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Theatre Arts

Tracing Production Histories

Production histories help scholars learn about the genesis and reception of a dramatic work. Whether researching Guys and Dolls or 'night, Mother, the following types of information can help today's students of theater understand the works of the past:


Graph showing weekly grosses for A Streecar Named Desire in the 2012-2013 season


Chart from the Internet Broadway Database.

How long did a show run? How many performances? What was the average cost per ticket, and how much did the show gross at the box office per week? Such information can support an argument about the popularity (or unpopularity) of a production. This level of detail can be very hard to trace, and is most readily available for Broadway productions. 


Two black and white photographs of actors in a scene


Images from review in Theatre Magazine.

Critical reviews are a long-standing tradition for theatrical performances. A critic's review often discusses the production's unique interpretation of a work, the success of the actors, and may include details about scenery. Sometimes, reviews are even accompanied by photographs. Reviews are typically found in resources such as newspapers and periodicals.

Interviews and Biographies

Scan of an interview with Ethel Barrymore


Interview from Theatre Magazine.

In other words, a view behind-the-scenes. Newspapers and trade magazines may interview key members of the production team, cast, crew, or the director. Key players in the production may have biographies or autobiographies which discuss their take on a work. Such material can give additional insight into the production which is not accessible from outside sources.

Broadway Productions

Recent Productions

20th Century Productions

International Productions

Theatre Interviews and Biographies

Interviews can often be found in the same newspaper and periodical resources listed above. They may also be found in these trade publications, which focus specifically on the world of the theatre.

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