Cover of the book to The Golden Apple, c1954. Music by Jerome Moross, Book by John Latouche (from archive.org, score digitized by LYRASIS members and Sloan Foundation).
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Production History and Reviews
Both primary and secondary sources are great for production history and reviews. Begin with the year the musical was initially produced.
American Musical Theatre: A Chronicle, 2nd ed. Gerald Bordman.
Ref. ML1711 .B67 1992 vol.
Essays on the American musical theater arranged chrnologically by season. Not much production information, but rich in influences and history.
The Best Plays of...
located on the 3rd floor, PN6112 .B45
Each volume represents a year in the American theater from 1894-2004.
These volumes are an invaluable resource. Also, known as Burns Mantle, these books contain abridged versions of plays (including librettos for musicals), listings of plays produced on, off, and off off Broadway with the Broadway plays including the number of performances, production credits, cast lists, dates of opening and closing, and a listing of the shows’ numbers: dances, sketches, musical scenes, etc. They are also richly illustrated with reproductions of photographs from the original productions and Hirschfeld sketches. Please note: "Abridged" means the entire play is not included, just a shorter version.
The Collector’s Guide to the American Musical Theatre. David Hummel.
Ref. ML156.4.O46 H85 1984 vol. 1-2
A Chronology of American Musical Theater. Richard C. Norton.
Ref. [q.] ML1711.8.N3 N67 2002 vol. 1-3
Complete book of the American musical theater; : a guide to more than 300 productions of the American musical theater from The black crook (1866) to the present, with plot, production history, stars, songs, composers, librettists, and lyricists. David Ewen.
3rd floor ML1711 .E9 1959
Not exactly current, but for shows prior to 1959 it's a goldmine.
The Oxford companion to the American musical : theatre, film, and television. Thomas Hischak. Ref. ML102 .M88 H593 2008
Summary A dictionary of short entries on American musicals and their practitioners, including performers, composers, lyricists, producers, and choreographers.
Contents: List of entries -- The Oxford companion to the American musical -- Chronology of musicals -- Awards -- Guide to recordings -- Bibliography -- Index.
Internet Broadway Database
Up-to-date searchable database of production information: opening and closing dates of original productions and revivals, casts, crew, songs in each production (good for comparing different versions.) A wealth of information. However, it's always a good idea to verify dates, casts, etc. with two or more sources.
R & H Shows
If you want to know the history of Rodgers and Hammerstein productions, go right to the source. Here you can find out EVERYTHING about an R & H show.
National newspapers such as the New York Times are excellent sources for reviews.
Arts & Humanities Citation Index
It says "Web of Science" but the Arts & Humanities Citation Index (A&HCI) from 1975 to the present is also included.
A Guide to Critical Reviews. James M. Salem.
Ref. Z5782 .S34 vol. 3-4
Ref. Z5782 .S342 vol. 2-3
Ref. Z5782 .S342 1984 vol.1-2
Ref. Z5782 .S34 v.4 Suppl. 1963-80
Readers’ Guide to Periodical Literature, 1900-1994.
The Readers' Guide is located in the Reference area's index section, shelved alphabetically by title. It will point you to reviews and articles about shows in newspapers and magazines.
New York Theatre Critics Reviews. Microfilm, 1940-1957 (Microform Area)
New York Theatre Critics Reviews. Bound, 1970-1994 (Periodicals Level A)
National Theatre Critics Reviews. Bound, 1995-1996 (Periodicals Level A)
"Theatre critics' reviews brings you the complete reviews from these New York publications and stations whenever covered by the critic: New York daily news, Wall Street journal, Time, New York post, Women's wear daily, WABC-TV, CBS-TV, New York times, Christian Science monitor, Newsweek."
The library owns scattered issues of these publications, in print and on microfilm. Publication ceased in 1996.
More Theatre: Stage to Screen to Television. Alvin H. Marill, Ref. PN2189 .L44 1993