The Concise Oxford companion to the theatre.

Additional authors: Hartnoll, Phyllis. | Found, Peter.
Edition statement:2nd ed / Published by : Oxford University Press, (Oxford :) Physical details: vi, 568p. ; 24 cm. ISBN:0198661363 :. Year: 1992
Item type Current location Call number Copy number Status Date due
Reference Items British Council Library
792.03 (Browse shelf) 1 Not for loan

Enhanced descriptions from Syndetics:

When the fourth edition of the highly acclaimed Oxford Companion to the Theatre appeared, The Philadelphia Inquirer recommended it as their 1983 book for theater-lovers, calling it "the scorecard you need to keep the players straight--and the plays." Backstage hailed it as "an invaluable reference work of encyclopedic proportions." In fact, since the publication of the first edition of the Companion, this classic reference has become the standard source of information for theatregoers of all kinds.
Now completely revised and up to date, this concise version of The Oxford Companion to the Theatre (Fourth Edition) covers all aspects of theatre worldwide and throughout the ages. Readers will find entries on a vast range of theatrical styles, dramatists, performers, and directors, as well as information on theatres, festivals, and such technical topics as lighting, sound, and method acting. The Concise Oxford Companion also provides current entries on people such as Athol Fugard, Anthony Hopkins, Glenda Jackson, Derek Jacobi, Helen Mirren, Trevor Nunn, Peter O'Toole, Willy Russell, and Stephen Sondheim, as well as up-to-date information on places and companies. Some of the new entries not found in the full Companion include the Barbican Theatre, the English Shakespeare Company, Michael Gambon, and The Swan at Stratford.
With over 2,500 entries, ranging from Laurence Olivier, to the Shubert theatre in New York, to a new entry on Harvey Fierstein, The Concise Oxford Companion to the Theatre is an indispensable handbook for all enthusiasts of the theatre.

Previous ed.: 1972.

Bibliography: p563-568.

Reviews provided by Syndetics


This "new" edition, although not necessarily improved, tries a different approach. Those who seek more information on the careers of actors and actresses or on playwrights' subjects will find more extensive coverage than the parent Oxford Companion to the Theatre (4th ed., CH, Apr'84) provided. Like that edition, this one wisely omits treatment of broad topics like ballet and opera, but covers musical comedy, vaudeville, and architecture (the latter concerned with theater buildings). It still discusses only such better-known critics as Brooks Atkinson. The "new" edition is mainstream, but includes new movements (e.g., Fringe and avant-garde). Unfortunately, keeping the work within limits requires omission of biographies of actors and actresses and of newcomers younger than 40. Helpful cross-references abound, marked by asterisks. Noteworthy persons not accorded separate biographical entries appear in other entries in boldface with dates. Although intended to provide worldwide coverage, this "new" edition is understandably biased toward British and American theater. It will nevertheless be an asset to reference collections, especially those that lack the 4th edition, which this version more closely resembles than it does the 3rd (1967). Academic readers, all levels. R. T. Ivey; Memphis State University

Booklist Review

An entire generation of new actors has emerged, and an earlier generation has passed since the first publication of The Concise Oxford Companion to the Theatre in 1972. Theaters have closed and opened; actors and directors have risen and fallen. It stands to reason then, that the entries in this second edition have been completely revised, expanded, updated, and, in some cases, deleted. Compared with the fourth edition (1983) of the parent publication, The Oxford Companion to the Theatre, it is not unusual to find duplication of many entries, expansion of some, and abridgment of others in this new edition of The Concise Oxford. In an effort to contain the size of the current work, many of the entries on minor theaters and formerly popular actors and directors have been deleted. Others, such as George and Ira Gershwin, Irving Berlin, and Maurice Chevalier, who previously were omitted or merely named in a related entry in the parent edition, now have been included in their own right. Examples of expanded, updated biographies include those for Mike Nichols, Neil Simon, Jos{{‚}}e Ferrer, Katharine Hepburn, and Albert Finney. Newcomers include Anthony Hopkins, Michael Bogdanov, the Fringe Theatre, and the Tokyo Globe. There had to be a cutoff point, and the editors opted for age 40; biographies for persons born after 1952 have been excluded. In an additional effort to save space and to avoid internal duplication, the editors have used numerous cross-references, asterisks, boldface type, and other similar devices to alert the reader to more information found elsewhere in the book. This can be somewhat confusing until the reader becomes accustomed to the system. For example, the continuation of Peter Brook's biography is found under International Center of Theatre Research, which he founded. As with previous publications, the bias is decidedly toward British and American theater, although the actual coverage is worldwide and spans all eras, from the time of Plato and Euripedes to the present. Similarly, all aspects of the field are included, ranging from acting styles and techniques to staging, lighting, and costume design. All types of libraries will want the new edition of this classic reference work, whether they own the parent volume or the first edition of the concise version. Because of the deletions, it is advisable for libraries owning the original Concise Oxford Companion to the Theatre to use it along with the new edition. (Reviewed Mar. 1, 1993)

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