This is a guide to reference material on American musical theater in the Music Library of the University of the Arts. If you have questions about this guide or about library materials on musical theater contact the UArts Music Librarian.



Ganzl, Kurt. The Encyclopedia of Musical Theatre. 2nd ed. New York: Schirmer Books, 2001. 3 vols.
Focuses on composers, lyricists, performers, and directors of the staged book musical (no vaudeville, revues, or films) ca. 1840-1990s, in the chief centers of Britain, France, Austria, Hungary, the United States, and Australia. Brief performance histories are included under show titles; plot summaries are provided for widely performed works. Works lists follow major composer entries. Biographies of early performers offer much information published for the first time.
REF ML102 .M88G3 2001

Hischak, Thomas. Stage it with Music: An Encyclopedic Guide to the American Musical Theatre. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1993.
Basic information on about 300 shows as well as brief entries for designers, producers, directors, choreographers, lyricists, and composers. Perhaps best consulted for the brief essays on subjects and genres ("Concept musicals", "Music directors").
REF ML102 .M88H57 1993

Hitchcock, H. Wiley and Stanley Sadie, eds. The New Grove Dictionary of American Music. London: Macmillan, 1986. 4 vols.
Over 10 years old, this is still, by far, the most important resource of its kind. An encyclopedia (terms, musicians, institutions, festivals, archives), not merely a dictionary, despite the title, with some 900 contributors. Entries include bibliographies. The article "Musical Theater" by Andrew Lamb should not be missed.
REF ML101 .U58N4 1986

Kilgarriff, Michael. Grace, Beauty, and Banjos. London: Oberon Books, 1999.
Biographical dictionary of British music hall performers ca. 1850-1950.
REF ML102 .M88K5 1999

Slide, Anthony. The Encyclopedia of Vaudeville. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1994.
Primarily in the nineteenth- and twentieth-century sense of music-hall and variety-show entertainment, including musical comedy acts. A field not well covered otherwise in the literature.
REF ML102 .M88S4 1994


Bloom, Ken. American Song: The Complete Musical Theatre Companion. 2nd ed. New York: Schirmer Books, 1996. 2 vols.
Casts, song titles, opening dates and other data for 4,800 American musicals produced between 1877 and 1995. The main body of the work is an alphabetical list by show title. Includes indexes to the more-than-70,000 songs and 27,000 personalities listed there.
REF ML128 .M78B5 1996

Bloom, Ken. Hollywood Song: The Complete Film and Musical Companion. New York: Facts On File, 1995. 3 vols
Compilation of basic information for almost 7,000 films, including relevant song titles and song-writing credits. Indexes as in previous item.
REF ML128 .M7B6 1995

Ganzl, Kurt. The Blackwell Guide to Musical Theatre on Record. Oxford: Blackwell Reference, 1990.
Musical theater (as defined by Ganzl) since the beginning of the long-play era, ca. 1950. Chapters, more-or-less chronologically organized, provide a recordings history of major works and conclude with a discography.
REF ML156.9 .G36 1990

Hall, Brian. The Performer's Guide to Theater Songs. 3rd ed. Scottsdale, Ariz.: Rovey Research, 1996. 2 vols.
Unique in that musical theater songs are described and indexed according to practical criteria: voice and character type, techniques and performing styles. Includes recommendations for study and audition preparation.
REF ML128 .M78H3 1996

Kilgarriff, Michael. Sing Us One of the Old sSongs: A Guide to Popular Song, 1860-1920. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998.
Though focused on the British music hall tradition, this work registers the ever-increasing popularity of American popular songs in England. Indexes some 6,000 song titles under more than 1,750 composers and lyricists. See especially p. 594-605 for songs incorporated into revues, vaudeville shows, and Broadway musicals.
REF ML128 .P63K5 1998

Krasker, Tommy and Robert Kimball. Catalog of the American Musical. [Washington, D.C.]: National Institute for Opera and Musical Theater, 1988.
Primary bibliographic documentation for the vintage American book musicals of Berlin, Gershwin, Porter, and Rodgers.
REF ML128 .M78K7 1988

Lax, Roger and Frederick Smith. The Great Song Thesaurus. New York: Oxford University Press, 1989.
Good first stop for establishing basic information on popular songs through alphabetical, chronological, and keyword lists. Indexes about 10,000 songs, and indicates theater origins and performers when applicable.
REF ML128 .S3L38 1989

Lewine, Richard and Alfred Simon. Songs of the Theater. New York: Wilson, 1984.
In two parts: a list of 17,000 songs from the American theater, followed by a list of stage productions by show title.
REF ML128 .S3L48 1984

Raymond, Jack. Show Music on Record: The First 100 Years. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1992.
Systematic discography of songs from American musicals ca. 1890-1990, commercially issued on analog discs. Indexed by performers, song titles, and disc manufacturers' numbers.
REF ML156.4 .O61R4 1992


Bordman, Gerald. American Musical Theatre: A Chronicle. 3rd ed. New York: Oxford University Press, 2001.
A chronological history, unprecedented in its detail, of the American tradition. Each season is clearly marked within the broader chapter arrangement.
REF ML1711 .B67 2001

Green, Stanley [rev. Elaine Smith]. Hollywood Musicals Year by Year. 2nd ed. Milwaukee: Hal Leonard, 1999.
Newly updated and including animated film musicals. Composer, cast, director, and studio indexes.
REF ML2075 .M86G7 1999

Henderson, Amy and Dwight Blocker Bowers. Red, Hot, and Blue: A Smithsonian Salute to the American Musical. Washington, D.C.: The National Portrait Gallery and The National Museum of American History, 1996.
An illustrated cultural history published to accompany an exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery. May be used in tandem with a like-named set of compact discs issued for the same occasion.
REF ML141 .W3N37 1996

Suskin, Steven. Opening Night on Broadway ... [1943-1964]. New York: Schirmer Books, 1990; and More Opening Nights on Broadway ... [1965-1981]. New York: Schirmer Books, 1997.
Chronological reception history of musicals premiered in New York City.
REF ML1711.8 .N3S93 1990 / .N3S94 1997

Suskin, Steven. Show Tunes: The Songs, Shows, and Careers of Broadway's Major Composers. 3rd ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000.
Arranged alphabetically by composer, a historical commentary that can be used in conjunction with the critical quotations in the Opening Nights books.
REF ML390 .S87S5 2000

Wilder, Alec. American Popular Song: The Great Innovators, 1900-1950. New York: Oxford University Press, 1972.
A quarter-century old, this thoughtful if selective survey, written by a contributor to the tradition, has never been superseded. Sensitive discussion of stylistic matters. If you want to know what makes a great song great (or a weak song weak), this is where the subject is musically tackled.
REF ML3477 .W5A6 1972


Lucha-Burns, Carol. Musical Notes: A Practical Guide to Staffing and Staging Standards of the American Musical Theatre. New York: Greenwood Press, 1986.
Alphabetical arrangement by show title. Contains synopses and production notes (casting, lighting, staging) as well as instrumentation requirements of the score-&-part sets available from rental agencies.
REF MT955 .L83M8 1986

Lynch, Richard. Musicals! A Complete Selection Guide for Local Productions.Chicago: American Library Association, 1994.
Listing about 500 "musical properties" whose production rights are controlled through accessible agencies (does not include works that require private negotiations with copyright owners). Indicates licensing agent for each show and whether piano-vocal score/selections volume has ever been published.
REF ML19 .L9 1994


Of a number of relevant periodicals, three are of primary interest:

The Kurt Weill Newsletter. Semiannual. New York: Kurt Weill Foundation for Music, 1983-
ML410 .W422K8

Show Music. Quarterly. East Haddam: Goodspeed Opera House Foundation, 1985-
ML1699 .S56

The Sondheim Review. Quarterly. Chicago: The Review, 1994-
ML410 .S698S6

A note on periodical indexes:

The periodical literature on musical theater is distributed among theater and general-interest as well as music publications. For the former, consult general indexes in the Greenfield Library. For music periodicals, there exist three publishers' cumulations:

--Répertoire Internationale de Littérature Musicale, or RILM.
Abstracts, indexes most formats (books, conference reports, theses, as well as periodicals), though emphasizes coverage of scholarly publications. Has the advantage of providing content abstracts in addition to citations. The print edition, available in Music Library, begins coverage with 1967. Consult quinquennial (5-year) index volumes when available.
REF ML1 .I83 (located on central REF shelves)

--The Music Index has expanded its coverage over the years to include most English and major foreign-language jazz periodicals; has included Down Beat and Metronome from its inception. For the print edition, published since 1949 and available in the Music Library, each volume must be consulted separately. All authors, subjects, and titles in a single alphabetical listing. Also indexes reviews.
REF ML118 .M987M8 (located on central REF shelves)

--International Index to Music Periodicals, or IIMP, is a recent undertaking that is published on CD-ROM and on the Web. For the present its usefulness lies in its being the most up-to-date index, but its coverage is gradually extending chronologically backwards and it promises full text access to articles in the future. The Music Library subscribes to the CD-ROM edition.

For a recommended view of the publishing situation in this field, read Kathleen Abromeit's review of Music Index and IIMP CD-ROMs in Notes 53 (1996-97): 1215-1220.

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