Here are two new reviews of American and British Theatrical Biographies:
Containing nearly double the number of entries and surveying more than twice the number of volumes than the original 1979 edition, this well-organized catalog for special collections provides an excellent starting point for anyone taking on the task of research in the history of the American and British theater. Works indexed include the Burns Mantle Best Plays series, the Theatre World yearbooks, the Who Was Who annuals, and numerous other published books. Individual full-length biographies are not cited. Although some of the sources surveyed are also available in e-book format (as this title is), the author has excluded Internet sources “for a variety of reasons, such as unreliability of content, existence, and accessibility.” Each entry includes basic biographical information, including name (with cross-references to stage names and other pseudonyms), birth and death dates, nationality, occupation, and a code to the sources listed at the front of the first volume. The range of entries is wide, extending from the early days of theater to the present day. Since the focus is on performers “working in live theatre before paying audiences,” film and television actors are excluded unless they have actually appeared onstage. Artists performing in other theatrical arenas, such as opera, dance, circus, music, and music halls, are included, as are critics and others in stage-related occupations. You might not want to “put your daughter on the stage,” but you will want to put this title on the shelf if your library supports theater research and studyBooklist

Scholars seeking quick references to biographies of the important contributors in American and British theater, past and present, will welcome this two-volume set by Wearing (emer., English, Univ. of Arizona). The set is an expansion of Wearing’s American and British Theatrical Biography: A Directory (CH, Jan’80). Covering some 130 scholarly theatrical resources, these volumes feature information on about 90,000 people. Cross-referencing is provided for those thespians who appeared under various names during their careers. The index also includes listings from ballet, opera, music, circus, and music halls for those who contributed to the theater world. This resource will be useful for universities with historical theater programs and for the hard-core theatrical scholar. Summing Up: Recommended. Choice