Guides for Musicals, Plays, Operas & Operettas

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

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Billy Elliot

Billy Elliot tells the story of a young boy from a coal mining village in northeast England who transcends class and circumstance to become a ballet star. The musical is set against the backdrop of the 1984-5 miners strike, which tragically affects the whole village. Billy is looked after by his... read more

Hello, Dolly!

Jerry Herman’s energetic Hello, Dolly is a musical filled with charisma and with heart. Matchmaker Dolly Levi is a widow, a matchmaker, and also a professional meddler --but everything changes when she decides that the next match she needs to make is to find someone for herself. Set in New York... read more

The Diary of Anne Frank

The Diary of Anne Frank is one of the most famous and haunting stories to emerge from the 20th Century. The memoirs of this young Jewish girl, forced to hide for nearly two years to escape Nazi persecution, are an essential part of how we remember one of the darkest periods of our human history.... read more

Company

On the night of his 35th birthday, Robert struggles to think of a wish to make as he blows out his birthday candles. The lone bachelor, surrounded by “those good and crazy people” -- his married friends -- Robert is uncertain whether he should simply be happy with his lot or whether he should wis... read more

Fun Home

The Tony Award-winning musical Fun Home traces the coming-of-age of lesbian author Alison Bechdel, from her youth, to her years at Oberlin College, and finally to the present, where Alison, now grown, is struggling to write her own graphic autobiography. As Alison reflects on her past, she strugg... read more

A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder

On the night of his mother’s funeral, middle-class Englishman Monty Navarro learns an incredible secret: he is the “son of the daughter of the grandson of nephew of the second Earl of Highhurst.” In other words, Monty Navarro is an aristocrat -- if he can only find a way to prevent the eight earl... read more

The Wiz: The Super Soul Musical “Wonderful Wizard of Oz”

The Wiz: The Super Soul Musical “Wonderful Wizard of Oz” is a glorious musical retelling of Frank Baum’s “Wonderful Wizard of Oz” set in the context of African-American culture. With an infectious funky soul score and lyrics by Charlie Smalls, The Wiz brought renewed relevance to a timeless class... read more

Something Rotten

Welcome to the Renaissance, where the Black Plague has ceded power to the Puritans, farthingales and codpieces are the latest fashion trend, and the biggest celebrity in England is a playwright named William Shakespeare. In the midst of all this excitement, brothers Nick and Nigel Bottom are tryi... read more

Hair

Hair tells the story of Vietnam-era youths awkwardly but exuberantly creating their own rite of passage through the confusion around them. Among them are Claude and Berger; a pair of friends battling against Claude's draft notice, and Sheila, who is in love with both of them, but her politically-... read more

A Streetcar Named Desire

Explosive, passionate, and heartrending, A Streetcar Named Desire is modern American theatre at its best. When fading Southern belle Blanche DuBois arrives on the doorstep of her sister Stella’s apartment building in New Orleans, she is unwittingly entering a lion’s den. Wounded by romantic abuse... read more