Guides for Musicals, Plays, Operas & Operettas

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

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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

Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

Inspired by August Strindberg’s Dance of Death, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? chronicles a long night’s journey into dawn with George and Martha, arguably the most singularly vicious married couple in the history of the American theater. In the first act , they careen home at two o’clock in th... read more

Angels in America, Part One: Millenium Approaches

Angels in America is Tony Kushner’s two-part, seven-hour epic, which he describes as “A Gay Fantasia on National Themes.” In the first part, we meet Louis and Prior and Harper and Joe, two couples whose relationships are on the rocks: the former because of Prior’s AIDS diagnosis and Louis’s inabi... read more

Sunset Boulevard

Both haunting and desperately sad, Sunset Boulevard revolves around the former star of the silent screen era, Norma Desmond. Aging and largely forgotten for years, she lives in her dilapidated mansion in Hollywood with her butler and chauffeur, Max. Lost in her memories, she is stirred into actio... read more

The Normal Heart

A powerful, stirring drama based on the harrowing true story of the beginning of the AIDS crisis in New York City, and the gay men who fought with an entire political system to take their plight seriously. Based on playwright Larry Kramer’s own experiences founding the Gay Men’s Health Crisis in... read more

Blood Brothers

Set in Britain, Willy Russell's Blood Brothers tells the story of fraternal twins who are separated at birth. One brother is raised in a family of great privilege and one brother is raised in poverty. Even with their different socioeconomic backgrounds, the two boys end up becoming best friends -... read more

Fences

The sixth Play in August Wilson’s Pittsburgh Cycle, Fences takes place in 1957 in what is assumed to be Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The play follows Troy Maxson, a 53-year-old man who struggles to provide for his wife and son in a time when slavery is over but the civil rights movement has still no... read more

The Elephant Man

The script is based upon the life of Joseph Merrick, a man so physically deformed that he became known as the “Elephant Man.” With very few options open to him, Merrick is forced to display himself to the public in travelling sideshows. Eventually, however, he finds himself alone and destitute i... read more

Barnum

Barnum tells the story of the Prince of Humbug, Phineas Taylor Barnum. Over the objections of his wife, Charity, Barnum attempts to create a show in which the main attractions are freaks of society. Included in this mix of characters includes the oldest women alive, Joice Heth, the smallest man i... read more

Frankenstein

A reinterpretation of the classic story by Mary Shelley. Dr. Victor Frankenstein creates a monster after becoming fascinated with the decay of life. He runs away when the monster is created, and the monster slowly becomes fearful of humans after multiple encounters. He becomes self aware and t... read more