This guide provides a basic starting point to locate key resources for studying and researching musicals and musical theater at Princeton. It is overseen by Darwin Scott, Music Librarian and the PUL subject liaison to the Music Department and the programs in theater, dance, and music theater in the Lewis Center for the Arts, and maintained by Sara Hagenbuch, Public Services and Outreach Coordinator in the Mendel Music Library.
For almost all online searches, the spelling theater or theatre really matters and can drastically affect search results. Note these general guidelines of when to use one or the other.
• American practice (can be inconsistent):
Theater: standard spelling used in most U.S. academic writing and popular journalism about the discipline and productions, as well as the general term for the performance venue. Also the prescribed usage for subject descriptors in U.S.-based library catalogs and journal databases.
Theatre: spelling often found in titles of companies, institutes, performance houses, journals, and websites (e.g., Signature Theatre, Schubert Theatre, New York City Theatre—note, however, Anspacher Theater, American Repertory Theater, and many other exceptions; in publisher and distributor names (Applause Theatre, Theatre Communications Group); and in academic and arts-focused writing to express the collective art form (e.g., "the American theatre," "theatre arts," "theatre and performance studies").
• British & Canadian practice: theatre for all contexts (including titles of books issued jointly in the U.S. and the U.K., such as the Oxford and Cambridge university presses, and several others).
• Subject search in library catalog or database: use theater for all contexts (unless working in a Canadian or British resource or catalog), even if the title of the publication has "theatre." Tip: a truncation search on theat* will retrieve results on both spellings, plus the plural forms and the adjective "theatrical."