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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Musical Theatre

How to Find Performance Reviews

The best source for finding reviews of concerts, dance performances, or plays is newspapers.

Before starting your search, it's important to consider the context of the review you're looking for: Do you need a review from a particular city's newspaper? Do you need reviews for a contemporary performance or a historical one?

The specific context of the review you're trying to find informs where you should look.

  • If you don't know what city the performance was in or would like to look at a wide mix of reviews, start with one of the general periodical or performance periodical databases listed below to find reviews from many newspapers.
  • If you know the particular newspaper you need, use the Library Catalog Journal Search for individual newspaper titles, like the New York Times.
  • If you are specifically looking for historical reviews, ProQuest Historical Newspapers is a great database to start with.

2. If you know the particular newspaper you need, use the Library Catalog Journal Search for individual newspaper titles, like the New York Times (see the slideshow below for how to do this).

3. If you need historic reviews, start with ProQuest Historical Newspapers

Some tips that work in most, if not all, of the online search tools

  • Use whatever information you already know in your search. Include elements like
    • Piece/work title
    • Composer/playwright/choreographer, or performer
    • Critic's name
  • Use quotation marks and use AND between each element, such as: "The Children's Hour" AND "Lillian Hellman"

    The quotation marks let the database know that you need those words to appear together and in that order and the AND limits the results to articles containing both phrases.

  • Look for options in whatever tool you are searching to limit your search (often in the advanced search, if there is one) to:
    • a particular time period if you need reviews of a premiere, for example
    • particular newspaper/publication
    • to just "Reviews" as an item type

Criticism Resources (Print)

Criticism Resources Online

More Help

For more help, see our guide Finding Reviews: Musical Theatre