Guides for Musicals, Plays, Operas & Operettas

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

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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 Light in the Piazza

Summer 1953: Margaret Johnson, an elegant and strong-willed Southern woman, has taken her daughter, Clara, on a vacation to Italy. When a gust of wind blows Clara’s hat right into the hands of a young Italian gentleman, neither age nor language nor familial disapproval can stop their whirlwind lo... 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

Tick, Tick... Boom!

Tick, Tick... Boom, an intimate, autobiographical pop/rock musical from the creator of Rent, tells the story of Jon, a struggling composer whose life seems to be going nowhere. About to turn 30 and still waiting tables for a living, Jon is desperately scared that he may never “make it” on Broadwa... read more

Follies

It is 1971, and the iconic Weismann Theater, now a crumbling shell of its former glory, is about to be demolished to provide precious New York City parking space. Broadway impresario Dimitri Weismann arranges a reunion of the actors, singers, dancers, and personalities who peopled his famous Foll... 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

Carmen

The Spanish gypsy Carmen lives only for sensuality and manages to seduce the naïve sergeant Don José with her wiles. His love for Carmen leads him to attack his superior officer, desert his military duties and abandon his childhood sweetheart. He then joins Carmen and her band of smugglers. Unf... read more