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Last Updated: 31-Oct-2013

This guide is an introduction to research on Musicals or Musical Theater and may be used for PWR2: All That Jazz: The Rhetoric of American Musical Theater (Instructor Wendy Goldberg).

Subject Librarians

Music Bibliographer
(650) 725-1144
Ray Heigemeir, Music Library
Public Services Librarian for Music
(650) 384-9985

Search and Browse

Search in SearchWorks using combinations of title words, names of composers or librettists.

 Use the format filters, e.g. Music-Score (printed music), Sound Recordings, or Videos.

  • "Vocal Scores" contain all songs of a show, with piano accompaniment.
  • "Vocal Scores. Selections" contain only some of the songs, with piano accompaniment.

 Adding "libretto" to your search finds the text only of a show.


 Browse in the stacks:

M 1500 Orchestral Scores shelved by composer
M 1503 Vocal Scores shelved by composer
M 1508 Selections shelved by composer
ML 48-50 Librettos
ML 410 Composer Biographies
ML 420 Singer Biographies
ML 1711, ML 2054 Musicals (history and criticism)
ML 2075, PN 1995.9.M86 Film Musicals (history and criticism)
MT 956 Acting for Singers

General Sources



[Oxford, England] : Oxford University Press
Stanford University Libraries » Online resource » (no call number)

Includes 4 resources including The New Grove Dictionary. The Grove entry on Musicals provides a scholarly overview of the form by decade, naming all influential shows and personnel. Includes commentary on trends, source material, film adaptations, and the influence of technology.

Oxford ; New York : Oxford University Press, c2008.
Music Library » Reference (non-circulating) » ML102 .M88 H593 2008

Offers information on musicals, performers, composers, lyricists, producers, choreographers,etc. Includes lists of recommended recordings and further reading, a chronology of all the musicals described and a complete index of Tony Award and Academy Award winners.

2nd ed. New York : Schirmer Books, c2001.
Green Library » InfoCenter (non-circulating) » ML102 .M88 G3 2001 V.1

International in scope, includes the most successful, prolific and heard writers and composers in the countries surveyed, and the most successful, interesting, and widely-traveled shows.

New York : Oxford University Press, 1981.
Green Library » Stacks » PN1995.9 .M86 G7

Provides succinct information on the screen’s most prominent individuals, productions, and songs. Emphasis is on Hollywood productions.

Contains information on the most prominent people, productions, and songs of the musical theatre in New York including off-Broadway, and London. Covers late 19th century to the 1970s. Includes Awards and Prizes, a bibliography and discography.

2nd ed. New York : Routledge, 2011.
Music Library » Reference (non-circulating) » ML128 .M78 E84 2011

Compiles selected citations of significant books, and journal/ newspaper articles on all aspects of musicals, including individual shows and persons.

Jefferson, N.C. : McFarland & Co., c2006.
Music Library » Reference (non-circulating) » ML102 .M88 S74 2006

Factual information for Broadway shows in meticulous detail. Lists all personnel, including understudies, replacements, revival casts, etc., and information on inception, out-of-town tryouts and post-Broadway tours, revivals, and films. Appendix includes brief entries on pre-1943 (i.e., before Oklahoma) and off-Broadway shows of significance. Indexed by song title and personnel.


New York : Oxford University Press, 2002.
Music Library » Reference (non-circulating) » ML1711.8 .N3 N67 2002 V.1
7th ed. / Milwaukee, Wis. : Applause Theatre & Cinema Books, 2011.
Music Library » Reference (non-circulating) » ML1711 .G735 2011
4th ed. Oxford [England] ; New York : Oxford University Press, 2011.
Green Library » InfoCenter (non-circulating) » ML1711 .B67 2011
Year-to-year account of the musical theatre from its origins-2010, with indexes of shows, songs, and people.


Boston : Northeastern University Press, c1997.
Music Library » Stacks » ML1700 .G322 1997
International in scope, “pulls together all the main strands which go to make up the history of … ‘the musical.’”
New York : Schirmer Books ; London : Prentice Hall International, c1997.
Music Library » Stacks » ML1711 .F57 1997
Provides an overview of the ideas that help shape the American musical and traces its history via landmark productions.
1st ed. New York : Bulfinch Press, c2004.
Music Library » Stacks » ML1711.8 .N3 M37 2004F
Wonderfully illustrated.
2nd ed. Oxford ; New York : Oxford University Press, 2009.
Music Library » Stacks » ML1711.8 .N3 B56 2009
Highlights 14 musicals which “pose intriguing critical, analytical, aesthetic, and political issues as well as … engage the enthusiasm of the selector” A companion website provides plot summaries, a discography and filmography, and other related material.
2nd ed. Cambridge ; New York : Cambridge University Press, 2008.
Music Library » Stacks » ML2054 .C35 2008
Includes essays by prominent scholars which are intended to illuminate particular areas of the genre. See catalog citation for list of contents.
Lanham : Scarecrow Press, 2011.
Music Library » Stacks » ML1711.8 .N3 H57 2011
Takes a critical look at 381 Off-Broadway musicals. Arranged by decade. Discusses all major works.
Pbk. ed. New York : Continuum, 2010.
Stanford University Libraries » Online resource » (no call number)
Traces the way musical theatre's golden ages have taken it from place to place. Examines the artistic, business and social forces that helped forge new ideas and trends. Book is also available in paper edition.
1st ed. New York : W.W. Norton & Co., c2010.
Music Library » Stacks » ML1711.8 .N3 S73 2010
Showtime tells the story of the kind of show we now call the Broadway musical as it changes historically in form, style, content, context, purpose and meaning.
Oxford ; New York, NY : Oxford University Press, 2011.
Music Library » Stacks » ML2054 .W64 2011
Examines women in the Broadway musical and demonstrates their centrality. Asks "How have Broadway musicals contributed to a feminist performance history?"

Biographical Information

Rev. and expanded 4th ed. Oxford [U.K.] ; New York : Oxford University Press, 2010.
Music Library » Reference (non-circulating) » ML128 .M78 S86 2010

Entries for 40 composers from the early years to the 1970s and beyond; lists all published and recorded songs related to a given show. Indexed by song title, show title, and personnel.

Details the careers of selected composers and lyricists beginning in the 19th century with Victor Herbert and ending in the 1970s.

2nd ed. New York : Routledge, 2003.
Music Library » Reference (non-circulating) » ML400 .P233 2003 V.1

Covers performers successful as both singers and film stars in American-made movies. Articles survey the singers’ careers and includes filmographies, list of plays and radio and t.v. series they participated in, and a discography.


2nd ed., 1877-1995. New York : Schirmer Books ; London : Prentice Hall International, c1996.
Music Library » Reference (non-circulating) » ML128 .M78 B6 1996 V.1

Contains data on over 4800 American musicals including personnel and songs, with extensive indexes, and a chronological list of titles. All Broadway, off-Broadway, and off-off-Broadway productions from 1877-1995 are included, as well as other shows.

Westport, Conn. : Greenwood Press, 1995.
Music Library » Reference (non-circulating) » ML102.M88 H67 A5 1995

Strives to provide details of individual songs—what kind of song it is, what it is about, its purpose in the show, who originally sang it, its history, and why it may be unique. Includes an alphabetical list of musicals with their songs, and a bibliography.

Westport, Conn. : Greenwood Press, 1999.
Green Library » InfoCenter (non-circulating) » ML102 .M68 H57 1999

Includes only songs written for, and originally heard in movie musicals. Entries explain the place of the song in the film and who sang it, and any history about the song. Includes lists of movie songs from other sources, Oscar-nominated film musicals, and film musicals. Also includes a bibliography.

Lanham, Md. : Scarecrow Press, 2009.
Music Library » Reference (non-circulating) » ML128 .M78 D48 2009

Designed primarily for “the singing actor”. Lists songs with their vocal ranges; indexes solos, duets, trios and other ensembles.

Web Resources