Guides for Musicals, Plays, Operas & Operettas

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

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Assassins

In this darkly humorous musical review, Stephen Sondheim and John Weidman depict nine misfit men and women who attempted to assassinate American Presidents. While every nation has its assassins and would-be assassins, only in America, the authors suggest, do disturbed and disturbing individua... read more

bare: A Pop Opera

A pulsating, electric contemporary rock musical, bare follows a group of students at a Catholic boarding school as they grapple with issues of sexuality, identity, and the future. Peter and Jason have fallen in love with each other, but Jason -- a popular athlete -- fears losing his status if he... read more

The Color Purple

Based upon Alice Walker’s acclaimed novel of the same name, The Color Purple is the epic tale of 40-years in the life of a family in rural Georgia. At its center is fourteen-year-old Celie. When Celie is forced by her abusive father to marry a cruel farmer, called “Mister,” she is separated fro... read more

Sweet Charity

Charity Valentine is the eternal optimist. While working at the seedy Fan-Dango Ballroom, she is often exploited by men, and has been strung along in a series of bad relationships. Nonetheless, she always holds out hope -- and she seems to have finally met a decent fellow in Oscar. Concerned tha... read more

Wild Party

Based on Joseph Moncure March’s 1928 poem of the same name, Andrew Lippa’s The Wild Party tells the story of a vaudeville dancer named Queenie and a vaudeville clown named Burrs--her passionate and violent lover. Queenie is fed up with the life she lives and the pain Burrs puts her through, so sh... read more

Brigadoon

When New Yorkers Tommy Albright and Jeff Douglas get lost on a vacation in the Scottish Highlands, they stumble into Brigadoon. Brigadoon is a mythical village that, they learn, appears for a single day once every hundred years. At first, Tommy and Jeff are mystified by the villagers’ 18th cent... read more

Honk!

Based on Hans Christian Andersen's beloved story, "The Ugly Duckling," Honk tells the story of an odd-looking baby duck, Ugly, and his quest to find his mother. Soon after Ugly is born, he is seduced away by a wily Cat who wants to eat Ugly for dinner. Eventually, Ugly manages to escape, but has... read more

Side Show

Based on the true story of conjoined twins and famed entertainers Violet and Daisy Hilton, Side Show is a remarkable musical about acceptance, love, and embracing one’s uniqueness. As the starring act of a sideshow, helmed by an abusive ringmaster, Violet and Daisy Hilton are eager to accept an o... read more

King Lear

The aging King Lear resolves to turn his kingdom over to his three daughters – once each tells him how much she loves him. This test of eloquence yields consequences Lear little expects when the favored Cordelia says nothing. Lear disowns her, leaving himself vulnerable to the whims of his two... read more

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