Have a question? Need assistance? Use our online form to ask a librarian for help.
Cait Miller, Music Reference Specialist, Music Division
Created: May 11, 2020
Last Updated: May 11, 2020
The Library of Congress is the preeminent repository of musical theater-related collections in the world. Beyond our rich collections of published scores and librettos, the Music Division has long collected the manuscripts and personal papers of many of the genre's greatest creative minds. The Performing Arts Reading Room holds scores, books, periodicals, and special collections related to musical theater. Researchers interested in listening to sound recordings should contact the Library's Recorded Sound Research Center, and those looking for film footage will want to contact the Library's Moving Image Research Center. The Prints & Photographs Reading Room and its catalog—Prints & Photographs Online Catalog—offer photographs of people and places significant to musical theater as well as posters for specific productions. Additionally, the Rare Book & Special Collections Reading Room is home to the Rouben Mamoulian Collection of theater, film and concert programs for performances in New York, Washington, DC, Los Angeles, London, England and other locations, many annotated by Armenian American film and theater director Rouben Mamoulian. A related collection, the Rouben Mamoulian Papers, includes the director's personal papers and is served in the Manuscript Reading Room. See the Special Collections page of this guide for more information on related special collections in other reading rooms.
Whether you're a voice student looking for sheet music for a new audition piece, a scholar wanting to read letters in the Leonard Bernstein Collection, a director wishing to consult annotated scripts from the Harold Prince Papers, a composer looking to study sketch material from the Richard Rodgers Papers, or a RENT-head eager to pour through Jonathan Larson's research notes and lyric sheets in the Jonathan Larson Papers, the Library of Congress website and reading rooms are your destinations for unparalleled research in American musical theater.
The Performing Arts Reading Room is the access point for the collections in the custody of the Music Division at the Library of Congress. Numbering approximately 20.5 million items and spanning more than 1000 years of Western music history and practice, these holdings include the classified music and book collections, music and literary manuscripts, iconography, microforms, periodicals, musical instruments, published and unpublished copyright deposits, and close to 500 special collections in music, theater, and dance.