Sources for theater reviews

This guide covers tools you can use to find reviews of a particular performance of a play. For help locating criticism of the text of a play, see Locating Literary Criticism (guide) or Literature Research Tools (list of sources).

Before you begin searching for reviews, it's helpful to have an idea of when a play was first performed and if you want reviews of only recent performances or older performances. Years of coverage are included in the descriptions of each tool listed below.

American Drama Criticism
Coverage: 1890-1977, 1987-1990 (Supplement III), 1990-1993 (Supplement IV)
Location: Ref PS 332 .E33 1979a
Indexes reviews as well as criticism of American plays.

Allows you to search across many library databases simultaneously (including the Library Catalog).
To find theater reviews, perform a keyword search for the title of a play and the phrase theater reviews, e.g. "heidi chronicles" and theater reviews

Guide to Critical Reviews
Part I: American Drama, 1909-1982
Part II: The Musical, 1909-1989
Part III: Foreign Drama, 1909-1977
Location: Ref PN2266 .S35
Index of theater reviews from American and Canadian magazines and the New York Times.

London Stage
Coverage: 1890-1959
Location: Ref PN2596 .L6 W37
Daily listing of plays on the London stage. Entries include references to reviews.

New York Theatre Critics' Reviews
Coverage: 1940-50, 1952-53, 1986-94 (Ask at Desk for issues prior to 1986).
Location: Skillman 808.2 .N53
Reprints of reviews from a variety of publications, including New York daily newspapers, Variety, and The Village Voice. Each volume contains a year-end index.

New York Times Directory of the Theater
Coverage: 1920-1970
Location: Ref PN2277 .N5 N49 1973x
Index of New York Times theater reviews. For reviews before 1920 and from 1970-1980, use the New York Times backfile; for reviews after 1980, use LexisNexis Academic.

Opening Night on Broadway
More Opening Nights on Broadway
Coverage: 1943-1981
Location: Ref ML1711.8 .N3 O64 1990; Ref ML1711.8 .N3 M8 1997
Reprints excerpts of reviews of Broadway musicals.

Readers' Guide Retrospective
Coverage: 1890-1982
Index of popular U.S. magazines. Headings for theater reviews vary. Try "drama," "theater," or the last name of a playwright.

Selected Theatre Criticism
Coverage: 1900-1919
Location: Ref PN2277 .N5 S44 1985
Reprints reviews of plays presented on the New York stage.

World Shakespeare Bibliography
Coverage: 1972-present
Searchable bibliography with annotated entries for books, articles, reviews, and other materials related to Shakespeare. To find reviews of Shakespearean plays, select the "Browse" option, click on the "+" before the title of the play you are interested in to reveal subheadings, and then click on the "?" next to the subheading "Stage productions." Select a production from the resulting list. If the production was reviewed, a reference to the review(s) will be provided in the resulting information.