Hischak, Thomas S. The
American Musical Film Song Encyclopedia.
See Dictionaries and Encyclopedias—Specialized Dictionaries and Encyclopedias
Use: Chronolgy and encyclopedia of Broadway Reviews.
Coverage: Broadway Revue’s and the surrounding culture from 1900-1945 when, according to the author, the grand era of Broadway revues ended.
Organization: Written in 13 chapters. Each covers a different era‚ of Broadway revue history. Each chapter reads like an extended encyclopedia article and includes many pictures. An appendix lists all major revues by date and includes performing, directing and author credits and the number of performances. Also includes an index.
Pros: Many pictures. Good to gain an overview knowledge of the subject.
Cons: Coverage in each chapter is not obvious. Finding information on a particular show or performer may be frustrating.
Use: A dictionary of artists, performers, composers, shows, and songs from the American Musical theater repertoire in standard dictionary format. Useful to historians, theater buffs, or the casual audience member.
Coverage: Data on over 4,800 American Musicals. Attempts to include all Broadway, off- Broadway, and off-off-Broadway productions 1877-1995. Also includes resident theater productions of shows by major artists, shows that closed out of town prior to Broadway, touring shows that never went to New York, selected night club shows, strait plays with original songs, Vaudeville and Burlesque shows, and English and French productions of shows by major American song writers.
Organization: Part 1 arranged alphabetically by show title and includes opening dates, theaters where performed, genre, composer, lyricist, librettist, director, etc. Part 2 includes indexes of 70,000 songs, 27,000 personnel, and a chronological listing of titles.
Pros: Clear and consistent typographical layout. Relatively current.
Cons: No publishing information.
Reviews: Glazier, Ed. Notes: Music Library Association, USA XLIII/2 (December 1986): 301-03; Southern, Eileen. The Black Perspective in Music, USA XIII/1 (Spring 1985): 124-26.
Use: Outline and encyclopedia of musical theatre history.
Coverage: Author claims it is a thorough [and] accurate history of the American Musical Theatre. Covers earliest known American musical down to the moment the printer required the last page of the typescript.
Organization: Begins with a general summary of musical theatre before 1866. After the book goes year by year outlining major productions, peoples and developments to the year 1991. Written in textbook prose with important titles or names in bold. An appendix lists and discusses in chronological order production that were overlooked as musicals‚ in the first edition. Includes 3 separate indexes: shows, songs and people.
Pros: Very large and thorough covering all the way back to the beginnings of American Musical Theatre.
Cons: Not convenient for finding specific information on particular show or person since it is easy to get bogged down in the prose. More fit to gain historical overviews of particular time periods.
Use: An anthology of librettos with editorial and historical annotations for further research.
Coverage: Thirteen operas covered: Trial by Jury; The Sorcerer; HMS Pinafore; Pirates of Penzance; Patience Iolanthe; Princess Ipa; The Mikado; Ruddigore. The Yeomen of the Guard; The Gonboliers; Utopia Limited; and The Grand Duke.
Organization: Chronological by earliest work to last (1875 – 1895). Annotations are on even pages; Librettos on odd pages.
Pros: Also contains a brief bibliography for further reading.
Use: Concise bibliography of works by and about Gilbert and Sullivan. Designed for the examination of productions outside their comic operas.
Coverage: Presents the entire span of Gilbert and Sullivan's joint career, as well as their separate careers. Includes a variety of course types such as biography, scores, dictionaries, etc.
Organization: Entries arranged by literary type into nine category chapters: Biography and History; Analysis and Criticism; Concordances, Handbooks, and Dictionaries; Production; Juvenile; Collected Librettos, Plays, and Poems; Musical Scores; Bibliography and Discography. Each entry contains complete bibliographic citation and descriptive commentary. A Chronology Chart, Title Index, and Name Index follow.
Pros: Annotations brief, yet sufficient.
Cons: Bibliography is representative only.
Use: To find sources where others have written synopses to any genre of musical production.
Coverage: Includes sources for synopses of operas, oprettas, musical comedies, ballets, oratorios, dramatic cantatas, minstrel shows and plays, and film and TV productions with music.
Contains 3 sections:
Sources Indexed: Any source that contains synopses to 3 or more programs is cited in the Titles section by a derived 2, 3 or 4 letter code. In the Sources Indexed section the codes are listed in alphabetical order giving the full citation for the source.
Titles: Contains a list of musical productions in alphabetical order by title and lists all known sources to synopses either by code or full citaiton.
Composers: Alphabetically lists composers and gives a list of their works included in the Titles section.
Pros: Tremendously vast coverage of any production that has music as a primary part of the work and includes a story line. Covers any genre from any time period. Coding system is very user friendly. Relatively up-to-date (1998) and includes internet sources.
Use: Encyclopedia and factbook for Broadway shows, librettists, lyricists and composers.
Coverage: Broadway shows from 1866-1970 in the popular musical theatre genre written by American composers which have either run for 500 or more performances or have other success or historical significance (over 500 shows are included). Also includes the writers of those shows.
Has 2 main sections:
Shows: Lists the shows alphabetically by title. Gives all billed credits, the length of the run and an encyclopedia style article on the production.
Artists: Lists librettist, lyricists and composers in alphabetical order. Includes an encyclopedia style article and cross-references to their shows and those they collaborated with.Two appedixes: Chronological list of the included shows and an alphabetical list of memorable songs with author and show title. Also includes an index.
Pros: Large selection of shows from all covered eras
Cons: Ends at 1970. Boring to the eye. Few pictures.
Use: Chronology and factbook of major Broadway plays.
Coverage: “Most memorable productions presented both on and off Broadway” from 1866-1989. Includes over 300 shows. Shows must have at least one of the following criteria: at least 500 performances, high profile people involved, uniqueness of production, high quality of score, or general acceptance as a significant work.
Organization: Each show is listed chronologically. Each entry includes all billed credits, songs in the show, theater, opening night, and number of performances. Also includes a short essay on the production and information on casts recording, published scripts and amateur production rights. The book has 7 separate indexes: show, composers and lyricists, directors, choreographer, major cast members, theaters and librettists.
Pros: Many photographs, easy to find specific information on a show.
Use: Chronology and encyclopedia of Broadway Musicals in the
Coverage: Broadway shows and culture of the 1930’s.
Organized into 10 chapters -- one for each year from 1930-1939. Each chapter
reads like a lengthy encyclopedia article and includes many pictures.Has 3
Cast and Credits of Broadway Musicals in the Thirties: Chrologically lists all Broadway shows in the 1930‚s. Gives all billed credits, musical numbers, theater and number of performances.
London Productions: Lists any London productions of American musicals and gives major associated names, theater and number of performances.
Film Versions: Lists film versions of American musicals and gives title, major associated names, studio and director.Also includes a bibliography, discography of cast recordings and an index.
Pros: Many photographs from the 1930’s.
Simas, Rick. The Musicals NoOne Came to See: A Guidebook to Four Decades of Musical Comedy Casualties on Broadway, Off-Broadway and in Out-of-Town Try-out. New York: Garland Publishing Inc., 1987. Mus Ref ML 128 .M78 S5 1987
Use: Guidebook on where to find information on obscure or unpublished musical plays.
Coverage: Plays from 1943-1983 which either ran less than 300 performances and/or are not liscensed through an agency.
Organization: Introduction: Lengthy introduction gives general information on use of book, where to find out of-print materials, and how to liscence a show.Main Entries: Contains three chapters: Broadway shows, shows that never opened, and Broadway shows that ran longer than 300 performances but are not available for amateur rights. In each chapter shows are listed alphabetically and includes the following: title, source of story, authors, producer, theater, number of performances, opening date, stars, cross-references to Theater World, Best Plays, magazine critics, New York Times review, New York Theater Critics review, information on published and manuscript materials and a contact for rights. Appendixes: Chronological list of plays. Index to titles. Index to source adaptations, Index to source authors, librettists, composers and lyricists.
Cons: Published in 1987. Addresses may be out of date.
Stubblebine, Donald J. Broadway Sheet Music: A Comprehensive Listing of Published Music from Broadway and Other Stage Shows, 1918 - 1993. Jefferson, North Carolina and London: McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers, 1996. Mus Ref ML 128 .M78 S78 1996
Use: Provides a history of songs, composers, lyricists, and publishers for the historian and makes Broadway songs published in any format more accessible to the musician.
Coverage: As stated in the preface, this book indexes all published songs (by any composer) from live musical stage productions on or off Broadway, 1918 through 1993.
Organization: Commences with a preface and a section on how to use the book. The most extensive section is an alphabetized listing of musical stage productions. Each entry contains the production title, production type, opening date, names of two leading performers, song titles and publisher information, composer, lyricist, comments (i.e. on the success or failure of the play) and descriptions on the covers of published songs from the play. Entries are concise, yet quite comprehensive. This section is followed by an appendix that lists collectors' groups, a bibliography, a lyricists and composers index and a song index.
Pros: Good indexes which cross-reference by entry number. Extensive coverage of stage productions includes nightclub productions, regional and college plays, touring army productions etc.
Use: Collection of opening night review excerpts for Broadway plays.
Coverage: Musicals on Broadway from 1965-1981. Productions of “minimal interest” are not included. Includes shows in 34 different theaters listed in the front. Only includes opening night reviews.
The book has 3 sections:
Overture: Provides practical information on using the book as well as general information on Broadway during 1965-1981.
The Musicals: Lists the musicals in alphabetical order. Includes all billed credits and the opening date. Contains 3-6 excerpts of reviews of opening night. Entries end with the number of performances, an indication on whether the show made money or not and a tally of 6 reviews‚ grade on the show (derived by the author on how complementary the review was).
Curtain Calls: Includes a list of shows that never opened with billed credits; author‚s review of the review tallies comparing them with his other book, Opening Nights on Broadway; chronological listing of all the shows with opening date, theater and indication on whether it made money or not; alphabetical list of prominent people in theatre with their position, birth and death dates, credits, and short essay of their career; and an alphabetical list of critics with birth and death dates, paper they wrote for short essay on career. Also includes an index.
Pros: Very user friendly in typography and organization to be able to quickly find the information sought for. Relatively up-to-date (1997).
Use: Bibliography on any aspect of musical theatre.
Coverage: Author attempts to collect any published writing on American style musical theatre in books or periodical from any where in the world (over 3600 books and periodicals).
Organization: The book is broken up into 5 chapters: General Reference, The Stage Musical, The Stage Musical Outside North America, The Film Musical, and People. Each chapter has many sub-headings. Lists sources with a short annotation. Appendix includes a list of periodicals included, an author index and a subject index.
Pros: Vast coverage without geographic, time period or format boundaries
Cons: Annotations often too brief or missing altogether.