THEATER 25: The Drama of American Cultures

Finding Play Reviews

Reviews and criticism are not synonymous. Reviews generally appear in newspapers and magazines, are written shortly after a play is first performed, and are usually written by journalists; they analyze the play from an entertainment or artistic perspective. You may be able to find reviews for your play in the following sources:

  • International Bibliography of Theatre and Dance with Full Text
    Online version of the Theatre Research Data Center's International Bibliography of Theatre. Includes full text of more than 100 journals and over 100 reference books on performance, and indexing of academic journals, magazines, newspapers, dissertations, and monographs from over 125 countries.

    To find reviews: Enter the title of the play in the first search box. Scroll down to "Limit Your Results." In the "Document Type" box, select "Entertainment Review". Click "Search."


  • International Index to Performing Arts (IIPA)
    Indexes over 200 scholarly and popular performing arts periodicals, documents, biographical profiles, conference papers, obituaries, interviews, discographies, and reviews.

    Click the "Search Articles" link to search by play title, or play title and playwright name if the play title is a common word (e.g., august wilson fences). Enter your search words in the "Keyword" box.
    After you search, you can limit your search to theater reviews by choosing "Document Type" from the "Filter Results By" sidebar on your search results page. Choose "Theater Review" from the list of available document types.


  • Academic Search Complete
    A multidisciplinary index to articles in more than 10,900 journals and other publications in English, Spanish, German, French, Italian and Portuguese; full-text is available for over 5300 journals.

    Enter the title of the play in the first search box. Scroll down to "Limit Your Results." In the "Document Type" box, select "Entertainment Review." Click "Search."


  • LexisNexis Academic
    Includes over 6,000 individual titles of international, national and local newspapers and wire services; radio and television transcripts; and business, medical, industry, and legislative magazines, journals, and newsletters. Wide geographic coverage and translations from foreign-language sources, as well as news services like the Associated Press, Agence France Press, El Pais and Xinhua (New China) News Agency.


  • Historical Newspapers (ProQuest)
    Indexes articles from Chicago Defender (1905-1975), Chicago Tribune (1849-1986), Los Angeles Times (1881-1986), New York Times (1851-2004), San Francisco Chronicle (1865-1922), Wall Street Journal (1889-1990), and Washington Post (1877-1991).

Finding Play Criticism

Criticism of a play may be written months or years after a play's first production. In general, criticism is more scholarly than a play review; critical analysis attempts to place the play into a larger historical, social, or theoretical framework. Critical articles are usually longer than reviews, and contain extensive bibliographies. Criticism is usually published in scholarly journals or books, and is written by scholars who are experts in performance studies, literary and cultural studies, or other specialized fields.

Where's the PDF?

Many article databases contain information about articles (citations or abstracts), not the entire text of the article.  Once you've used an article database to find articles on your topic, you may need to use uc-elinks button in order to locate and read the full text of the article. The UC-eLinks button appears in nearly all the databases available from the UCB Library website.

UC-eLinks will link you to the online full text of an article if UCB has paid for online access; otherwise, UC-eLinks will help you locate a print copy on the shelf in the library. If UCB doesn't own the article in print or online format, UC-eLinks can also help you order a copy from another library.

For more information, watch this video tutorial (about 4 min.)

You can also set up UC-eLinks to work with Google Scholar.  For more information, watch this brief demo (about 40 seconds.)

Last Update: January 25, 2012 12:21