Edward Albee's most well-known work is 'Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?', but for some reason the LA Times chose this earlier work instead for their '100 works for the Modern Person' list. 'The American Dream' is paired with his very first work 'The Zoo Story', apparently for the editorial pleasure of bookending the alphabet.
It's always difficult trying to read plays; I know this is a comedy, but read silently, most of the fun is leached out of it and all that remains is bitter criticism. The 'American Dream' of the title has multiple meanings; the play is about a prototypical American middle-class family, Mommy, Daddy, and Grandma, whose prosperity can be said to embody the ambitions of the 1950s. The dialogue has a dream-like quality; the characters have no proper names, only vague, barely-defined relationships. What the play is more or less 'about', if anything, is Mommy and Daddy's disappointment with their adopted child; in the third act, a replacement son shows up, a strapping young man without a heart whom Grandma also gives the appellation of the American Dream.
The dream of American prosperity is a soulless, real values have been exchanged for appearances, blah, blah, blah. I'm sure this was much more impressive and shocking in 1962. In the 21st century we're not so impressed by people taking off their clothes on stage.
ps - I wonder if this was an influence on 'American Beauty'?