Finding Scripts, Recordings and Sheet Music
Compiled by John Kenrick
Musicals101.com gets many inquiries regarding show rights, scripts, recordings and sheet music, so I've created this special page. If all else fails, you can drop me a line, and I'll give you whatever help I can. Good luck in your search!
To buy or borrow hard to find musical librettos, you may want to contact the company leasing that show's performance rights. Check Musicals101.com's Show Rights Index. You'll find the American rights providers for over 500 major musicals shows, and links to the providers. You can borrow (and/or sometimes purchase) copies if you are considering a show for school or community theater production.
If a musical is not on our list, do not give up hope -- it simply means no established licensing form currently carries that title. You may still be able to track down the rights holders and get permission to produce the show. See see our guide to tracking down Hard to Find Musicals.
When looking for scripts, recordings or sheet music, don't forget to check out your local libraries. Inter-library loans can give you access to far more than you might imagine. If you are affiliated with a college or university that has a decent performing arts program, they may have some impressive materials on hand. And anyone in the are of New York City should get to know the magnificent Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center -- one of the greatest resources for theatrical materials, and its free. You can get info on them through the NY Public Library website, www.nypl.org
In the US, the premiere source for Broadway & London casts and Hollywood soundtracks is Footlight. Vintage albums, hard to find CDs -- if its out there, this is the place to find it. Their website is a cyber shopper's paradise, and a phone call (212-533-1572) or e-mail will get you an invariably helpful response from their staff. Stop by www.footlight.com.
In Europe, Dress Circle is your ticket for recordings and all other sorts of theatrical memorabilia. If Footlight doesn't have that rare recording you're itching for, a check a this site may uncover a copy. www.dresscircle.co.uk
Wondering if a particular show, song or performer was ever recorded? Visit the Musical Cast Album Database, a searchable info bank covering over 2600 recordings.
To purchase commercially published scripts that are still in print, you can always check with Amazon.com.
If you are in the Manhattan area, stop by the Drama Book Shop at 250 West 40th Street (between 7th & 8th Avenues) for scripts or full scores -- or visit their website at www.dramabookshop.com. There's also Applause Booksat 211 West 71st Street. Applause does not have a web presence (as of this writing), but both of these fine shops are aimed at the theater loving consumer.
The Internet Theatre Bookshopis a great British source to purchase hard to find scripts and scores.
There are pitifully few good sources for Broadway related sheet music. In most cases, you will have to buy a 'vocal selections' book -- a few shows are available as full vocal scores, and some major hit tunes can be purchased as singles. Amazon and other major book retailers carry most of the available scores in print.
Historic American Sheet Music - offers scans of over 3000 songs of the 19th and early 20th Century, from the collections of Duke University