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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Finding Performance Reviews: Online

A guide to locating performance reviews online and in print.

Getting Started

This guide will walk you through the process of finding performance reviews both online (see the rest of this page) and in print (see the next tab above). Make sure to check out both the database recommendations and the search tips!

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 as that will inform where you should look.

Do you need a review from a particular city's newspaper? Do you need reviews for a contemporary performance or a historical performance?

  • If you don't know what city the performance took place in or would like to look at a wide mix of reviews, start with one of the databases below.
  • If you know the particular newspaper you need, use the Library Catalog Journal Search to search for individual newspaper titles.
  • If you are specifically looking for historical reviews, consult the History, Philosophy, and Newspaper Library (HPNL) guide on Finding Historical Digitized Newspapers or start searching in one of the historical reviews databases recommended in the box below.

Database Recommendations

These tools are more useful when looking for contemporary reviews. Most databases allow you to limit results by time period, which can be helpful if you know the date range of the review you're looking for.

These resources are especially useful if you're looking for reviews written at the time of a historical performance. Use the filters in a database's advanced search to set the date range of reviews to get the time period you're looking for.

Database Search Tips

Below you'll find some search tips that you can use to narrow your results and search more efficiently.

  • Use whatever information you already know in your search. Include elements like:
    • Piece or work title
    • Composer, playwright, choreographer, or performer
    • Critic's name
  • Use quotation marks and use AND between each element (for example: "The Children's Hour" AND "Lillian Hellman")
    • The quotation marks allow you to search for a phrase or title in the exact order you specified
    • Using AND limits the results to articles containing both phrases
  • Look for options in whatever database you are searching to limit your search. Limiters will usually be options you can select in the advanced search or along the left-hand side of the screen once you have already performed a search. You can limit your search to:
    • a particular time period if you need reviews of a premiere or specific performance
    • particular newspaper/publication
    • to just "Reviews" as an item type

Music & Performing Arts Library

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Music and Performing Arts Library
Contact:
1300 Music Building
1114 W. Nevada St.
Urbana, IL 61801
217.333.1173
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Subjects: Dance, Music, Theatre