Guides for Musicals, Plays, Operas & Operettas

Read expert-written show guides with context, plot, characters and video examples.

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The Merchant of Venice

In the melting pot of Venice, currency opens many doors. A multicultural metropolis, Venice welcomes its arms to all – so long as they come prepared for the brutality of the business of trade. Young Bassanio wants to take a gamble for brilliant Portia, the wealthy heiress of Belmont. He is wil... read more

Arsenic and Old Lace

Mortimer Brewster is living a happy life: he has a steady job at a prominent New York newspaper, he’s just become engaged, and he gets to visit his sweet spinster aunts to announce the engagement. Mortimer always knew that his family had a bit of a mad gene -- his brother believes himself to be T... read more

Julius Caesar

Based on true events in Roman history, Julius Caesar tells the story of the powerful ruler brought down by the betrayal of those he held dear. Julius Caesar has just emerged victorious in a series of Roman civil wars and has become extremely popular with the populous. A fellow general, Cassius, o... read more

Twelve Angry Men (or Twelve Angry Women or Twelve Angry Jurors)

On a hot summer day after a long trial, a jury must decide whether a 19-year-old man is guilty of murdering his father. The jury votes 11-1 that the man is guilty of the crime, but laws in the United States require a unanimous vote by all 12 jurors in order to pass judgment. Tempers flare as the... read more

Amadeus

The play explores the rivalry between Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Antonio Salieri, the court composer for the Emperor of Austria in the late eighteenth century. Jealous of Mozart’s genius and resentful of his own mediocrity, the composer Antonio Salieri secretly rejects God and vows to destroy hi... read more

Proof

Catherine has inherited her late father’s mathematical brilliance, but she is haunted by the fear that she might also share his debilitating mental illness. She has spent years caring for her now-deceased father, and upon his death, she feels left alone to pick up the pieces of her life without... read more

The Comedy of Errors

In Shakespeare’s shortest play and one of his most farcical comedies, we see the problem that arises when one loses their identity. The story follows two sets of twins, separated at birth: The Antipholuses and their servants the Dromios . Antipholus of Syracuse and Dromio of Syracuse are on a jo... read more

Anastasia

Marcelle Maurette's play is based on the legend about the sole-surviving daughter of Russia's last Czar. In Berlin in 1926, a suicidal amnesia victim is chosen by Russian expatriates to impersonate Anastasia, the last surviving member of the Romanov dynasty, heiress to the Russian throne. As such... read more

Doubt: A Parable

“What do you do when you’re not sure?” So asks Father Flynn, the progressive and beloved priest at the St. Nicholas Church School in the Bronx, in his sermon. It’s 1964, and things are changing, to the chagrin of rigid principal Sister Aloysius. However, when an unconscionable accusation is level... read more

Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

Inspired by August Strindberg’s Dance of Death, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? chronicles a long night’s journey into dawn with George and Martha, arguably the most singularly vicious married couple in the history of the American theater. In the first act , they careen home at two o’clock in th... read more