Theatre

About The Play

from a literary perspective
When you're researching about your play's themes, plot, style, or other literary elements, some of the reference sources and journal articles that can help you analyze your play in depth can be found in these databases:
search for Publication Title (PU): Drama for Students, and then the title of your play in the next box
Literature Online (LION)
Literature Research Center
MLA

TIP: if your play or playwright are well known, you could try searching for books of analysis by the playwright’s name in the subject search of the Library Catalog; search for the playwright last name first and look for subheadings, that are either the play title or Criticism and interpretation

criticism and reviews

criticism: sometimes scholars have written in-depth analysis articles about productions of your play. If your play is famous and has been produced multiple times, it is more likely to have been covered by the scholarly literature, but small, relatively unknown plays have sometimes been studied by scholars too.
To find information about where to look for scholarly articles and how to search for reviews of a production:

The Library Catalog may have books or collections of scholarly essays related to your play.
Use a keyword search in the catalog to look for titles of specific works or playwrights.

Some databases to try:
International Bibliography of Theatre & Dance with Full Text
International Index to the Performing Arts (IIPA) Full Text
MLA International Bibliography

reviews: many of the databases have access to not only scholarly articles about a play, but also have access to reviews of productions both on and off-Broadway as well as regional productions.

Some databases to try:
International Bibliography of Theatre & Dance with Full Text
LexisNexis Academic, this database covers more than 300 regional newspapers.
TIP: to find play reviews in newspapers from Lexis, choose the blue "Sources" tab on the left; then click on "Browse Sources" and use the pull down selection lists to narrow the sources you wish to search.
New York Times (Historical) 1851- approximately 3 years ago
There is also:
Los Angeles Times, 1881-1989
Los Angeles Times, 1985-
Washington Post, 1877-1993
also see:
New York Theatre Critic’s Reviews (1943-1994)
-Q-PN 1601 N4 PCL Reference

Finding the Text of a Play

The library catalog has many plays and dramatic works. Use the keyword search to look for the title of your play. Sometimes the play will be part of a larger anthology, so you may want to check the table of contents if you can. If you have too many results, try to narrow your search by using the playwright's name.
Here are resources available in the Fine Arts Library that might help:
Play Index
Search by the title of the play, or also by subject, or size and type of cast, etc. Once you've found the anthology that your play is in, click the yellow Find It At UT button to search the library catalog for that anthology.

North American Theatre Online

Production Histories

These two databases give details about major productions:
North American Theatre Online
(sometimes it also includes the full text of the play)
Internet Broadway Database

Critical articles and reviews found in the databases might also help you piece together a play’s history:
Try your play’s title or broaden it to the playwright.
If you are getting too much with the play title try adding the playwright’s name or other keywords like “theatre” (or “theater”) or “drama” or “productions”
Literature Online (LION)
Literature Research Center
International Bibliography of Theatre & Dance with Full Text
International Index to the Performing Arts (IIPA) Full Text
MLA International Bibliography
LexisNexis Academic, this database covers more than 300 regional newspapers.
TIP: to find play reviews in newspapers from Lexis, choose the blue "Sources" tab on the left; then click on "Browse Sources" and use the pull down selection lists to narrow the sources you wish to search.
New York Times (Historical) 1851- approximately 3 years ago
There is also:
Los Angeles Times, 1881-1989
Los Angeles Times, 1985-
Washington Post, 1877-1993
also see:
New York Theatre Critic’s Reviews (1943-1994)
-Q-PN 1601 N4 PCL Reference

Also do a Subject Heading search in the Library Catalog for books about the playwright, major actors, producers, theatre companies, etc. and look for a subheading Autobiography, Biography, or History

About People

(playwrights, actors, directors, designers, producers)
Biographical information can be found in many different places. Here are some of the best places to start:

Reference Materials: Biographical Information
Biography Reference Bank
LexisNexis Academic
TIP: to find general information about an individual, choose the blue “Subject Areas” tab on the left; the click on “People.”

Long and in-depth analysis of a person's life can usually be found in a book if the person is well known. Do a Subject Heading search in the Library Catalog for the person’s name (last name first) and look for a subheading Autobiography or Biography

Also, here are some books available in the Fine Arts Library to get you started:
Twentieth-Century American Dramatists
PS 126 D437 V.228 & V.249 FAL Stacks
International Dictionary of Theatre
PN 2035 I49 1992 v. 2 & 3 FAL Reference
Oxford Encyclopedia of Theatre and Performance
PN 2035 O92 2003 v.1-2 FAL Reference

see additional tips on how to find biographical information: Finding Biographical Information

Historical Era

(when the play was written, when the play was first produced, when the play was set)
Use reference books to get an overview of your era and find out what were the key events, players, and what the social and political climate/context was, both domestically and internationally, as related to your play.
You also may need to search in databases other than those in the arts in order to find materials on history, sociology, politics, general culture, etc. Look at these lists of databases by subject: History, and Sociology

Think about the following keywords that may help you with your searching:
civilization, social life, customs, history, politics, or government.

databases
Gale Virtual Reference Library
Daily Life Online
Historical Abstracts

and from the Library Catalog - Reference Resources and eBooks
American Decades
World Eras
D 20 W67 2001 PCL Stacks
Some examples of other helpful resources:
Encyclopedia of the Renaissance and the Reformation
Encyclopedia of Contemporary Latin American and Caribbean Cultures
Encyclopedia of Contemporary French Culture
DC 33.7 E53 1998 PCL Reference
Africana : The Encyclopedia of the African and African American Experience
DT 14 A37435 2005 PCL Reference
Colonial America : An Encyclopedia of Social, Political, Cultural, and Economic History
E 162 C68 2006 PCL Stacks

Design

(costume, scenic design, & lighting)

For your design projects, you may need to find information about historical period design, previous productions’ design, or you may need to find images to support your own design decisions.  Here are a few places to start looking for images, paintings, photography, or some visual inspiration:

Historical Databases
Daily Life Online
Historical Abstracts

Image Databases
ARTstor
Oxford Art Online
DASE (Digital Archive SErvices) Collection

Not finding what you need? Check out the library's extensive How to Find Images guide.

Library Catalog
Try searching by using the keyword search feature in the catalog and searching by your topic. Try adding keywords like pictorial works or photographs to your topic keywords.

Also try:
[decade] : All-American Ads
HF 5813 U6 A15 – A442 (8 vol.s) FAL Reference
Decorative Art : a sourcebook (1900s-1970s)
NK 1980 D43 2000 v.1-6 FAL Reference
Greenwood encyclopedia of clothing through world history
GT 507 G74 2008 v. 1-3 FAL Reference
Encyclopedia of world dress and fashion
GT 507 E54 2010 v.1-10 FAL Reference
Also look at the ads and photographs in magazines from the recent past:
Life 051 L625 (19885-1936)and-Q-AP 2 L547 (1936-1972) PCL Stacks
Saturday Evening Post -Q-AP2 S2 (1879-1969) PCL Stacks
Look 051 L872 (1937-1971) PCL Stacks

Dance

In addition to all the resources listed in this whole guide, here are some ways to find information specifically about dance.

The library catalog has many items related to dance. Use a keyword or subject heading search in the catalog to look for specific dance forms or dancers.
Using the advanced search feature in the catalog, you can limit the material type to find DVDs or videocassettes related to your topic.

Here are some books available in the Fine Arts Library to get you started:
International Encyclopedia of Dance
GV 1585 I586 1998 v.1-6 FAL Reference

Databases and Scholarly Articles
Dance in Video
International Bibliography of Theatre & Dance with Full Text
International Index to the Performing Arts (IIPA) Full Text
MLA International Bibliography