With an arsenal of print and electronic material at your disposal, you can delve into the history, literature, acting, choreography, design, and management of theater and dance. You can research a specific period, a particular artist’s or playwright’s style, theater and dance culture, or theater and dance performances based on a specific literary work. You also can research theater and dance’s history; production companies and individual productions; technical and theatrical aspects; the best plays of the modern ages; excerpts from critically-acclaimed plays; and the most notable names in theater and dance worldwide, or the present state of affairs for academic, children’s, community, ethic, experimental, and regional theater.
In addition to combing through general humanities and arts sources, the focus of your research paper can include books, periodicals, and videos, art history and studio art materials, music, sound recordings, and musical scores, and special collections of theatrical manuscripts and rare print materials, all specific to your topic or subject of interest. Described in this article are selected sources and references for research papers on theater and dance.
Selected Subject Headings
Listed below is a sample of a few broad Library of Congress subject headings—made up of one word or more representing concepts under which all library holdings are divided and subdivided by subject—which you can search under and use as subject terms as well when searching online library catalogs for preliminary and/or additional research, such as books, audio and video recordings, and other references, related to your research paper topic. When researching materials on your topic, subject heading searching may be more productive than searching using simple keywords. However, keyword searching when using the right search method (Boolean, etc.) and combination of words can be equally effective in finding materials more closely relevant to the topic of your research paper.
Suggested Research Topics for Theater:
- Children’s Theater
- Drama Technique
- Improvisation Acting
- Method Acting
- Movement Acting
- One-Act Plays
- Puppet Plays
- Radio Plays
- Stage Fighting
- Stage Fright
- Stage Lighting
- Stage Management
- Theater and Society
- Theater—Production and direction
- Theatrical Makeup
Suggested Research Topics for Dance:
- Dance for Children
- Dance—Physiological aspects
- Dance—Social aspects
- Dancers Biography
- Dance Therapy
- Dancing Injuries
- Folk Dancing
- Improvisation in Dance
- Jazz Dance
- Modern Dance
- Movement—Aesthetics of Rhythm
Selected Keyword Search Strategies and Guides
Most online library indexes and abstracts and full-text article databases offer basic and advanced “keyword” searching of virtually every subject. In this case, combine keyword terms that best define your thesis question or topic using the Boolean search method (employing “and” or “or”) to find research most suitable to your paper.
If your research paper topic is “the mental and physical benefits of dance therapy,” for example, enter “benefits” and “dance therapy” with “and” on the same line to locate sources directly compatible with the primary focus of your paper. To find research on more specific aspects of your topic, alternate with one new keyword at a time with “and” in between (for example, “disabilities [or disorders] and dance therapy,” “history and dance therapy,” “principles and dance therapy,” “qualifications and dance therapy,” “treatments and dance therapy,” etc.).
For additional help with keyword searching, navigation or user guides for online indexes and databases by many leading providers—including Cambridge Scientific Abstracts, EBSCO, H.W. Wilson, OCLC, Ovid Technologies, ProQuest, and Thomson Gale—are posted with direct links on library Web sites to guides providing specific instruction to using whichever database you want to search. They provide additional guidance on how to customize and maximize your searching, including advanced searching techniques and grouping of words and phrases using the Boolean search method—of your topic, of bibliographic records, and of full-text articles, and other documents related to the subject of your research paper. Many libraries, under the “Help” sections of their Web sites, post their own tutorials on subject and keyword searching, which you can also consult.
Selected Source and Subject Guides
As part of your preliminary research to find appropriate resources for your paper, information source and research guides are available at most public and academic libraries and are keyword searchable through your library’s online catalog (to search and locate guides, enter your “subject” followed by these keywords one search at a time: “information sources,” “reference sources,” and “research guide”). Printed guides available for this subject area include
American Theater and Drama Research: An Annotated Guide to Information Sources, 1945–1990, by Irene Shaland (Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland & Co, 1991)
The American Stage to World War I: A Guide to Information Sources, by Don B. Wilmeth, 269 pages (Detroit, Mich.: Gale Research Co., 1978)
Performing Arts Research: A Guide to Information Sources, by Marion K. Whalon, 280 pages (Detroit, Mich.: Gale Research Co., 1976)
Research in Dance: A Guide to Resources, by Mary S. Bopp, 296 pages (New York: G. K. Hall; Toronto: Maxwell Macmillan Canada; and New York: Maxwell Macmillan International, 1994)
Theatre and Cinema Architecture: A Guide to Information Sources, by Richard Stoddard, 368 pages (Detroit, Mich.: Gale Research Co., 1978)
In addition to these sources of research, most college and university libraries offer online subject guides arranged by subject on the library’s Web page; others also list searchable course-related “LibGuides” by subject. Each guide lists more recommended published and Web sources—including books and references, journal, newspaper and magazines indexes, full-text article databases, Web sites, and even research tutorials—you can access to expand your research on more specific issues and relevant to the subject of your research paper.
Selected Books and References
American Musical Theatre—A Chronicle, 3rd ed., by Gerald Bordman, 936 pages (New York: Oxford University Press, 2000)
Written by Gerald Bordman, author of Oxford University Press’s acclaimed American Theatre series, this exhaustively researched guide offers detailed summaries of musical theater productions, including musical comedies, operettas, reviews, and one-man and one-woman shows, from 1866 to 1960. A detailed show, song, and people index is included.
American Theatre—A Chronicle of Comedy and Drama 1869–1914, by Gerald Bordman, Vol. 1, 808 pages (New York: Oxford University Press, 1994)
The first of four volumes, this well-written and researched book examines American theater history, from post–Civil War era to the start of World War I. Every Broadway show is fully chronicled by season, including plot summaries, details of the production and its stars, and other characteristics.
American Theatre: A Chronicle of Comedy and Drama 1914–1930, by Gerald Bordman, Vol. 2, 464 pages (New York: Oxford University Press, 1995)
This second volume in Oxford’s American Theatre series chronicles every American theater production in chronological order from 1914 to 1930, what many historians believe to be the richest period in American theater. Covering the works of such noted playwrights as George Kaufman, Eugene O’Neill, and Elmer Rice and the era’s biggest stars, such as John and Ethel Barrymore and Alfred Lunt, entries include plot summaries, production details, cast and character names, and critical reviews.
American Theatre: A Chronicle of Comedy and Drama 1930–1969, by Gerald Bordman, Vol. 3, 480 pages (New York: Oxford University Press, 1996)
In the third volume of Oxford’s American Theatre series, Gerald Bordman once again surveys American theater, this time focusing on nonmusical theater—comedy and drama—between 1930 and 1969. Following the same format as previous editions, Bordman vividly details Broadway productions offering plotlines, historical context, cast and credits, critical response, and more. This premier history also chronicles the best work of playwrights from this era, including Arthur Miller (Death of a Salesman), Eugene O’Neill (Long Day’s Journey into Night), Tennessee Williams (A Streetcar Named Desire), and many others.
American Theatre: A Chronicle of Comedy and Drama 1969–2000, by Thomas S. Hischak, Vol. 4, 520 pages (New York: Oxford University Press, 2001)
This last edition and final volume of Oxford’s American Theatre series, written by State University of New York professor of theater Thomas S. Hischak, coauthor of The Oxford Companion to American Theatre, offers a fascinating look at Broadway productions through the end of the 20th century.
The Cambridge Guide to American Theatre, 2nd ed., edited by Don B. Wilmeth, 786 pages (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2009)
This alphabetically arranged, second-edition chronicle offers extensive coverage of American theater history, including major plays and all forms of theater, including burlesque, circuses, and vaudeville, from their beginnings through 2008. Featuring the contributions of more than 80 experts, this book covers more than 2,700 subjects, including biographical sketches of theater personalities, entries for individual plays, essays on production companies and theaters, historical sketches of theater, and related subjects, from overviews of Asian-American theater to Shakespearean stage productions. This volume includes a list of 1,000 additional sources for further reading, and a biographical index of more than 3,200 names.
A Chronology of American Musical Theater, by Richard C. Norton, 3 vols., 3,078 pages (New York: Oxford University Press, 2002)
Named an Outstanding Reference Source for 2003 by the American Library Association, this three-volume reference set surveys more than 3,000 musicals by year and by season, from the 1860s through 2001. Each entry provides considerable detail about the productions, including information about the cast and crew, composers, lyricists, set designers, and songs, and every kind of production—Broadway and off-Broadway musicals, operettas, revues, and other stage works. Contents are extensively indexed.
Contemporary Dramatists, 6th ed., edited by Thomas Riggs, 897 pages (Detroit: St. James Press, 1998)
This fully revised and updated sixth edition offers 450 entries examining the lives and works of the most famous living playwrights in the English language. Entries include biographies, bibliographies, and critical essays on the most studied dramatists in the world of theater.
Contemporary Theatre, Film, and Television: A Biographical Guide Featuring Performers, Directors, Writers, Producers, Designers, Managers, Choreographers, Technicians, Composers, Executives, Dancers, and Critics in the United States and Great Britain, 97 vols. (Detroit, Mich.: Gale Group, 2009)
This first-rate biographical reference, also available in e-book format through the online library database Gale Virtual Reference Library, details the lives and careers of some 20,000 entertainment industry professionals, such as choreographers, critics, designers, directors, executives, producers, technicians, and writers from the United States and Great Britain. Entries provide personal and career vitals, including birth dates, education and professional training, and political and religious affiliations. This series was published as a supplement to Who’s Who in Theatre, which ceased publication in 1981.
International Encyclopedia of Dance, 2nd ed., edited by Selma Jeanne Cohen, 6 vols., 4,000 pages (New York: Oxford University Press, 2004)
This heavily illustrated six-volume encyclopedia features more than 2,000 topical essays exploring all forms of dance throughout the world and its cultural and social significance.
The New Penguin Dictionary of the Theatre, edited by Jonathan Law, David Pickering, and Richard Helfer, 668 pages (New York: Penguin USA, 2001)
An invaluable reference guide for students and aficionados of drama, containing more than 5,000 articles exploring all aspects, styles, and developments in theater.
The Oxford Companion to American Theatre, 3rd ed., by Gerald Bordman and Thomas S. Hischak, 696 pages (New York: Oxford University Press, 2004)
Fully updated and expanded, this encyclopedia is an authoritative source of information about all aspects of American theater, from its beginnings to the late 20th century. More than 3,000 entries highlight great American playwrights, producers, and directors, Broadway stage productions, composers and lyricists, theater companies and organizations, performers, and some foreign plays. Entries include such celebrated plays as Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Cats, The Iceman Cometh, Arsenic and Old Lace, My Fair Lady, and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, and the greatest names in theater, such as Clifford Odets, Lillian Hellman, George Gershwin, Neil Simon, Florenz Ziegfeld, Mae West, Lee Strasberg, and Jessica Tandy.
Theatre Backstage From A to Z, 4th ed., by Warren C. Lounsbury and Norman C. Boulanger, 231 pages (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1999)
An ideal source for amateurs and professionals alike, this copiously illustrated revised and expanded manual covers the technical aspects of theater production, including construction, design, lighting, painting, stage managing, and more.
Theatre World, by John Willis, et al., 65 vols. (New York: Daniel C. Blum, 1945–50; Crown Publishers, 1966–91; Applause Theatre and Cinema Books, 1992– )
Annual survey of the American theater offering brief summaries and cast lists for Broadway, off-Broadway, and regional theater productions. Information covered includes awards, biographies, and obituaries for the previous year. Between 1944 and 1965, the series was published by various publishers, including its first, Daniel C. Blum, which issued the first six volumes in the series through 1950. Eighteen additional annual volumes followed. Publication continued under the Crown Publishers imprint in 1966, when the seventh volume in the series was released. Crown became the principal publisher of this series, continuing publication through the 1989–90 season (Volume 46). In 1973, the publication was renamed after its author John Willis’ Theatre World before returning to its former title in 1982. In 1992, Applause Theatre and Cinema Books acquired the series, publishing its first edition, Volume 47 (1990–91), that same year.
Variety Obituaries, 15 vols. (New York: Garland Publishing Co., 1905–94)
This 15-volume set reprinted show business obituaries of well-known celebrities in the performing arts from 1905 through 1993–94.
Who’s Who in Theatre: A Biographical Record of the Contemporary Stage, 17th ed., 4 vols. (London: Pitman; Detroit, Mich.: Gale Research, 1981– )
No longer in print but still available at some school and public libraries, this important four-volume set was the first reference of its kind featuring biographies of people from all aspects of theater from 1912 to 1981. Largely emphasizing London theater in earlier volumes, the entire set offers biographical entries on leading actors, composers, critics, dramatists, designers, and historians from both the London and New York stage. In addition, playbills from various productions are included.
Who Was Who in the Theatre, 1912–1976: A Biographical Dictionary of Actors, Actresses, Directors, Playwrights, and Producers of the English-Speaking Theatre, 15 vols., 2,664 pages (Detroit, Mich.: Gale Research, 1978)
Now out of print but still useful, this 15-volume reference is a “who was who” of noted theater actors, actresses, directors, producers, and playwrights. Biographical sketches offer personal and career information on each subject.
The World Encyclopedia of Contemporary Theatre, by Don Rubin, 6 vols., 3,470 pages (London and New York: Routledge, 1994–2000)
This six-volume set, called by its publisher “the largest international cooperative publication in the history of world theater,” covers the theater productions and performances of 30 countries around the world. Coverage includes dramatists, plays, and theatrical companies and the cultural, political, and religious impact of their work and performances.
Critical Survey of Drama, 2nd ed., edited by Frank N. Magill, revised edition edited by Carl Rollyson, 8 vols. (Pasadena, Calif.: Salem Press, 2003)
Eight-volume set of alphabetically arranged articles about major playwrights and their plays comprises the original seven volumes edited by Frank N. Magill, formerly called Critical Survey of Drama: English Language Series (1985) and Critical Survey of Drama: Foreign Language Series (1986). This acclaimed reference series features biographical and critical essays on important English-language dramatists from ancient times to the present and such areas as Africa, Australia, Britain, Canada, West Indies, and the United States. Each entry discusses the subject’s achievements and principal dramas combining critical analysis and bibliographies for further reading. Additional essays also focus on other aspects of the development and presentation of drama, such as acting, costumes, lighting, and more. Cumulated author and title indexes accompany the set.
Critics’ Theatre Reviews, 3 vols. (New York: Critics Theatre Reviews, 1940–42)
This three-volume set offers full text of critical reviews for stage productions from 1940 to 1942. The series continued publication under two different names: New York Theatre Critics’ Reviews and National Theatre Critics’ Reviews, each containing full-text reviews from 1943 through 1996.
Dramatic Criticism Index: A Bibliography of Commentaries on Playwrights from Ibsen to the Avant-Garde, compiled and edited by Paul F. Breed and Florence M. Sniderman, 1,022 pages (Detroit, Mich.: Gale Research Co., 1972)
A good source of criticism and lists of plays by modern playwrights from Ibsen to the early 1970s, this comprehensive index includes approximately 12,000 critical articles, essays, and books on individual plays, arranged alphabetically by playwright. Indexed are both American and foreign 20th-century playwrights. Title and critic’s name indexes are provided for cross-referencing of subjects.
A Guide to Critical Reviews, 3rd Ed., by James M. Salem, 2 vols. (Metuchen, N.J.: Scarecrow Press, 1984–91)
This two-volume, three-part series indexes in alphabetical order critical reviews published in magazines, newspapers, and theater journals by subject. Following the name of each entry, the title of the production, debut date, number of performances, and reviews are listed by publication and date published. Part I of the series indexes reviews of American drama from 1909 to 1982; Part II, musicals from 1909 to 1989, and Part III, foreign dramas from 1909 to 1977.
International Bibliography of Theatre, by Benito Ortolani (Brooklyn: Theatre Research Data Center, Brooklyn College, City University of New York, 1982–1999)
Updated annually from 1982 to 1999, its last edition, this popular reference is considered by librarians as one of the best indexes in theatre. This annual lists international publications in theater and performing arts and more than 5,000 entries in all, covering all time periods and geographic areas of theater arts. Coverage includes books, articles in scholarly journals, articles in literary and theater magazines, criticism and interviews, and reviews published around the world and in several languages. This directory is divided into two parts: a list of resources and a subject index. Unlike the MLA International Bibliography and other arts and humanities indexes, this publication does not list reviews in newspapers and popular media.
Modern Drama Scholarship and Criticism 1966–1980: An International Bibliography, by Charles A. Carpenter, 587 pages (Toronto, Canada, and Buffalo, N.Y.: University of Toronto Press, 1986)
Suitable for researching international criticism on contemporary and modern playwrights, this first of two volumes covers nearly 25,000 international publications arranged by topic. Books and articles are arranged by geographic area, and playwrights’ names are conveniently indexed in the front of the book. Content includes criticism and interviews through 1980.
Modern Drama Scholarship and Criticism, 1981–1990: An International Bibliography, by Charles A. Carpenter, 632 pages (Toronto, Canada, and Buffalo, N.Y.: University of Toronto Press in association with Modern Drama, 1997)
This follow-up volume to Modern Drama Scholarship and Criticism, 1966–1980 adheres to the same format as its predecessor, chronicling 25,200 additional periodicals since 1981, including books, articles, criticisms, and interviews on contemporary and modern playwrights.
National Theatre Critics’ Reviews, 2 vols. (Woodside, N.Y.: Critics’ Theatre Reviews, 1995–96)
Formerly known as Critics’ Theatre Reviews, 1940–1942 and New York Theatre Critics’ Reviews, 1943–1994, this two-volume set reproduces full-text reviews from 1995 to 1996.
New York Theatre Critics’ Reviews, 52 vols. (New York: Critics’ Theatre Reviews, 1943–95)
The best source for Broadway and off-Broadway show reviews, this 52-volume index features full-text New York theater critic reviews from 1943 to 1995. The last volume indexes actors, choreographers, directors, and other personnel from the shows reviewed.
The New York Times Index, 95 vols. (New York: The New York Times Co., 1851–2007)
Indexes citations from 1857 to the present (under the subject heading “Theater”) of articles about theater and reviews of individual plays listed alphabetically by title corresponding with The New York Times microfilm collection.
The New York Times Theater Reviews (New York: The New York Times, 1870–2001)
Ceasing publication with the 1999–2000 edition, this set of indexes contains the full texts of theater reviews published in The New York Times since 1870.
Selected Full-Text Article Databases
Academic Search Elite (Ipswich, Mass.: EBSCO Publishing, EBSCOHost, indexing: 1980– , full text: 1990– )
Covering a variety of disciplines, Academic Search Elite is a good source for reviews and general articles on theater and stage personalities culled from popular magazines and some scholarly journals.
Academic Search Premier (Ipswich, Mass.: EBSCO Publishing, EBSCOHost, indexing: 1972– , full text: 1972– )
Another good source of entertainment reviews, this major database contains full-text articles from many academic journals, such as Cineaste and Journal of Performance and Art, and popular magazines, including People, Time, and Rolling Stone. Coverage varies by title.
Art Full Text (Bronx, N.Y.: H.W. Wilson Co., Wilson Disc, WilsonWeb/Ovid Technologies, Inc., indexing: September 1984– , abstracting, Spring 1984/– , full text: 1997– )
Abstracts and indexes, with full text of 98 journals, a wide array of peer-reviewed journals that are international in scope, plus links to Web sites of many articles, from 1997 to the present. As with the print version, this online edition indexes only a handful of journals, mostly geared towards the technical side of theater arts. Also offered on CD-ROM and online as Wilson Art Full Text.
Expanded Academic ASAP (Farmington Hills, Mich.: Thomson Gale InfoTrac, 1980– )
One of the best sources for theater reviews and theater criticism, Expanded Academic ASAP contains citations and full-text articles from 1,900 popular magazines, scholarly journals, and major newspapers. Articles cover a wide range of theater topics, as well as related subjects in the arts, humanities, and sciences. Subjects are keyword searchable; to search, combine the name of the production with the phrase “theater reviews.” This database includes full-text access to the following magazines and journals: American Theatre, Back Stage, Dance Magazine, Down Beat, Early Music, Opera News, Performing Arts Journal, TDR, Theatre Journal, Theatre Research International, among others, from 1994 to the present.
JSTOR (Ann Arbor, Mich.: Journal Storage Project, 1996– )
This electronic archive contains the complete back files of 119 scholarly journals in the arts, humanities, and the social sciences, with many titles extending back to the 1800s. Options allow users to browse journals online or retrieve full text using title or subject search. The journals in this collection have been digitized back to the first issue published, and more than 4.5 million pages are available.
LexisNexis Academic Universe (Dayton, Ohio: LexisNexis, 1977– )
LexisNexis Academic Universe includes full-text articles from virtually thousands of newspapers, magazines, trade journals, industry publications, and more published in the United States and abroad. This easy-to-use database is a good source for finding current information on actors, performers, and reviews of performances. Reviews are searchable under the “General News Topics” category, and under “News/Arts and Sports/Book, Movie, Music and Play Reviews.”
Periodical Abstracts Research II (Ann Arbor, Mich.: UMI ProQuest, 1986)
Another solid source is this full-text edition of Periodical Abstracts Research featuring abstracts and some full-text articles to reviews and general articles about stage and theater. Out of some 1,600 general reference publications represented, PAR indexes articles from approximately 396 humanities periodicals in the field.
ProjectMUSE (Baltimore, Md.: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1990– )
One of the best collections on the Web today, with access to almost 250 electronic journals published by major universities, including film, television, mass media, and theater arts studies. Coverage dates back 10 years but varies by journal. Users can browse or search journals by title or subjects. Among the full-text journals featured are Asian Theatre Journal (1999– ), Discourse (2000– ), Performing Arts Journal (1996– ), TDR: The Drama Review (1999– ), Theater Journal (1996– ), and Theatre Topics (1996– ).
ProQuest Direct (Ann Arbor, Mich.: ProQuest/UMI, indexing: 1971– , full text: 1986– )
Indexes more than 1,100 Web-searchable scholarly periodicals, as well as newspapers and general-interest magazines, from 1986 to the present. In most cases, full-text articles are available from such journals as American Theater and Theatre Journal.
American Theatre (New York: Theatre Communications Group, 1984– , monthly)
This highly regarded monthly, published by the nonprofit Theatre Communications Groups of New York, primarily focuses on professional theater. Published in each issue are two or three major features, including actor profiles, articles on legal and professional issues affecting the theater arts community, and articles covering trends and events in theater. Online access is provided to certain articles from back issues since January 2000. To access, visit http://www.tcg.org/publications/at/archives.cfm.
Back Stage (New York: Back Stage Publications, 1960– , weekly)
Providing an inside look into the performing arts since 1960, this weekly trade paper covers East Coast theater. Coverage includes the latest industry news, feature stories, reviews, casting notices, and advice articles for industry professionals and students. A collection of feature stories is accessible online at http://www.backstage.com/.
Drama: The Journal of National Drama (Shaftesbury, U.K.: National Drama, 1993– , biannual)
Designed for educators and practitioners in theater arts, Drama is the official publication of National Drama in Great Britain. This scholarly journal, published biannually, offers a forum for educators and practitioners worldwide to discuss theories and practices, opinions and criticisms, debate key issues, and share new research in the field.
Early Theatre (Hamilton, Canada: McMaster University, 1998– , biannual)
A journal associated with the records of early English drama, Early Theatre is a peer-reviewed print journal, now published biannually by the Department of English at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, devoted to drama and theater history of England, Scotland, Ireland, and Wales. This scholarly journal publishes research studies, articles, and notes on the performance history, as well as literary and analytical articles about individual performances.
Performing Arts Journal (New York: Performing Arts Journal Publications, 1976–97; Baltimore, Md.: Johns Hopkins University Press for PAJ Publications, 1998– , three times a year)
Originally titled the Performing Arts Journal from 1976 to 1997 (Volumes 1–19), this scholarly journal, renamed PAJ: A Journal of Performance and Art in January 1998, explores new directions and new work in dance, film, music, performance, theater, and the visual arts. Published three times yearly, PAJ includes essays and critical commentaries, interviews and book reviews, artists’ writings and festival reports, and performance texts and plays in the performing arts. Contents of current and past issues are abstracted and indexed in such popular online indexes as Arts and Humanities Citation Index, ISI Current Contents, Film Literature Index, Humanities Index, and International Index to the Performing Arts.
Playbill (New York: American Theatre Press, 1982– , monthly)
This monthly print magazine covers the professional theater, especially New York theater. Each issue contains feature articles and columns by or about theater personalities, engaging editorials, and travel, fashion, and dining news aimed at active theatergoers. In addition, Playbill offers free access to information published on its Web site (http://www.playbill.com/), such as news, features, theater listings, and other resources, including box-office grosses and a theater awards database.
Shakespeare Quarterly (Washington, D.C.: Folger Shakespeare Library, 1950– , quarterly)
First published in 1950 by the Shakespeare Association of America, this quarterly journal is the foremost publication covering all aspects of Shakespeare studies, including play criticisms and theater histories. Issues include essays and research studies, reviews of books, films, and stage productions, and criticism and scholarship of Shakespeare-related works.
Stage Directions (West Sacramento, Calif.: SMW Communications; New York: Lifestyle Media, 1988– , monthly)
With members of community, regional, and academic theater including producers, lightning technicians, and set designers among its readers, Stage Directions offers practical help to people involved in theater production, featuring articles about new strategies, ideas, and solutions to common problems, as well as book, CD, and play reviews.
TDR: The Drama Review (New York: New York University, School of Arts, 1968–87; Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1988– , quarterly)
This widely read, highly acclaimed scholarly journal is devoted to serious study and debate on various kinds of performances, including dance, theater, performance art, popular entertainment, and sports. Published by the New York University School of Arts from 1967 to 1997 and by MIT Press since 1988, each issue features articles, commentaries, interviews, texts of performances, and translations of important works on contemporary performing arts and performing theory. Bibliographic citations with abstracts and full-text articles, in some cases, are indexed in such well-known library databases as Arts and Humanities Citation Index, Expanded Academic ASAP, Humanities Index, International Index to the Performing Arts, and MLA International Bibliography.
Theatre Journal (Baltimore, Md.: Johns Hopkins University Press in cooperation with Association for Theatre in Higher Education, 1941– , quarterly)
The scholarly Theatre Journal, published quarterly by Johns Hopkins University Press in association with the Association of Theater in Higher Education, offers a global view of all aspects of theater arts. Issues feature many social and historical studies and critical reviews of productions, written by noted scholars and practitioners. Issues and contents are indexed and abstracted in ProjectMUSE.
Theatre Topics (Baltimore, Md.: Johns Hopkins University Press in cooperation with Association for Theatre in Higher Education, 1991– , semi-annual)
Hailed as “an excellent addition to literature of drama,” this scholarly, peer-reviewed electronic journal, accessible through ProjectMUSE (1996– ), features timely articles on a vast number of practical, performance-oriented subjects of interest to theater educators and practitioners and scholars and students of theater. First published in March 1991, it offers articles that reflect the theory and practice of acting, community-based theater, design, directing, dramaturgy, performance studies, and theater pedagogy. Theatre Topics is indexed and abstracted in several article databases including American Humanities Index, Annual Bibliography of English Language and Literature, Education Index, and MLA International Bibliography.
Variety (New York: Variety Pub. Co., 1905– , weekly)
Published weekly, Variety, the longest-running industry trade paper, features news and reviews covering all areas of show business, including Broadway and off-Broadway players and shows abroad, as well as regional and New York theater productions. It is a good source for theater industry news casting and box-office gross information each week.
Selected Web Sites
American Variety Stage (http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/vshtml/vshome.html)
This multimedia online anthology, presented by the Library of Congress, displays various stage and theater holdings from its collection of popular entertainment material, including vaudeville, from 1870 to 1920. Items include English- and Yiddish-language play scripts, theater playbills and programs, motion pictures and sound recordings, and photographs and other memorabilia.
A Brief Guide to Internet Resources in Theatre and Performance Studies (http://www2.stetson.edu/csata/thr_guid.html)
Celebrating its 16th anniversary in 2009, this Web site is actually one of the most comprehensive listings of content and links on theater and performance studies.
Federal Theatre Project (http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/fedtp/fthome.html)
This Web presentation of the Library of Congress’ Federal Theatre Project Collection features more than 13,000 images of stage and costume designs, still photographs, posters, and scripts (for Orson Welles’s productions of Macbeth and The Tragical History Dr. Faustus) from 1935 to 1939. The FTPC was originally established by President Franklin D. Roosevelt during the New Deal era.
Internet Broadway Database (IBDB) (http://www.ibdb.com/index.php)
This official database for Broadway archives features searchable records of theater information for stage productions from its early New York beginnings to the present.
Performing Arts in America 1875–1923 (http://digital.nypl.org/lpa/nypl/lpa_home4.html)
Partially funded by the National Endowment of the Arts and part of the New York Public Library for Performing Arts, Performing Arts in America 1875–1923 is a searchable online database, funded in part by the National Endowment for the Arts, of 16,000 items representative of this period of performing arts, including newspaper clippings; photographs; music sheet samples (popular music, show tunes, jazz, and dance music); photographs of artists and theater, dance, and popular performances; and movie posters and lobby cards.
Theatre Reviews Limited (http://www.theatrereviews.com/)
Online source providing free access to reviews of recent Broadway, Off-Broadway, and Off-Off Broadway shows in New York City.
The WWW Virtual Library Theatre and Drama (http://vl-theatre.com/)
This multicultural, multilingual Web site features resources from more than 50 countries on all aspects of theater, designed for amateurs, professionals, and students of all ages.
Yahoo’s Theatre Pages (http://dir.yahoo.com/arts/performing_arts/theater)
Comprehensive listing of theater Web pages and an alphabetical directory of potential sites.
Careers Related to Theater and Dance
Dance Career Field (http://career.iresearchnet.com/career-fields/dance.html)
Dance is one of the oldest of the arts. Anthropologists believe the first formal dances were probably symbolic dances performed by early tribal societies as part of ritual ceremonies held to ask spirits or gods for success in hunting or in battle. Some anthropologists think that dancing and music originally came from the same mating-display impulses that occur in other species. The Egyptians used dance to honor their leaders and during parades, funerals, and religious ceremonies. Israelites performed circle dances, processional chain dances, and energetic stamping- and-jumping dances at religious festivals. Greek children learned to dance as part of their education; adults performed dances in festivals honoring the god Dionysus and as part of Greek comedy and tragedy. Many of these dances were adopted and developed by the Romans as well.
Theater Career Field (http://career.iresearchnet.com/career-fields/theater.html)
Theatrical performance is among the oldest of human art forms. It probably began with storytelling to recount recent and historical events in small communities. Ancient peoples often performed elaborate rituals to ask spirits or gods for success in hunting or in battle. Sometimes community leaders or religious officials wore masks and colorful costumes. Ceremonies also were held to pray for the health of individuals, mourn the dead, ward off evil spirits, or promote the welfare of the society. Later societies enacted the myths and stories involving their gods and heroes. For example, Egyptian dramas often centered around the god Osiris.