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 play 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 plays are treated differently by different sources, so when resesarching any given theatrical work 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 play: 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 rather minimal.
The real reason to consult this periodical in researching Broadway musicals is that almost all the touring companies of the major Broadway plays 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 newspaper 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.
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.
Readers' Guide Retrospective: 1890-1982
"...provides indexing of over three million articles from more than 550 leading magazines, including full coverage of the original print volumes of Readers' Guide to Periodical Literature."
"...includes indexing of over 450 periodicals back to 1983 and searchable full text of articles journals as far back as 1994."