Guides for Musicals, Plays, Operas & Operettas

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

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The Cripple of Inishmaan

On the island of Inishmaan, off the coast of Ireland, there is not that much to do. A young man named Billy, who is physically handicapped, wants to leave, as everyone there, even his aunts Kate and Eileen, calls him “Cripple Billy.” A Hollywood film crew shows up on the island, and Billy sees hi... read more

A Delicate Balance

Middle-aged, upper-class, and delicately-balanced couple Agnes and Tobias maintain a financially comfortable but emotionally uncomfortable existence in their suburban empty nest, along with their permanent houseguest, Agnes’ alcoholic sister, Claire. When their neighbors and self-professed best f... read more

Endgame

The plays revolves around Hamm, an aged master, who is blind and can't stand up, and his servant Clov, who can't sit down. They exist in a tiny house by the sea, although the dialogue suggests that there is no exterior to the house beyond stage left -- no sea, no sun, no clouds. The two character... read more

Equivocation

In 1605, Robert Cecil, prime minister to King James I of England, commissions William Shagspeare to write a play about the recent Gunpowder Plot -- an attempt to blow up the king and his court. The king simply requests that "Shag" add some flattering dialogue -- and witches -- to the plot. Dur... read more

The Graduate

Benjamin Braddock is a confused young man. Having spent four years achieving a brilliant scholastic record, upon graduation he finds himself adrift, uncertain about his future, disconnected from his purpose, and increasingly alienated from the upper-class, suburban, “plastic” world of his parents... read more

Gruesome Playground Injuries

It’s not your typical love story: Doug and Kayleen meet at the nurse’s office in their elementary school; she’s got a painful stomach ache, and he’s all banged up from a running dive off the roof of the school. Over the next thirty years, these scar-crossed lovers meet again and again, brought to... read more

The Motherf**ker With the Hat

Jackie, a former drug dealer, has just been released from prison and is living with his high school sweetheart, Veronica. Jackie is enrolled in the AA program and is drug free with the help of his sponsor, Ralph D. When Jackie comes home having finally snagged a job, he and his libido are ready t... read more

Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead

Prince Hamlet of Denmark sets out to avenge his father’s murder, all the while trying desperately to keep his sanity in one piece. That’s all very well for Hamlet — but how does the prince’s erratic behavior appear to casual bystanders not clued in on Hamlet’s schemes? In Rosencrantz and Guildens... read more

Sister Mary Ignatius Explains It All For You

Sister Mary Ignatius has happily been teaching children about the glories of Catholicism and the perils of sin and hellfire for years at her church. She directly addresses the audience, lecturing its members on her strict beliefs Sister Mary’s lecture takes a dark turn when four of her former pu... read more

The Yeomen of the Guard

The Yeomen of the Guard, or The Merryman and His Maid is Gilbert and Sullivan’s sparkling comic opera set in Shakespearean times during the reign of King Henry VIII. It is the darkest and most emotionally engaging of the Savoy Operas. The show takes place in the Tower of London where the gentlema... read more