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As you read the secondary sources on your play, keep an eye out for any mention they make of important or controversial productions. These might be worth following up on. Take notes on date, location (city and house), and the director and major actors. Also note if they say why the production was significant.
"Stage History" Subject Search in Primo - Depending on how deeply you want to dig you could search for your author along with this subject heading. This will not bring up reviews but more analysis, but it could point you toward particular productions.
Especially for recent productions, Google can be a powerful and easy place to locate reviews. Here are some tips to make these searches more effective.
- Rather than searching broadly, search with a known production in mind, and include the company/house, director or major actor as one of your keywords.
- Narrow your results to the year that the show was produced.
- Don't pick just any review! Look for reviews by major newspapers or significant theatre blogs and websites.
- Find a review that's locked behind a paywall? Talk to Jessica, the library can likely order it for you!
America’s News (Newsbank) This link opens in a new window
This is our larges US newspaper database, so it can be helpful to search this directly for productions outside of New York and Chicago. Again, include keywords and a date range for the particular production you are interested in learning about.
Primo - This engine can be a good place to start because it indexes a lot of the library's newspaper and magazine full-text collections. Always narrow down to your date range to the year of the production you are looking for and consider adding a keyword for the director, major actor, or house.
- In Primo Newspapers are searched separately through Newspaper Search About 50% of the articles you find here are not available at Hope, but you will be offered an InterLibrary Loan link if you would like to request any of these. You can also try Googling the title to see if there is a free copy archived somewhere.
International Bibliography of Theatre and Dance
IBTD indexes and in many cases provides full text to many of the major review sources for theatrical productions. Searching here for your play will automatically eliminate many of the smaller productions you are less interested in.
To just see production reviews, structure your search in this way:
Skim the results for the names of notable houses, directors, and/or actors. Once you have identified a production you are interested in, conduct a new keyword search for just that production and limit it to reviews.
Looking for reviews of British productions? If you spot a citation for your play production in the Theatre Record, this is worth placing an InterLibrary Loan request for because this will give you several reviews for the same production at once.
Other Databases for Locating Productions
There are several other databases that can be used to locate productions. Many of them focus on a particular type of play or production location.
Internet Broadway Database
This is the "official database for Broadway theatre information." A search by play will bring up the work's production history on Broadway.
This database indexes Off-Broadway New York productions back to 1958 (with some notable productions indexed from earlier decades).
Wikipiedia articles on plays sometimes provide a production history.
Strategic Primo Search
The link brings you to a search for "Reviews" in just the New York Times and the Theatre Journal. Replace "Antigone" with the name of your play and hit search. This is not an exhaustive search of all production reviews in Primo, just a way to narrow down and spot some that got reviews in a couple of major sources.
Archive of Performance of Greek and Roman Drama Production Database
Fairly exhaustive list of productions dating back to the 15th century. Limit the date range to the more recent era and scan for well-known houses.
World Shakespeare Bibliography This link opens in a new window
Includes an exhaustive listing of productions of Shakespeare's plays beginning mid-20th century. Under Advanced Search limit "Document Type" to Production and Select the Tag for your play. To view a browsable list, save all on page for several pages and then "Print/download" the list. Includes bibliography of reviews for each production.