Newspapers and other review sources
The resources listed below are a selection of options where you might find theatrical reviews. Reviews can also often be found in book collections and journal articles and you will need to be creative in your searching.
Tip on where to start
If you're searching for reviews of productions in New York City start with The Historical New York Times, if you are looking for productions in the UK or even bigger productions in France start with The Times Digital.
Important things to keep in mind when searching newspapers:
- Look carefully at their descriptions to help you identify coverage date ranges.
- When searching in the databases it helps to specify date ranges, especially if you are searching a historical newspaper. So for example if you are looking for a review of a specific play in the Historical New York Times, you should limit the date range to the year in which the play opened to ensure you get useful articles rather than every article related to that play that has been published in the over 200 years of records they have available.
- When searching historical newspapers be aware of the language you are using. The algorithms search for words in the newspaper, rather than concepts, so using modern terminology for something from the 1800s may not work.
Provides access to scholarly journals, dissertations, working papers, key business and economics periodicals, and country- and industry-focused reports.
The Internet Theater Magazine of Reviews, Features, Annotated Listings.
Ethnic NewsWatch (ProQuest)
Offers access to the full text of articles from newspapers, magazines, and journals of the ethnic, minority, and native press. While most of the content is in English, some content in non-English languages is included. Coverage for most newspapers and magazines goes back to the early 1990s, but earlier content is also available.
Lexis Nexis Academic Limitations on Use
Now Nexis Uni. Provides full text access to national and international newspaper and magazine articles and news transcripts, business, company, and industry information in the U.S. and abroad, and legal documents, including U.S. Federal and State court cases, and law reviews. Coverage varies.
LexisNexis online services and the materials contained therein are under copyright by LexisNexis. All rights reserved. No part of these Services may be used except for research purposes, and the Services may not be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise without the prior written permission of the LexisNexis Academic Library Solutions. Materials retrieved from the Services may not be duplicated in hard copy or machine-readable form without the prior written authorization of LexisNexis Academic & Library Solutions, except that limited reproduction of output is permitted solely for individual use by the Authorized User or internal distribution within the Subscribing Institution in accordance with the terms of this Agreement unless further limited or prohibited by the Copyright Act of 1976. Under no circumstances may the Materials or any portion thereof be used to create derivative products or services.
New York Times (NYTimes.com) Access Instructions
Offers access to all sections of the NYTimes.com website without monthly limits. Coverage from 1851 to present, with limited availability of articles from 1923-1980.
Subscription courtesy of the Provost's Office and Falvey Memorial Library.
Philadelphia Inquirer, 1981- (NewsBank)
Provides full text access to articles published since 1981. Does not include ads, calendar listings, horoscopes, sports statistics, stock tables, weather forecasts, and puzzles.
Provides access to the major 19th century African American newspapers including The Christian Recorder (1861-1902), Freedom's Journal (1827-1829), The North Star (1847-1851), and Frederick Douglass' Paper (1851-1863).
America's Historical Newspapers (Readex)
Includes full text of selected early American newspapers published between 1690 and 1922. Villanova University has access to series 1 through 5 and 7.
Black Historical Newspapers (ProQuest) Tutorial
Offers access to the major African American newspapers of the 20th century: the Atlanta Daily World (1931-2003), the Baltimore Afro-American (1893-1988), the Cleveland Call & Post (1934-1991), the Chicago Defender (1910-1975), the Los Angeles Sentinel (1934-2005), the New York Amsterdam News (1922-1993), the Norfolk Journal & Guide (1921-2003), the Philadelphia Tribune (1912-2001), and the Pittsburgh Courier (1911-2002).
British Periodicals (ProQuest)
Provides access to British periodicals published from the 17th through the early 20th century with the majority of content from the 19th century. Covers a broad range of topics.
Burney Collection Newspapers, 17th-18th Century (Gale)
Features the newspapers and news pamphlets gathered by the Reverend Charles Burney (1757-1817), representing the largest single collection of 17th and 18th century English news media.
Civil War Newspaper Collection (Penn State University Libraries)
Hathi Trust Digital Library
Provides full text access to digital copies of books, pamphlets, and journals available in the public domain. Most of the freely available texts are pre-1923 imprints and government documents. Also allows full-text searching of millions of publications that are still under copyright in order to aid discovery of relevant materials. The Hathi Trust collection largely mirrors content available through Google Books, but only the latter platform permits the exports of public domain content.
Irish Times (ProQuest Historical Newspapers)
Presents a complete archive of the Irish Times back to 1859 (except for the most recent two years) and the Weekly Irish Times (1876-1958).
LGBT Magazine Archive (ProQuest)
Provides full text access to the most influential LGBT+ news resources including The Advocate (full coverage from its inception in 1967), The Pink Paper, Just for Us, The Albatross, and the notable UK publications Gay News and Gay Times.
LGBT Thought and Culture (Alexander Street Press)
Provides coverage of the essential works and archival documents of the global LGBTQ+ movement. Coverage is from the late 19th century to the present and includes archival content in the form of text, letters, speeches, interviews, and ephemera.
New York Times: 1851- (ProQuest Historical Newspapers)
Provides full text access to the complete New York Times archive except for the most current three years. Use Nexis Uni or ABI/INFORM for access to current content.
Nineteenth Century UK Periodicals (Gale)
Features digital access to a selection of 19th century British magazines on women, children, leisure and sport, humor, anthropology, travel, missionaries, and colonies.
Pennsylvania Gazette: 1728-1800 (Accessible Archives)
Full-text transcription and digitized image of the actual newspaper page as it originally appeared.
Pennsylvania Newspaper Record: Delaware County (Accessible Archives)
Offers full text access to a small collection of 19th century Delaware County newspapers.
Philadelphia Inquirer, 1860-2009 (ProQuest Historical Newspapers)
Provides full text access to the complete Philadelphia Inquirer archive up to 2009: the Philadelphia Inquirer (1860-1934), the Philadelphia Inquirer Public Ledger (1934-1969), and the Philadelphia Inquirer (1969-2009). Use Philadelphia Inquirer (NewsBank) for access to current content.
Times (London) Digital Archive, 1785-2012 (Gale)
Provides a fully searchable facsimile of the Times of London from its inception through about five years ago. The Times is the world's oldest daily newspaper in continuous publication.
The Virginia Gazette was published weekly in Williamsburg from 1736-1780. The news covered all Virginia and included some information for other colonies, Scotland, England etc. Not all the issues survived, and some have surfaced since they were first reproduced on microfilm in the mid-twentieth century that is the basis for the digital version.