Louis E. Catron
Netting Theatre--The "Best" Web Sites for Actors,
Directors, Playwrights, Costume Designers,
Scenic Designers, Lighting Designers, Dramaturgs


Please visit my home page for descriptions of,
and links to, the many other pages on this site.


 

"NETTING THEATRE"

25 BEST FIRST SEARCHES FOR THEATRE ON THE WEB

    Annotated and With Links

      The "best first searches" are divided into three parts.  If you wish to go to specific areas, please click any of the three below and you'll jump to that section.
          1.  12 Best Theatre Sites Specifically for Theatre
          2.  8 Conglomerate Category Sites
          3.  4  More for Good Luck
 

    An introductory caveat is important before discussing the "best" sites to net theatrical riches:  One person’s selection won’t be the same as another’s, and perhaps you already have a list that works for you.  Fair enough.  Still, I suggest that you try these sites, which are divided into three groups:

  • Best sites for theatre specifically.  Twelve outstanding theatre locations.
  • Directories of directories.  Nine master locations with huge quantities of info.
  • Four more for good luck.  General but likely to be helpful in some cases.
     To select these primary sources I sought theatrical sites that were detailed, thorough, well organized, easy to access, and frequently updated.  The latter is an important criterion because too often we find sites that are out of date, languishing unloved in their cyber loneliness.  The web pages below are regularly tended.

     I also wanted sites that loaded relatively quickly.  Attractiveness and design, while important, weren’t major criterion, but most of these "best" sites are nicely engineered.   As experienced netters know, this list is larger than it may appear — each individual site contains numerous links to additional sites that can be helpful.  Prepare to surf.

     For a wealth of theatre sites you can start your search with the richly informational "Artslynx," an extremely well-organized tool, and move next to "Scott’s Theatre-Link Dot Com," "Drama and Theater Connections," and "Theatre Central."  For information about theatrical techniques and practices, shows now playing, and the professional, regional, and amateur scenes, look at "Playbill on Line," and "Talkin’ Broadway."   For authoritative sources and research, go to "McCoy’s Guide to Resources in Theatre and Performance Studies," "The Encyclopedia Britannica," and "Theatre and Drama Virtual Library."  Canada’s "CultureNet" illustrates the best of a national focus on its culture, and "Canadian Theatre WebRing" is a rich series of connected links.

     After those eleven, look next at the eight "conglomerate" directories of theatrical sites, in effect lists of lists.  Here you’ll need to explore the entries to search out the information you seek.

     Finally, see if four non-theatre broad-based sites can help you.  Try "Luckman’s ‘Best of the Web,’" a search machine with a high degree of selectivity, then "AskMe," "Info Please" and "Ask Jeeves."

     All links were alive and well when I last checked them, but the WWW is a fluid creature and things change.  For example, one fine site I liked apparently has faded into e-obscurity.  (Hey, this is the ‘net, consistent in its changes!) "National Theatre Resources on Line" (http://www.artstozoo.org/artslynx/theatre.htm) was an excellent broad-based site, but the addy now leads to an "address change" page that directs you to "Artslynx."  Nothing wrong with "Artslynx"--it is one of the best—but I miss the NT.

 
 

12 BEST SITES SPECIFICALLY FOR THEATRE

     With some trepidation, I list the sites in order of value.  Of course you may rank them in different order.

~1~

INTERNATIONAL ARTS RESOURCES--ARTS LINKS TO  THEATRE, DANCE,  MUSIC,  AND MORE  FROM ARTSLYNX
    http://www.artslynx.org/

     --or take a short cut to the theatre location--

ARTSLYNX INTERNATIONAL THEATRE RESOURCES
   http://www.artslynx.org/theatre/index.htm

     [MY SELECTION FOR THE "SINGLE BEST" IF YOU VISIT ONLY
      ONE SITE.]

     Think of "Lynx" as "links" and you understand this site.  With a neat and well-organized series of connecting icons, Artslynx has master folders dealing with "Dance,"  "Visual Arts," "Writing," "Film," "Arts Administration," "Music," "Arts of Social Responsibility," "Education," and "Arts Advocacy."  All are rich in resources.  Artslynx also is well-engineered—it connects quickly and effectively.

     "Alphabet Soup" is the webmaster’s connection to an "amazing list of arts support organizations" that, he says, makes sense of the arts.  There you find organizations ranging from "American Arts Alliance" to "Young Audiences," including some from countries such as Canada, Britain, and Japan.  Most have links to the group’s headquarters.  Some have such intriguing titles that you feel compelled to investigate.  "Center for Cognitive Studies of the Moving Image"?

     "Arts of Social Responsibility" is an intriguing and well-named page.  It has entries for "Art Therapy," "Arts Access," "Arts for People with Disabilities," "Arts of the Oppressed," and "Feminism and Women's Arts Resources and Connections."  Each has a number of sources.  For example, the entry for "Health and Rehabilitation Issues such as Alcohol and Drugs" takes you to a number of sites including "The Improbable Players," a professional touring theatre company based in Boston, Massachusetts, that gives performances about alcohol and abuse, especially insightful because the actors are recovering addicts.

     The Artslynx Theatre section is rich.  From the home page click on "Theatre" (or go directly to http://www.artslynx.org/theatre/index.htm) and you will find helpful information about "Books," "Children’s Theatre," "Acting," "Combat," "Costume Design and History," "Performance,"  "Design (Makeup, Scenic, Lighting)," "Dramaturgy," "Musical Theatre," "Puppetry," "Fight Direction," "Playwriting," "Technical Theatre," and much more.

     Students looking for material for a term paper or report will want to use its links to "Theatre Libraries" and "Research Resources" plus "Theatre History Resources," where you’ll find libraries and collections.  For the theatre buff, it has a special "This month in theatre history" link.  For those seeking jobs, there are links to "Employment" and "Jobs," but when I last visited there were the same 12 hook-ups under both.

     All in all, Artslynx is a model of thoroughness and excellence.  Using it is easy, fun, rewarding.

~2~

PLAYBILL ON LINE—THE THEATRE SOURCE ON THE WEB FOR BROADWAY THEATRE INFORMATION
    http://www1.playbill.com/playbill/

     When you attend a Broadway show, you receive a booklet that contains the production’s program and other information.  That booklet is an edition of "Playbill."  This is its cyber cousin.

     The "Broadway" part of the site’s title, however, is misleading because Playbill on Line is not restricted to Manhattan theatre.  While it has definitive listings for current theatre productions both On-and Off-Broadway, it also offers guides for sites throughout America (including summer stock, regional theatres, and national touring shows), Canada, London, and other countries.  The site also has tickets and travel packages.

     One of the major theatrical sites, and of impressive size, Playbill on Line is especially valuable because it has so many entries and, much more importantly, because it is regularly updated.  Folders lead you to "Late News" on the shows now playing as well as people, productions, and awards.  "Theatrical Listings" are complete.  There even is information about New York hotels and seating charts of major theatres.  Of special note is the "Casting and Jobs" folder.

     Playbill on Line has up-to-date information about openings, shows now offering discount tickets, and information about the important theatrical awards, such as the Tony, and how the Broadway shows are faring financially.   Its college data base, although a bit limited, is helpful for those seeking educational information.  Feature articles about shows, a searchable list of biographies, and a chat area are all present.

     Mixed with the factual information are chatty columns and interviews with significant people in the theatre.  "Diva Talk," for example, is a weekly column that primarily discusses popular divas, and "Brief Encounter" is an interview with significant personalities.  One such interview (which unfortunately may have disappeared by the time you read this) is with Marni Nixon, one of the best-known unknown movie songsters.  She was the unaccredited voice you heard singing for Deborah Kerr ("The King And I" and "An Affair To Remember"), Natalie Wood ("West Side Story") and Audrey Hepburn ("My Fair Lady").  This site also leads you to fan sites.

     Here, too, you’ll find commercial sites such as Tele-Charge to help you buy tickets for New York and London plays, and you can purchase tickets online (members receive discounts), order books from the Dramabook Store, known for its rich theatre collection, or gifts from One Shubert Alley that offers theatrical memorabilia like posters, t-shirts, music scores, mugs, and so forth.
From this site you can access "Theatre Central" (described below).

~3~

THEATRE CENTRAL
      http://www1.playbill.com/cgi-bin/plb/central?cmd=start

     Easy to enter from "Playbill on Line," above, Theatre Central is a well-maintained and comprehensive searchable web of links to theatre.  It claims it has "the largest compendium of theatre links on the internet" and you aren’t likely to argue when you see its depth of coverage.

     Andrew Kraft updates Theatre Central regularly.  It includes an up-to-date calendar of international theater events and related message and chat boards.  Actors find "Audition Notices" here, and there is news about productions and casting.

     Do you want to find a specific theatre artist who has a net presence?  Try "Connections," a central resource for contacting and communicating with theatre throughout the world with specific interests or background.  You have two ways to see if that artist has a site.  First, the Directory search engine allows you to look by keywords for professionals who are interested in "Musical Theatre," "Dramaturgy," "Directing," or a number of other interests.  The lists are long.  Clicking a given name will lead you to a brief biography and a hookup to a website.  Alternatively, you can browse the entire list, although you may want to go get a cup of coffee while you wait for it to download.

~4~

DRAMA AND THEATER CONNECTIONS
     http://libweb.uncc.edu/ref-arts/theater/

     Sponsored by the J. Murrey Atkins Library at the University of North Carolina, this guide to theatrical websites has a librarian’s neat organizational system.  Among the entries you’ll find are "Actors and Acting," "Jobs," "Biographies," "Electronic Indexes," "Electronic Journals," "Theater and Drama Research," "Plays and Playwriting," "Costume and Scene Design," "Lighting," and "Shakespeare."

      "Actors and Acting" leads you to "Star Bios," subdivided into actors, actresses, and comedians (but, strangely, not singers or dancers).  "Performance Art" offers mime, clown, and a performance art site.

     "General Sites and Links" offers a selective list of places you may want to visit.  "Research Tips" leads you to a "Comprehensive Research Guide," valuable although needing an update.  Directly applicable to the UNC library, the guide is easily adapted to other libraries.

~5~

ENCYCLOPEDIA BRITANNICA
     http://www.eblast.com/

     When the Britannica announced it was making its complete works available on line, the resulting surge of hits jammed the site and the webmaster had to re-organize to handle the heavy traffic.  That’s not surprising.  Britannica has long held an enviable reputation for scholarly excellence, making it an excellent authoritative reference.  For it to make its rich resources available—free—on the net is generous.

     Also not surprising is the Britannica site’s design.  As you’d expect, it is clean,  logical, and remarkably detailed.  In only a few minutes you learn how easy it is to use.  Given the quantity of information and depth of coverage, the site is remarkably fast.  The references lead you not only to the Britannica’s own articles—all scholarly and definitive—but also to a neatly presented group of books, websites, magazine articles, and added information.

     Those who thought of the Britannica as like a stodgy grandparent — experienced and nice, yes, but, well, dull—will find there’s no old geezer here.  This E-Brit is up to date and lively.

    To locate its theatre entries from the home page, use the left-hand menu to click "Arts."  On the next page move your cursor to "Performing Arts," where you’ll have the option of selecting "The Web’s Best Sites" or "Encyclopedia Britannica," and that in turn will give you a choice of "Dance" or "Theatre."  Alternatively, go directly to the theatre index with this addy:  http://www.eblast.com/bcom/eb/article/
0,5716,73828+1,00.html

     In the theatre section you’ll find 14 basic entries, each leading you to more.  You can investigate the nature of theatre in "The Art of the Theatre," find "Technical Production," see the evolution of our art in "The History of Western Theatre," "Islamic Arts," "Asian Arts," and "African Arts."  You also can find "Dance" and more.  You also will want to investigate the various locations for literature and the like.

     With typical thoroughness, the Britannica’s list  of "The Web’s Best Sites"—you find that by placing your cursor of "Performing Arts"—is helpful.  It uses a Four-Star system to rate 22 sites.
 A search engine at the top of the page can lead you to areas you might not find by moving through "Arts" to "Performing Arts."  For example, a search for "playwriting" uncovered references grouped in four categories:  "The Web’s Best Sites," "Encyclopedia Britannica," "Magazines," and "Related Books."  The search engine cheerfully tries to help you by asking you what you meant and giving you choices.

     Note, too, the offerings in the right-hand menu.  On the home pages the list deals with recent events; on reference pages, the right-hand menu offers you additional articles.

~6~

TALKIN’ BROADWAY—
     http://www.TalkinBroadway.com/

     Whatever you are looking for regarding theatrical events on Broadway and off-Broadway, plus information on selected geographic regions, likely it is here.  This regularly updated site is large and through, and some 30 different contributors keep it rich and lively.  There are reviews of shows in New York and around the United States as well as in Canada and London.  You also receive informative guides to cast albums and restaurants, and you can read interviews with significant theatrical folk.

      "Talkin’ Broadway" says that its "purpose and goal is to promote and support live theatre and the theatrical arts in both the cultural and political arenas," and it reports thousands of daily readers with expectation of growth.  No doubt they are attracted by the wide variety of offerings and the authoritative expert opinions.

      "Broadway 101" is a historical trip through the Great White Way.  Arranged by decades, Robert Rusie starts his descriptions in 1810 and relates the development of the theatrical center.  Colorful illustrations help you envision the growth of theatre.  "The Broadway of Yesteryear Gallery" has photographs and prints ranging from 1650 to 1905.  Browsing the gallery and reading Rusie’s history ought be required of all theatre buffs.

     "What’s New at the Rialto?" is a frequent column of theatre events, people, and productions.  Author V.J. arranges for interesting and witty interviews with people you’d like to know better, and at the bottom of the page is a link to past "Rialto" columns, all worth exploring.  (Okay, honest and full disclosure here.  They interviewed me for my book, The Power of One -- http://www.talkinbroadway.com/rialto/past/2000/4_9_00.html -- so I could be prejudiced.  Certainly I felt honored because most interviews are with well-known stars.  But I can testify that I was impressed with the professionalism of their interview technique, and I now read the other interviews with increased respect.)

     "On the Boards" lists all Broadway productions (there is a companion Off Broadway location), most linked to reviews.  For all, too, you can click on one of the ticket ordering companies.

     While the title of the site suggests a view of only theatre in Manhattan, the "Regional" site has reviews of theatrical productions in major cities such as Toronto, Pittsburgh, Washington, Atlanta, Seattle, St. Louis. San Francisco, Los Angles, Phoenix, and St. Louis.

     "Spotlight On" has regular biographical sketches of significant theatrical artists.  One such spot lights Jennifer Piech, a 1989 William and Mary Theatre graduate ( http://www.TalkinBroadway.com/spot/piech1.html ).  We're all delighted and excited that It praises Jen's work:  "Jennifer's portrayal of Kate McGowen in Titanic is true perfection, though, and should not be missed."

     There is a lively, high-volume chat board that is populated by knowledgeable fans with passion , shopping information, current awards, "Sound Advice" for commentary regarding cast albums.

     "Broadway Bound" is an ongoing column in which Michael Reynolds creates a dialog between two people to chronicle his development of a musical, in the process giving excellent advice about the playwriting process.  (I suppose full disclosure again is in order: In two columns-- http://www.talkinbroadway.com/bound/10.html and http://talkinbroadway.com/bound/12.html – he mentions a couple of my playwriting books.  I would’ve enjoyed his columns even if he hadn’t.)

     The "Internet Theatre Database" alone is worth the price of admission.  It states its mission simply:  "The Internet Theatre Database is to provide all aspects of theatre information free of charge."  A four-person staff is accumulating the materials and so far they have recorded basic information on most Broadway shows since 1975 and most musicals for the past 50 years.  When I visited they reported they had entered 2214 Broadway and 61 Off-Broadway shows.

~7~

McCOY’S GUIDE TO THEATRE AND PERFORMANCE STUDIES
     http://www.stetson.edu/departments/csata/thr_guid.html

     Maintained by Ken McCoy at Stetson University and regularly updated, this guide offers a large list of his selections of significant sites that fit his criteria:  unique or interesting, somewhat off the beaten path, or examples of well-managed and productive sites.  The outline organization is admirable and easy to use.

     Very valuable are his two lists of guides.  First, "Places that help me the most" has sixteen well-selected sites (including one for knots!).  Secondly, "Other World Wide Web Resources by Topic" is thorough and put together with logical divisions ranging from actors to technical theatre to arts management to Shakespeare.

     "Finding Primary Materials" reflects McCoy’s interest in scholarship and can take you to electronic and print materials.  "Potpourri: The Best of the Rest" is a eclectic mixture of sites, many with such interesting descriptions that you’re likely to surf around.

     He also has an international vision, guiding you to sites from or about other nations.

~8~

CULTURE NET (Canada)
     http://www.ffa.ucalgary.ca/

     This is an excellent site that could be a model for other countries.  I found no other site so dedicated to a country’s cultural richness.  Too bad.  A site like this demonstrates a culturally rich country, one proud of its diverse artistic activities.

     Calling itself an electronic window on Canadian culture, CultureNet is a list of links for Canadian networks and serves individuals and organizations from all areas of Canada and from all cultural disciplines.  It is available in both English and French versions.

     It has a cultural events calendar with a fast and efficient search engine, and when I last visited the site it listed almost 300 events from 340 different towns.  There are various membership fees, and there is an impressive list of organizational and individual members.

~9~

THE WWW VIRTUAL LIBRARY—Theatre and Drama
     http://vl-theatre.com/

     The master home page— The Virtual Library—is an collection of various sites.  This Theatre and Drama section is one category, and it says that it now records over one million hits a year.  Worth noting is its commitment to keep information current:  it updates the site daily.

     WWW Theatre and Drama offers links to resources in more than 40 countries.  From its home page you select categories such as "Academic/Training Institutions World Wide," "General Organizations and Resources," "Plays in Print," or "Theatre Companies World Wide."  Each category contains numerous connections.  For example, "General Organizations" holds well over 100 links that represent such countries as Africa, Australia, Belgium, Canada, England, France, Germany, Italy, Scotland, Wales, and the United States.

     For an international study, click "Theatre Companies World Wide."  From Argentina to Venezuela, you’ll find 42 different countries listed.

     A highlight is an excellent "Plays on Line," which uses an alphabetical guide to playwrights from across the world.  Strong, too, is its effective  search engine.  You’ll also find guides to "Academic and Training Institutions," "Newsgroups," and "Theatre Journals, Studies, and Articles."

     This is a detailed and important site.  Some patient surfing here is very likely to bring you information you seek on a wide range of theatre topics.

~10~

SCOTT’S THEATRE-LINK.COM
     http://theatre-link.com

     A rich collection of sites and resources, Scott’s says it is "Your complete guide to all aspects of theatre on the net!"  Over-sell?  Well, let’s call it enthusiasm, and at any rate Scott’s is a thorough site designed to help you find that virtual information.

     Scott’s offers an "Index" that it describes as an organized way to find what you’re looking for, saying that it contains many thousands of theatre-related sites.  Among the topics are academic theatres, casting and auditions, and Broadway and London’s West End theatres.  Helpful  areas include "News and Information," "Goods and Services," "Theatrical Unions," "Plays and Playwrights," "Research Sources," and "Shakespeare."  Alternatively, you can search its database.

     There’s an active message board for questions and discussion.  When I visited, there were many questions asking for help finding a particular play or an audition piece.  Answers were direct and helpful.

     It also can lead you to "National Theatre Design Archive," "Dance and Musical Theatre," a "U.K. Theatre Web," and "Theatre Design and Technical Jobs Page."

     If you have a website, Scott’s invites you to add a link to it.  You get a password that gives you access to your entry so you can make changes.

~11~

CANADIAN THEATRE WEBRING   http://members.xoom.com/theatre2/cdntheatrewebring.htm

     A WebRing, speaking generically, is a system that supports a nearly unlimited number of separate and distinct connected sites across the Internet, each feeding the others.  The theory of a WebRing is that it provides an easy way for visitors to navigate the web to find sites that have similar interest areas.  We have two ways of accessing the sites.  One is usually found at the bottom of the Ring site, and it allows you to move forward or backward, sending you to the next member site.  That’s a crap shoot:  you don’t know where you’ll go.  The other method of accessing is through the Ring’s directory.

     As of the time I write this, the Canadian Theatre WebRing is still developing.  The webmaster’s statement of progress to date, and plans for the future, indicate that it ought continue to grow and become a very significant theatrical site.  For example, the webmaster reports that several candidates seeking to join have been rejected because they do not address the site requirements (the webmaster notes that one prospective member is likely to be rejected because the site requires cookies), and the report indicates a new system to check automatically to be sure all member sites are alive and well.  These steps suggest a healthy future.

     That’s not to imply the site is vacant.  On the contrary, more than 60 different sites were present when I looked.  They include professional and amateur theatrical organizations, schools, vendors of theatrical supplies, and organizations.  For example, "Services Guide" is a directory of businesses, organizations, and individuals that provide products or services to theatre.  "Stage Door Toronto" describes the many productions offered by a host of that city’s theatre companies.  Representative of service organizations is the "Toronto Theatre Alliance," which represents Toronto's professional theatre and dance companies.  Each site provides more links.

     Already a significant site for Canadian Theatre, it seems safe to predict that the Canadian Theatre WebRing will continue to grow and become a major site.

~12~

ASSOCIATION FOR THEATRE IN HIGHER EDUCATION
     http://www2.hawaii.edu/athe/

     ATHE is an organization of individuals and institutions who band together to promote excellence in theatre education.  Many members teach theatre in colleges and universities, and at ATHE annual conventions they participate in panels and discussions on a broad range of topics connected to educational theatre.

     Although its website seems quite limited for such a significant national organization, it does offer links to a variety of arts-related sites (click on "Resources").

 
 

8 CONGLOMERATE CATEGORY SITES

     Perhaps this category could be called "data base sites."  Or "what you were looking for but didn’t know you wanted it."  Or "everything including the kitchen sink."

     These are links of links, directories of directories, master locations that have put together clumps of sites—such as "Finance," "Entertainment," and the like—according to some master plan.  The lists below are theatre directories.

~1~

ALTA VISTA:  THEATRE
     http://dir.altavista.com/Top/Arts/Performing_Arts/Theatre

     AltaVista has one of the better categorizations.  The organization is logical and accessible.
There were 32 subdivisions listed when I last visited the site, and each takes you to a number of specific sites, perhaps two or three in some cases and over ten pages for other categories.  You’ll find "Advocates," "Community Theater," "Costuming," "Dinner Theatre," "Directing," "Dramaturgy," "Education and Training," "Experimental," "Improvisation," "Link Directories," "Musicals," "NYC Off Broadway," "People," "Physical Theatre," "Plays," "Production," "Reference," "Reviews, Listings, and Articles," "Shakespeare," "Shows," "Special Effects Makeup," "Stage Managers," "Stage Movement," "Stagecraft," "Technical," "Theatre Shops," "Theatres and Troupes," and "Tickets."

     Despite the number of entries, however, there are conspicuous holes.  Among the missing were "acting," "sound design," and "playwriting."

     Scrolling down past the menu entries will lead you to some ten pages of annotated sites.

~2~

HOTBOT
     http://dir.hotbot.lycos.com/Arts/

     HotBot has so many entries you could spend a couple of days surfing.  The link above takes you to "Arts & Entertainment" where you have choices—and choices and choices.  This section of HotBot constantly grows, and each time I visit I find that the number of listings has increased.  The last time I visited, "Performing Arts" had 10,422 sites (an increase of about 800 in a week) and its "Theatre" division had 3,244.

     Click on "Theatre" and you’ll find 35 categories, similar to AltaVista and also omitting "acting" and "playwriting" (there is a large list of playwrights) but including "sound."

~3~

LINKS2GO:  THEATER
     http://www.links2go.com/topic/Theater

     This hyped site’s collection is small in comparison with other conglomerates—there are only twenty sites and unfortunately some links were dead.  You can surf here quickly to see if any appeal to you.

~4~

NETSCAPE   http://directory.netscape.com/Arts/Performing_Arts/Theatre

      Many of us use Netscape as our basic browser, although perhaps fewer use the "My Netscape" (http://my.netscape.com/ ) feature.  It has 15 "Search Categories" such as "Arts,""Computers," "Games," "Health," or "Sports."

     Clicking "Arts" ( http://directory.netscape.com/Arts/index.html ) leads you to almost 40 subjects, "Animation" to "Writers’ Resources" (and let’s not get involved in wondering if they are all "arts").  You then select "Theatre," which has a staggering 2,525 entries.  Once there you may be mystified by the organization—I was—but a bit of patient scrolling will allow you to find areas you want.   Note the international entries.

~5~

PERFORMING ARTS LINKS   http://www.theatrelibrary.org/links/ActorsHistory.html#theatre

     All in all, an unusual site with unique ingredients.  The home page starts not with a flurry of visuals but instead moves immediately to an index of links.  There you discover the major strength of this site:  It lists materials not found on other mega-directory sites or through usual web searches.
It is effectively organized, primarily on historical materials that are subdivided into "Ancient Theatre," "Medieval Theatre," "15th-18th Centuries," and "19th-20th Centuries."  There also is information for actors and playwrights.  Maria Teresa Iovinelli, your host, apparently revises and updates the site frequently.

~6~

PERFORMING ARTS ONLINE
     http://www.PerformingArts.net/Links/i-nlinks.html

     Links that are "relevant to the Performing Arts Industry" are here, subdivided into performing artists (dance, music, and theatre) and organizations, teachers, and resources.  Additionally, there are interesting sites from numerous countries.

     The home page says there are several hundred links.  That’s an under-estimate.  But you’ll want to be discriminating as you search because many of the personal sites in the four "Performing Artists" categories are, sadly, pretty much fluff stuff.

     Better are the categories that deal with broader topics:  "Performing Arts Organizations," "Performing Arts Management," "Performing Arts Schools, Colleges, Workshops," "Performing Arts Resources," and "Performing Arts Links."  These materials justify listing this site in a chapter of "bests."

~7~

PERFORMING ARTS LINKS—INDEX
     http://www.theatrelibrary.org/links/index.html

     [OF THESE DIRECTORIES OF DIRECTORIES, THIS IS MY PARTICULAR FAVORITE.]

     This index is neatly organized, updated regularly, clean, attractive in its logical arrangement, and thorough in its coverage of international links.  It is arranged in master categories of "Cinema," "Dance," "Theatre," and "Reviews."

     Each category has sites in logical patterns.  For the theatre group, for example, there is a heading for "Actors," followed by a box of links to "General," "Local" (Great Britain and the United States), "Mailing Lists," and "Personal Pages."

     The pattern continues for "Genre," "History," "Plays and Playwrights," "Costume and Set Design," and "Technology"  It concludes with "Mailing Lists," "Newsgroups," and "Libraries:  General Resources."

     The international flavor is strong.  For example, "Local" lists almost 30 countries.

~8~

WORLD WIDE ARTS RESOURCES—VISUAL ARTS, PERFORMING ARTS, AND RESOURCES
     http://wwar.com/

     Although apparently more heavily weighted toward the visual arts, you find links to "Dance" and "Theatre" when you scroll down to "Performing Arts."  Both lead to other links.  While the quantity of links is less than on other conglomerate sites, you’re likely to find some that aren’t uncovered elsewhere.  You also can go to a Chat, subscribe to the free "Arts News," and see "Arts Resumes."

~9~

YAHOO!
      http://dir.yahoo.com/Arts/Performing_Arts/Theater
/Web_Directories/

     Yahoo! has pages—and pages and pages!—of directories with an absurd lack of organization, rather as if the selection-organization process is assigned to a robot that is a few chips shy of a full operating system.  Once you do manage to find the theatre location there are only nine sites listed.   The trick is to search out other places.  They are noted below.

Yahoo!  Drama Resources
     http://dir.yahoo.com/Arts/Humanities/Literature
/Genres/Drama/

     Here the categories are "Greek Tragedy," "Playwrighting" (someone please tell the Yahoos! that  those who write plays are "playwrights" and the act of writing play is "playwriting"), and scripts.

Yahoo!  Costuming
      http://dir.yahoo.com/Arts/Design_Arts/Stagecraft
/Costuming/

     It says Costuming, but the robot probably was playing SimCity when it put this index together (a better directory is described below).  You likely won’t be interested in "Furry" or "Halloween," and there are no entries under "Costume History," "Fashion," or "Makeup."  Perhaps "Masks," "Organizations," and "Web Directories" can be useful.

Yahoo!  Design Arts.  Stagecraft, costuming, lighting, set design
     http://dir.yahoo.com/Arts/Design_Arts/Stagecraft/

     Here (but, strangely, not under "Costuming" above) you can find over 50 sites for Costuming plus a few entries for "Lighting" (5 sites) and "Set Design" (1).

Yahoo!--Performing Arts
     http://dir.yahoo.com/Arts/Performing_Arts/

     Along with  "Circus" and "Historical Reenactment"—these are "arts"?--there are theatrical categories such as "Performance Arts" (with 97 listings), "Stage Combat" (24), "Street Performance" (29), and "Theater" (2,134).  It sounds huge, but once you enter it you’ll note that for such aspects of theatre as Acting, Stagecraft, Lighting, Costuming, Playwriting, and Plays the number of sites is zip.  Nada.  Yahoo! logic at work:  no entries at all.  The large sites are  "Theater Companies,"(976 sites), "Musicals" (521), "Education" (145), and "Youth Theatre" (81).

4 FOR GOOD LUCK

      The previous websites were focused on theatre.  The following four are broad-based informational sites.  They are listed alphabetically, not by relative importance.

~1~

ASK JEEVES
     http://www.askjeeves.com/

     I confess I debated whether to include "Ask Jeeves" in this list of "best" sources.  It is a bit light-weight.  Still, it can lead you to interesting sites.  For example, try clicking the "Entertainment" channel and then asking, "What are the best theatre sites?"  Jeeves quickly gives you choices to investigate such as "Where can I find education and career resources," "What academic institutions offer programs," "Where can I find publications," or "Where can I find a concise encyclopedia article."  The search works well.

     Jeeves has a dry sense of humor.  Asking "An Acting career?" lead to one helpful site ("Where can I find job listings for entertainment?") but it also replied with two entries for finding information about job listings and career choices—not for theatre but for "law."  H’mm.  Is Jeeves making a comment about lawyers?

~2~

ASKME.COM
     http://www.AskMe.com//

     Great answers from real people, the site claims, adding that 2.5 million people use the service.  Registration (free) is required to participate.  You select a category, then pick an "expert" and ask your question.  As you would guess, the effectiveness depends on both the quality of the question and the insight of the expert.

     There are a number of categories, ranging from "Arts and Leisure" to "Travel."  "Hot Topics" deals with the subjects de jour, and when I looked at them they included assorted areas like "Academy Awards," "Passover," and "Technology Stocks."

     Theatre is within "Arts and Leisure," as are "Dance," "Music," and diverse other subjects (even "Cigars and Tobacco"!).  To bypass the various opening pages you can go there directly ( http://www.AskMe.com/cat/ShowCategory_979_xp_1.htm ). A bevy of experts is ready to answer questions regarding "Acting," "Actors and Actresses," "Broadway Theater," Costuming and Scenic Design," "Musical Theater," and the like.

     What is the level of expertise?  As you’d expect, it varies.  Read the public questions to decide if you want to give a particular expert a try.

~3~

LUCKMAN "BEST OF THE WEB"
     http://www.bofw.com

     Although this is a general search site for numerous topics, not specifically a theatre site, Luckman’s leads you to a number of locations for theatre.  Intelligent selectivity makes Luckman’s valuable:  The webmaster examined some 150,000 sites and culled that list to 25,000 "four and five star web sites."  Pretty impressive labor.  You’ll find that the Luckman search process works easily by "channels."  Theatre is in the "Art" channel.  Click that, then "Theater," and you’ll zip to pages and pages of eclectic sites.  Look also in the "Entertainment" and "Performance Art" channels for a few more.

 ~4~

INFO PLEASE
     http://www.infoplease.com/index.html

     [OF THESE "ANSWER" SITES, THIS ONE IS MY PERSONAL FAVORITE.]

     This on-line dictionary, internet encyclopedia, and almanac has a bit of everything, and in some cases a great deal more than you find elsewhere.  For example, when I was unable to open "Drama Desk" to get details about Drama Desk Awards, I went to Info Please.  Scroll down to "Entertainment," click "Performing Arts" and you find options about Broadway, Off-Broadway, and Off-Off Broadway seasons and statistics, as well as for Dance and Opera.

     There’s also a link to Performing Arts Awards--All-Time Top Tony Winners and Nominees, Recipients of Kennedy Center Honors, New York Drama Critics' Circle Awards, Outer Critics Circle Awards, Drama League Awards, Pulitzer Awards, Obie Awards, and—bingo!  what I wanted!—Drama Desk Awards.

    These 24 sites put you in the fast lane, and as you use them you’ll find that you’re pursuing links within links that are outside of links. . . .and that’s surfing.

~End "Netting Theatre"~

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