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

Titanic

April 10, 1912: the RMS Titanic sets out from London on her maiden voyage, across the Atlantic. Billed as “The Largest Floating Object in The World,” the Titanic is already big news. April 15, 1912: Titanic, the “unsinkable” ship, sinks, killing over 1500 men, women and children. In a stunning c... 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

To Kill a Mockingbird

It’s 1935, and racial tensions are high in Maycomb, Alabama. Nonetheless, young Jean Louise Finch -- or Scout, as she is fondly called -- manages to live a rather carefree, privileged existence, insulated from issues of race. All that changes when Scout watches her father, Atticus Finch, defend... 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

South Pacific

Set against the dramatic background of an idyllic South Pacific island during WWII, Rodgers and Hammerstein’s South Pacific intertwines the themes of romance, duty, and prejudice to create a story that is all at once hilarious, heartbreaking, and thought-provoking. Based on the anecdotes of a re... read more

The Secret Garden

Frances Hodgson Burnett’s beloved victorian classic, The Secret Garden, blossoms anew in this enchanting musical by Pulitzer Prize-winner Marsha Norman and Lucy Simon. When young Mary Lennox loses her parents to a cholera outbreak in India, she is sent to live with her uncle, hermit Archibald Cr... read more

Ragtime

Based on the novel of the same name by E.L. Doctrow, Ahren’s and Flaherty’s Ragtime is a compelling epic capturing the American experience at the turn of the 20th century. Tracking three diverse families in pursuit of the American dream in the volatile “melting pot” of turn-of-the-century New Yo... 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

Carousel

Richard Rodgers once wrote that of all the musicals he wrote, Carousel was his personal favorite. This iconic American classic features some of the most powerful music ever written for the stage, including “If I Loved You”, “Mister Snow”, “June is Bustin Out All Over” and the iconic “You’ll Neve... read more