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Drama: 54-281: Foundations of Drama II: 20th Century Productions: Get started: Find Productions/History



Theatre World 1944-2013
Definitive annual record of American theatre from 1944-2013. Includes Broadway,Off-Broadway, Off-Off-Broadway, and regional theatre, theatrical awards, obituaries, biographies, awards.
HUNT FA-REF-4 PN2277 .N5 A17 

See also:
Best Plays of Theatre Yearbook.
Facts and commentary by theatre season

Historical Surveys and Encyclopedias

Historical Surveys and Encyclopedias

Nellhaus, Tobin. Theatre Histories: An Introduction. Third edition. London : New York: Routledge, 2016.
HUNT FA-REF PN2101 .T48 2016 and E-book
(earlier print editions also  available)


Brockett, Oscar Gross Hildy. History of the Theatre. 9th ed. Boston : Pearson, 2008. 10th ed.
HUNT FA-REF PN2101 .B68 2008
Earlier editions are available in the library.


Other Works

Berg Fashion Library
Includes the Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion with articles that emphasize the history of world dress in context for Africa, Latin America, United States and Canada, South and Southeast Asia, Central and Southwest Asia, East Asia, Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands, West Europe, East Europe, Russia and the Caucasus and Global Perspectives. Also included:  reference works such as Classic and Modern Writings on Fashion, A-Z of Fashion and The Dictionary of Fashion History, a museum directory and exhibitions archive, selected e-books and more.


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Blumenfeld's Dictionary of Musical Theater 0pera, 0peretta, Musical Comedy
Blumenfeld, Robert.
HUNT FA-REF-4 ML102 .M875 B58 2010


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Broadway: An Encyclopedia of Theater and American Culture.
Greenfield, Thomas A. ed. Santa Barbara; Denver; London, Greenwood ABC Clio, 2010.
HUNT FA-REF-4 PN2277 .N5 B62 2 volumes

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Broadway Plays and Musicals: Descriptions and Essential Facts of more than 14,000 shows..., Hischak, Thomas. Jefferson, N.C. : McFarland & Co., 2009
HUNT FA-REF-4 PN2277 .N5 H573 2009

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Cambridge History of American Theatre 
Wilmeth Don B. and Christopher Bigsby, eds New York; Cambridge: Cambridge University, Press, 1998.
HUNT FA-REF-4 PN2221 .c37 1998 3 volumes
Volume 1: Beginnings to 1870
Volume 2: 1870-1945
Volume 3: Post-World War II-1990s
A contextual survey; each section contains extensive timelines juxtaposing theatre events in America with selected historical/cultural American and worldwide events.


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Cambridge History of British Theatre
Wilmeth Don B. and Christopher Bigsby, eds.   New York; Cambridge: Cambridge University, Press, 1998.
HUNT FA-REF-4 PN2581 .C36 2004  3 volumes
Volume 1: Origins to 1660
Volume 2: 1660-1895
Volume 3: Since 1985
A contextual survey; each section contains timelines juxtaposing theatre events with political and social events.

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The Columbia Encyclopedia of Modern Drama. Cody, Gabrielle H. and Evert Sprinchorn, eds. New York: Columbia University Press, 2007.
HUNT FA-REF-4 PN1861 . C65 2007 2 volumes
Scholarly critical essays on individuals, plays, and types of drama from 1860 to present; cites first production of plays; emphasis placed on cultural context of dramatic works and their authors; appendices include synoptic outline of contents, directory of contributors. Bibliographies. Extensive index.


Critical Survey of Drama : English Language Series.
Magill, Frank N.   Englewood Cliffs, N.J. : Salem Press, 1985. HUNT REF-1 PR623 .C75 1985 6 volumes. Volume 6 is an index to playwrights covered
Biographical summaries; critical essays examine representative plays and identify themes and characteristics employed by English language dramatists.

Critical Survey of Drama : Foreign Language Series. Englewood Cliffs, N.J. : Salem Press, 1986. Magill, Frank N.
HUNT REF-1 PN1625 .C74 1986. 6 volumes with 1987 supplement
Biographical summaries; critical essays examine representative plays and identify themes and characteristics employed by more than 170 non-English speaking dramatists.
Volume 6 is an index to playwrights covered

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A Directory of Shakespeare in Performance.
O'Connor, John and Katharine Goodland.
New York : Palgrave Macmillan, 2007.
HUNT-FA-REF-4  PR3100 .O36 2007; 2011.
Full production data and review excerpts on selected individual productions. VOL 1. Great Britain 1970-2005; VOL. 2 Canada and U.S. 1970-2005;  VOL.3  Canada and U.S. Since 1990.

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The Encyclopedia of the Musical Theatre
Ganzl, Kurt. York: NY: Schirmer Books, 2001.
HUNT-FA-REF-4 ML102 .M88 G3 2001. 3 volumes


Encyclopedia of the New York Stage.
Leiter, Samuel L. Westport CN, London: Greenwood Press, 1985, 1992.
HUNT FA-REF-4 PN2277 .N5 L365  3 volumes
Volume 1: 1920-1930
Volume 2: 1920-1930
Volume 3:1940-1950
Critical commentary, calendar of productions, play categories (by subject), awards, sources of plays...


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International Dictionary of Theatre.
Hawkins-Dady, Mark, ed., Leanda Shrimpton, picture ed.
Chicago and London: St. James Press, 1992.
HUNT FA-REF-4 PN2035 .I49 1992
Volume 1 Plays
Detailed information about play publication and production. Includes date of first production, translations and bibliography;critical summary of each play.
Volume 2 Playwrights
Detailed information on life and work; critical summary; bibliography
Volume 3 Actors, Directors and Designers
Detailed information on life and work, critical summary; bibiliography.


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International Encyclopedia of Dance

Cohen, Selma Jeanne.
HUNT FA-REF-4 GV1585 .I586 1998 6 volumes
Also online (without images) as Oxford Reference International Encyclopedia of Dance

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Looking at Shakespeare : a Visual History of Twentieth-Century Performance.
Kennedy, Dennis.  Cambridge [England] ; New York : Cambridge University Press, 2001 2nd ed
A stage history with bibliography, selected black and white images of performances.  
HUNT FA-REF-4 PR3100 .K46 2001

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Off Broadway Musicals, 1910-2007 :casts, credits, songs, critical reception and performance data...
Dietz, Dan. Jefferson, N.C. : McFarland & Co., 2010.
HUNT-FA-REF-4 ML1711.8 .N3 D54 2010


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McGraw-Hill Encyclopedia of World Drama.
New York: McGraw Hill, 1984.
HUNT FA-REF-4 PN1625 .M3 1984. 5 volumes
Scholarly with great illustrations, but becoming dated. Best to use this with more recent sources.

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The New York Times Book of Broadway : on the aisle for the unforgettable plays of the last century. Brantley, Ben. New York : St. Martin's Press, 2001
HUNT FA-REF-4 PN2277 .N5 N45 2001

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Oxford Encyclopedia of American Literature. New York: Oxford University Press.
HUNT REF-1 (Reference - Hunt 1st floor) PS21 .E537 2004. 4 volumes


The Oxford Encyclopedia of Theatre & Performance.
Kennedy, Dennis, ed. Oxford University Press, 2003.
HUNT FA-REF-4 PN2035 .O94 2003 2 volumes in print.
Online via Oxford Reference Online

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Routledge Drama Anthology and Sourcebook: From Modernism to Contemporary Performance.
Gale, Maggie B.and John F. Dewey, eds. London ; New York: Routledge, 2010.
HUNT FA-REF-4  PN6112 .R68 2010.
Selective anthology of plays and criticism in 5 sections.
Each section contains an intro and a timeline for theatre, social cultural and political context with extensive bibliography. Naturalism and Symbolism: Early Modernist Practice (late 19th century)  ; The Historical Avant-Garde: Performance Innovation (early 20th century);Early Political Theatres (1st half 20th century); Ideology and Performance; The Performance of Ideology (from 1945); Contemporary Performance/The Contemporaneity of Practice (1960s-present).

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The World Encyclopedia of Contemporary Theatre. Rubin, Don, ed.  London ; New York : Routledge, 1994. Vol 1: Europe  Vol 2: The Americas  Vol. 3. Africa  Vol. 4 The Arab World (North Africa and the Middle East)  Vol. 5. Asia/Pacific  Vol. 6 Bibliography and Cumulative Index.
FA-REF-4 PN1861 .W67 1994 5 volumes

Critical Sourcebooks

Harold Bloom critical series of sourcebooks examples:

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Bloom's Modern Critical Interpretations
Death of a Salesman


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Bloom's Modern Critical Views
Arthur Miller


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Bloom's Major Literary Characters
Willy Loman

Drama Online Modern Theatre Guides: Context and Criticism

Includes information on plays, playwrights analysis, production history, further reading, timelines, critical companions, more.  The list is rather short, but if your play, playwright or topic focus is included this will be useful for basic information.


Theses and Dissertations

Proquest Dissertations and Theses Global
Dissertations and theses from around the world, from 1861 to the present, with full text for most added since 1997.

Dissertations and Theses @ Carnegie Mellon
1920-present. Full text of some dissertations may be available rom 1997-present.

American Doctoral Dissertations, 1933-1955
100,000 dissertations from 1933 through 1955 accepted by U.S. universities during that period of time.

Online "Quick" Reference

Production Image Collections

New York Theatre, 1919-1961
26,000 photographs from the Vandamm Collection in the New York Public Library.

HUNT MICROFICHE-3 792 N532 (Hunt Library, 3rd floor)


Vandamm Theatrical Photographs 1900-1957

Open access digital images of much of the Vandamm Collection via New York Public Library.



Historical resources/databases

Literature Resource Center
Literature Resource Center database

History Research Guide  and  Newspapers Guide (Sue Collins, History Librarian)

Example reference works from the History Research Guide:

  • Layman, Richard, ed. American Decades. Detroit: Gale Research, c1994-c1995.
    Covers 1900-1999!
    Example: HUNT REF-1 E169.12 .A419 1994 1940-1949 would be good to examine for Death of a Salesman.

  • Lewis, Thomas T. The Forties in America. 3 vols. Pasadena, Calif.: Salem Press, c2011.
    HUNT REF-1 E169.12 .F676 2011

 University of Pittsburgh
Curtis Theatre Collection


Go to the Timelines page in this guide to find out about historical timelines in print and online

Open Access Web

Open Access Web Sites

IBDB: Internet Broadway Database

Playbill Vault cover for the 1949 production of Death of a Salesman