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The play’s the thing

Database helps locate little-known legit

www.playdatabase.com

Some plays get performed far more than others. While that’s often due to their merit, it’s also commonly because of their familiarity — when you think Western musical, for example, you think “Oklahoma.” But there are many more Western musicals that simply don’t leap to mind but might be quite successful productions, or might be more appropriate for your venue or potential cast.

PlayDatabase.com lets a visitor ferret out plays and monologues with a very comprehensive search that finds and sorts plays by, take a deep breath, title, author, genre, number of male and/or female characters, running time, number of acts, synopsis, and even set complexity.

PlayDatabase’s biggest problem is depth of data — for now. Even though it lists 12,400 plays and 5,600 writers, it’s still lacking in basic information about many of those properties, the details you’d want to search by. An optimist would point out that there are many opportunities for the site’s visitors to add and correct entries, rate scripts and add director’s notes, but it’s chicken and egg — to get more data, you need more visitors; to get more visitors, you need more data.

The site will direct a searcher to the proper publisher to buy a play, and has unobtrusive advertising throughout. It doesn’t make obvious who’s behind it, but I should disclose that I know the site’s developer personally. He’s built a useful, powerful site that will likely grow better over time.

Got a site to share with me? Email tfsmith@reedbusiness.com

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