Musical Theatre & Film Research Guide

Compiled by John Kenrick

(Copyright 2011)

Here are some useful resources for anyone doing theatre and film-related research. Some are web based, and some deliciously analog -- but all of them are blessings.

If you know of any resources that should be added to this list, please send an e-mail and let us know.

Your "Secret" Goldmine

Whenever you are doing any kind of research, get friendly with your local librarians. That's right, walk up to one and ask for their help -- they don't bite. You may be amazed at what resources these underrated (and invariably underpaid) professionals can lead you to or access via inter-library loan. They are trained to know about resources we mere mortals have no awareness of. In particular, if your research involves vaudeville, local libraries will be among your richest potential resources for reviews and archival materials.

Reference Books

See our Reference Bibliography for some of the best books currently on the shelves. If you don't see these at your local library, ask about them -- they may be in hiding, or available via interlibrary loan.

Search Engines

Web-based Subject Directories

Theatre-Related Web Directories

Library Resources on the Web

Many public libraries now provide card holders with free access to a wide range of specialized internet resources – either from library terminals, or in many cases from your own home computer. (What wouldn't I have given for something like this back when I was a student!) There are also a variety of free library resources available to all web users, including --


Recordings, Scripts, Sheet Music

See our separate page covering searches for these items.


See our Variety links & suggested reading list for vaudeville-related resources.

Also see our special page with suggestions for researching vaudeville performers.

Publication and Patent Dates

Academic Citation of Web sources

Folks write in asking about this all the time. The MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers (4th Edition) gives the following format for citing web articles --

Author. "Article Title," Date of Publication, Date of Access.

Using this format, the citation for a typical quotation from Musicals101 would be --

Kenrick, John. "Stage Musicals 1900-1910," 1996-2003.

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