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Theater: A Guide to Library Resources: Biographical Sources

This guide highlights online and print resources available at Olin and Uris Libraries.

Biographical Sources

African American Dramatists: An A-Z Guide edited by Emmanuel S. Nelson. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 2004. Olin Ref PS338 N4 A69 2004
"This reference offers thorough critical assessments of more than 60 African American dramatists from the 19th century to the present. Included are alphabetically arranged entries on such playwrights as Ira Aldridge, James Baldwin, Arna Bontemps, Ed Bullins, Zora Neale Hurston, Willis Richardson, and Richard Wright. Each entry is written by an expert contributor and provides a biography, a discussion of major works and themes, a survey of the dramatist's critical reception, and primary and secondary bibliographies. The volume closes with a selected, general bibliography."
Contemporary Black American Playwrights and their Plays: a Biographical Directory and Dramatic Index, Bernard L. Peterson, Jr. New York: Greenwood Press, c1988. Olin and Africana Reference PS153 N5 P48
Lists over 700 black Americans who have written for the theater, film, television, and radio from 1950 to the present. Includes brief biographical data and an annotated list of plays.
Contemporary Dramatists. London: St. James Press. 6th ed., 1999. Olin Ref PR106 C76 6th. ed 1999 (older editions in stacks)
Provides biographical and bibliographic information, as well as brief critical essays, on 433 English-language dramatists, all of whom were alive at the time of its publication. Most are from North America and the British Isles.
Contemporary Gay American Poets and Playwrights: an A-to-Z Guide, edited by Emmanuel S. Nelson. Westport, CT : Greenwood Press, 2003. Olin Ref PS325 C656 2003
Alphabetically arranged entries present 62 contemporary gay American poets and dramatists. Each entry is written by an expert contributor and includes a biography, a discussion of major works and themes, an overview of the author's critical reception, and primary and secondary bibliographies. (abridged publisher description)
Contemporary Jewish-American Dramatists and Poets: a Bio-critical Sourcebook, edited by Joel Shatzky and Michael Taub. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1999. Olin Ref PS153 J4 C68x 1999
Includes alphabetically arranged entries for more than 70 contemporary Jewish-American dramatists and poets. Each includes a brief biography, a discussion of major works and themes, an overview of the critical reception of the author's writings, and a bibliography of primary and secondary sources. The first part of the book includes entries for dramatists, and the second covers poets. Each part is introduced by a short overview essay, and the volume closes with selected, general bibliographies. (abridged publisher description)
Contemporary Theatre, Film, and Television. Detroit: Gale, 1984- . Olin PN 2285 C76+; last volume received (2009) in Reference
A biographical guide covering American and British performers, directors, writers, producers, designers, managers, choreographers, technicians, composers, executives, dancers, and critics. Each entry provides personal, career, and sidelight information. Appropriate writings and awards are listed. There are currently more than 25 volumes. The latest volume -- has a cumulative index.
Dictionary of Literary Biography.
Contains essays outlining the lives and careers of authors from all eras and genres, and summarizes the critical response to their work. Text corresponds to printed version (Uris Library Reference PS 129 D55) but online version lacks the visual material (photos, mss. page facsimiles, etc.) that appear in print. Part of the Literature Resource Center.
Famous Actors and Actresses on the American Stage, William C. Young. New York: R. R. Bowker Co., [1975] 2 vols. Olin Ref PN2285 Y78+
Alphabetically arranged entries provide biographical information and excerpts from primary sources and review for American stage performers, emphasizing those living in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Illustrated with photographs and portraits.
Gay & Lesbian Theatrical Legacy: a Biographical Dictionary of Major Figures in American Stage History in the Pre-Stonewall Era, edited by Billy J. Harbin, Kim Marra, and Robert A. Schanke. Ann Arbor : University of Michigan Press, c2005. Olin Ref PN 2286.5 G38 2005
"collects in a single volume biographies of more than one hundred notable figures whose careers flourished in the years before the 1969 Stonewall Riots marked the beginning of the gay and lesbian civil rights movement in the United States...The Gay and Lesbian Theatrical Legacy collects biographies and portraits of influential actors, playwrights, composers, directors, designers, dancers, producers, managers, critics, choreographers, and technicians who made their mark on the American theater." [publisher]
Notable Women in the American Theatre: a Biographical Dictionary, edited by Alice M. Robinson, Vera Mowry Roberts, and Milly S. Barranger. New York: Greenwood Press, 1989. Olin Ref PN2285 N65x 1989
300 alphabetical articles provide biographical information on women in American theater, including actors, directors, designers, choreographers, playwrights, critics, and agents. Each entry contains a selected bibliography. Includes indexes by birthplace and profession.
Stage Deaths: a Biographical Guide to International Theatrical Obituaries, 1850 to 1990, compiled by George B. Bryan. New York: Greenwood Press, 1991. Olin Ref Z5781 S76x 1991
Provides basic biographical data for, and references to the obituaries (in The Era, The Stage, The Clipper, New York Dramatic Mirror, Variety, London Times, New York Times, and others) of major and minor theatrical personnel who died between 1850 and 1990. International in scope.
Theatrical Designers: an International Biographical Dictionary edited by Thomas J. Mikotowicz. New York: Greenwood, 1992. Olin Ref PN2096 A1 T37
One-volume, alphabetically arranged collection of signed, brief biographies of important figures in the history of theatrical design. Includes an historical overview of the subject, a chronological list of designers, and a selected bibliography.
Theatrical Directors: a Biographical Dictionary edited by John W. Frick & Stephen M. Vallillo. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1994. Olin Ref PN2205 T37
Contains biographical sketches of over 300 individuals. It includes both contemporary directors and those who are no longer working. Emphasis is on artists who have international reputations, especially those whose work has had an impact on American theatre. Each entry profiles the director's life and assesses the significance of his or her accomplishments, provides a list of productions not mentioned in the narrative, and includes a bibliography. The work also includes appendixes, providing a selected bibliography, and indexes of names and plays.
Who’s Who in Contemporary World Theatre, edited by Daniel Meyer-Dinkgräfe. New York : Routledge, 2000. Olin stacks PN2035 W485x 2000
Contains 1,400 brief biographical entries on theater artists -- actors, directors, designers, dramatists -- from 68 countries. Excludes those primarily working in dance and opera.