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Theater of the Real: Finding Plays

How to find Plays written, compiled, or even improvised directly from ‘documentary’ sources.

New Plays!

Bobst Online Play Collections

These databases includes full text of plays, selected playbills, production photographs and other ephemera.

Online Plays via the Internet

Theater Review Resources in print

A Guide to Critical Reviews, by James M. Salem. New York, Scarecrow Press, 1966-71. 4 parts in 5 vols. NYU Bobst ; 1st Floor Reference Z5782 .S34
Contents: pt. 1. American drama from O'Neill to Albee.--pt. 2. The musical from Rodgers and Hart to Lerner and Loewe.--pt. 3. British & continental drama from Ibsen to Pinter.--pt. 4. The screenplay, from The jazz singer to Dr. Strangelove (2 v.)
                                       2nd edition. 1973-76. 
Contents: pt. 1. American drama, 1909-1969.--pt. 2. The musical, 1909-1974.--pt. 3. Foreign drama, 1909-1977
                                       3rd edition. 1984-1991. 
Contents: pt. 1. American drama, 1909-1982 -- pt. 2. The musical. 1909-1989.

New York Theatre Critics' Reviews. New York, Critics' Theatre Reviews, inc. 1940-1994.  NYU Bobst ; 1st Floor Reference PN1601 .N4
"Theatre reviews is a complete guide and record of the New York stage, reprinted from New York sun, New York times, New York herald tribune, New York post, New York daily news, New York world telegram" 1940- ; reprinted from the New York daily news, Wall Street journal, Time, New York post, Women's wear daily, New York times, Christian science monitor, Newsweek, NBC

Theatre Record (formerly London Theatre Record). 1991 - date.  NYU Bobst ; 1st Floor Reference ; PN2596.L6 L66 (Current issues in REF1 Desk)
Reprints published reviews of theatrical performances in London and elsewhere in the UK. Includes production credits and dates of performance. Review sources include The Spectator, The Daily Mail, Mail on Sunday, Independent, Time Out, Guardian, The Times and other UK publications. Annual Index.

New York Times Theater Reviews. New York Times and Arno, 1971- .  Bobst REF1 (PN1581 .N42n) YEARS:1971-1999/2000
Facsimile reprints of the reviews of theater productions as they appeared in the New York Times. Arranged chronologically, the set also includes appendices of awards and prizes and of productions and runs by season as well as indexes by title, production company, and personal name. The first 21 volumes cover the years 1870-1970. Since then volumes have been published biannually. [NOTE: these reviews can also be found online through Proquest Historical Newspapers]

Samples, Gordon. How to Locate Reviews of Plays and Films: a Bibliography of Criticism from the Beginnings to the Present. Metuchen, N.J.: Scarecrow Press, 1976. Offsite Available NYU Bobst ; Main Collection ; Z5781 .S19
Lists resources for finding theatrical reviews, including indexing services, theatre periodicals, reference guides, etc. Somewhat dated, but still useful for historical research.

Best Plays of....

Continuing a tradition that dates back to 1920, this beloved annual honors 10 new plays and musicals and three regional plays cited in the Harold and Mimi Steinberg New Play Awards and Citations competition. As always, The Best Plays Theater Yearbook includes a comprehensive collection of facts and figures about the year in United States theatre. The Best Plays of 2006-2007 where chosen from Broadway, Off Broadway, and Off Off Broadway productions of new plays

Monologues and Scenes

Most of our books of monologues have call numbers beginning with PN 2080 and are shelved on the 8th floor.  In BobCat There is no specific subject heading for scene books. you can perform a keyword search in the catalog for the term monologues. If you are looking for a particular type of monologue, try combining the word monologues with a descriptive keyword, such as: monologues and men, monologues and women, monologues and classical and monologues and contemporary, etc.

I'd recommend using the Play Index. It will restrict the play by gender, and number of people in the cast.


Finding Play Reviews Online

Use the following databases to connect you to play reviews.

Plays in Collections

There are several tools to help you discover the collection that includes an individual play. Examples include:

Play Review Web resources