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Finding Theater Reviews

sources for finding play reviews

Finding Reviews in Magazines and Newspapers

Newspapers- Searchable Full Text  

The New York Times is an important source for reviews of play productions in the U.S., and occasionally abroad.

New York Times Historical (1855-2008)

New York Times (2004-current)

These databases are preferable to Lexis-Nexis because they contain PDFs of the articles as they appeared in the paper, complete with photographs.

When searching for production reviews, enter play title and/or director's name in the first search field.  Then, for the second search field, select "Document Type" from the drop down menu, then click "Look up document types" and choose "Review."  This allows you to see the citations for reviews, without all of the ads and listings.

London Times 

Lexis-Nexis (1985-present)

Times Digital Archive (1785-2008)

To omit advertisements and announcements from your search, mark the Features box.

Other Newspapers and Magazines 

Chicago Tribune (1989-current) / (1849-1989)

Los Angeles Times (1985-current) / (1881-1989)


Lexis-Nexis contains the full-text of many contemporary magazines and newspapers in the US and abroad. Coverage dates vary, but generally begin in the late 1980s or early 1990s.  Choose the "News" category and "Theater Reviews" and then select publication categories according to your needs.  For instance, select "News" and the relevant Article Location if you're focusing on regional productions.

Proquest News and Newspapers

Searchable full-text of all of the Proquest news databases, including Ethnic Newswatch, Gannett Newsstand, historical newspapers, etc.  See the dropdown list of databases on the search page for a full listing of the cross-searched resources.

Ethnic NewsWatch (1960-current)

Full-text of newspapers of the U.S. ethnic and minority press in both English and Spanish.

GenderWatch (1998-current)

Contains full-text of magazines, newspapers and some scholarly journals that focus on gender, women's culture and issues, and GLBT culture and issues.

Alternative PressWatch (1970-current)

Alternative Press Index and Archive (1969-1990)

Full-text newspapers, magazines and journals of the alternative and independent press.


Indexes to Magazines, Newspapers and Journals


Readers Guide (1983-current) and Readers' Guide Retrospective (1890-1992)

Indexes articles from the most popular general-interest periodicals published in the United States. Some of these magazines are held in print by the Vassar Library.

British Humanities Index (1962-current)

Indexes arts and humanities journals and magazines published in the UK and other English speaking countries, as well as selected newspapers published in the UK. 

There are several print indexes that can help you find production records for plays, and in some cases provide citations for reviews in other publications:

New York Theatre Critics' Reviews Ref PN 2000 .N76
Theatre Reviews is a complete guide and record of the New York stage, reprinted from New York Sun, New York Times, New York Herald Tribune, New York Post, New York Daily News, New York World Telegram, New York Daily News, Wall Street Journal, Time, New York Post, Women's Wear Daily, New York Times, Christian Science Monitor, and Newsweek.
American Theatre Ref PN 2277 .N5
These chronologically arranged volumes put plays into the context of the theater of their time.
A Guide to Critical Reviews Ref PN 2266 .S24
The first volume of this series lists press reviews of major American productions that took place between 1909 and 1982.