Suggested Reading and Links
Compiled by John Kenrick
- The Internet Broadway Database - The only current website providing serious information on Broadway theatres is this still-growing database created by the League of NY Theatre Owners and Producers.
Library for the Performing Arts - The Lincoln Center Branch of the NY Public Library has a massive collection of playbills, photos and other paper items, available to researchers free of charge.
Museum of the City of NY, Theatre Collection - With files on over 20,000 Broadway productions, this is one of the largest theatrical archives in the world. Programs, photos, scripts, costumes, posters, set models, costume designs and far more. So far, little is available on line, but the collection is accessible to qualified researchers for a nominal fee.
Bloom, Ken. Broadway: An Encyclopedic Guide to the History, People and Places of Times Square. New York: Facts On File, 1991. The first attempt to provide a detailed history of Times Square. Although a potentially useful reference source, its compromised by occasional inaccuracies.
Botto, Louis. At This Theatre: An Informal History of New York's Legitimate Theatres. New York: Dodd Mead and Co., 1984. An expanded version of the brief theatre histories published in Playbill, with hundreds of photos and tons of enjoyable trivia. An updated edition was published in 2002.
Brown, T. Allston. A History of the New York Stage: From the First Performance in 1732 to 1901. (3 volumes). New York: Benjamin Blom, Inc., 1903. Exhaustive research paid off in this detailed account of every major theatre and production in Manhattan before 1901.
Burrows, Edwin G. and Mike Wallace. Gotham: A History of New York City to 1898. New York: Oxford University Press, 1999. A magnificent one volume history that (for once!) gives substantial coverage to the role theatre played in the growth of the city.
Henderson, Mary C. The City and the Theatre: The History of New York Playhouses. New York: James T. White & Co., 1973. (2nd Edition: NY, Back Stage Books, 2004) Despite a number of errors (there is a sizable errata booklet), this remains the most important -- and most frequently quoted -- history of New York theatres. All is clarified in the handsomely revamped 2004 edition.
Henderson, Mary C. The New Amsterdam: The Biography of a Theatre. New York: Roundtable Press-Hyperion, 1997. A sumptuous history of a legendary Broadway venue the only book of its kind. Lovely to look at and a delight to read.
Hewitt, Barnard. Theatre U.S.A.: 1665 to 1957. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1959. Priceless collection of articles, essays and other source materials covering the American theatre.
Jackson, Henry T., editor. The Encyclopedia of New York City. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1995. Over 1300 extremely informative pages covering the history of New York, theatrical and otherwise. A priceless resource.
King, Moses. King's Handbook of New York City, 1892. New York: Barnes & Noble. The city's history covered in over 900 pages of rich detail, with many illustrations. The Barnes & Noble facsimile edition gives no republication date.
Morrison, William. Broadway Theatres: History and Architecture. Mineola, NY: Dover Publications, 1999. Hundreds of archival photos and highly informative text a must read for serious theatre lovers.
Nagler, A.M. A Source Book in Theatrical History. New York: Dover, 1952. More than 300 source documents covering world theatrical history.
Odell, George C.D. Annals of the New York Stage. New York: Columbia University Press, 1927-1941. This fifteen volume set is a goldmine to theatre researchers, with hard to find information on hundreds of productions.
Sante, Luc. Low Life: Lures and Snares of Old New York. New York: Farrar, Strauss, Giroux, 1991. An entertaining and engrossing look at lower class life in New York from the 1840s through World War I. One of the best books I know on the history of my hometown, it includes information on theatre and other forms of popular entertainment.
Silver, Nathan. Lost New York. New York: Weathervane Books, 1967. (Updated Edition - New York: Mariner Books, 2000.) This riveting look at New York's lost architectural treasures (including theatres) played a vital role in initiating public interest in landmark preservation. The updated edition includes more great photos.
Stubs - The Seating Plan Guide. New York: Meyer Schattner, Various editions, 1944-2002. This guide gives full seating charts to all major venues in the New York metropolitan area.
Traub, James. The Devil's Playground: A Century of Pleasure and Profit in Times Square. New York: Random House, 2004. A readable look at Times Square's reign as New York's cultural hub, with extensive coverage of recent changes.
Van Hoogstraten, Nicholas. Lost Broadway Theatres. New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 1991. Theatre buffs will revel in this lushly illustrated tribute to ninety of Broadway's demolished houses. A second updated edition (covering the restorations on 42nd Street) was published in 1997.