edvard Lunt, a man over 30 years her senior, floating like a cloud of whimsy around her mother’s r... read more

The summer air is beginning to heat up in Brookhaven, a rural town in Mississippi, as residents prepare with excitement for their annual Miss Firecracker Contest, a beauty and talent pageant held every summer on the Fourth of... read more


Show Categories
Drama, Dark Comedy, Comedy