Our Town is on pretty much every list of all-time famous American plays. (Well, we can't actually check that, but it's a fairly safe bet.) It's widely considered one of the true American classics and is thought to capture the essence of the nation's spirit. But to frame Our Town as an "American" play only, is to sell it short. According to Tappan Wilder, Thornton Wilder's nephew, this play has been translated into 22 languages and is performed somewhere around the world every single day. (Okay, that last part might be an urban myth, but there have been "tens of thousands" of productions.)
Even if you're not from a small town in New Hampshire, or a small town anywhere—and most of us aren't—you can sympathize with the lives and deaths of Grover's Corners's inhabitants. These are archetypal characters whose trials and tribulations represent what is universal about human existence.