Searching for opening-night and present-day reviews can be involved, but can ultimately prove very rewarding. This section includes a number of different sources and indexes. Depending when the musical you are researching was written you may need to consult a variety of print or electronic resources to find what you are looking for. Different types of musical theater are treated differently by different sources, so when resesarching any given show you may need to consult a variety of electronic and print resources.
The Historic New York Times (1851-2001) offers full page and article images with searchable full text back to the first issue. The collection includes digital reproductions providing access to every page from every available issue.
This is perhaps the ultimate source in tracing the history of any Broadway musical: from that first notice, annoucing production, to the final one, announcing closing. Along the way there will be articles describing casting, the reception garned by out-town-try outs, opening-night reviews, and so much more.
Over the years Sunday’s Arts & Leisure section has been a unique forum, detailing the on-going development of American culture and musical theater’s role in that.
The Historic Los Angeles Times (1851-2001) offers full page and article images with searchable full text back to the first issue. The collection includes digital reproductions providing access to every page from every available issue. Probably not as valuable a resource as the one above, coverage of the Broadway scene here has always been minimally adequate.
The real reason to consult this periodical in researching Broadway musicals is that almost all the touring companies of the major musicals ultimately came to Los Angeles. The Historic Los Angeles Times is one of the best sources in tracking down reviews of such productions.
In addition, because the paper has always enjoyed a special relationship with the film industry this is a rich source in tracing any show that began on Broadway and ended up on the Silver Screen.
LEXIS-NEXIS Academic Universe is the best source for those seeking contemporary newspaper articles about musical theater in general and individual shows in particular. Lexis-Nexis provides full-text access to smaller regional and town papers as well as major metropolitan newspapers. Lexis-Nexis also provides access to many newspapers published within the U.K.- a good source for researchers seeking information about musical theater in London’s West End.
For a complete list of periodicals available in full text, see http://cisweb.lexis-nexis.com/marketsource/productTitles.asp
The Readers Guide to Periodical Literature is one of the oldest periodical indexes, and for certain periods in American Music and Theater, in particular the early twentieth century, it remains the best source of article and review citations.
The Wilson Readers’ Guide Retrospective Top lists references to articles published in selected American periodicals between 1890 and 1982. Indexed periodicals include both scholarly journals and general interest magazines. The real value of this resource is that this is the only one that indexes periodicals published between 1892 and the end of World War I, 1918.
The more current Readers Guide can also be useful in finding articles or reviews of a specific musical. Readers’ Guide Abstracts indexes articles published in more than 270 popular North American magazines including the New York Times (late New York edition) and the New York Times Magazine.
Holdings: 1983- (indexing); 1984- (abstracting).