Plays and Films about Theater

Here are some recommended plays, movies, and operas about community theater actors, directors, and theater in general

Title Synopsis
After the Rehearsal Ingmar Bergman's TV drama about an actress and a director's relationship while working on Stindberg's "A Dream Play."
All About Eve Anne Baxter stars with Bette Davis as an ambitious actress scheming her way to the top
Broadway Bound The last part of Neil Simon's autobiographical trilogy
Bullets Over Broadway A writer links up with the mob to get a play on Broadway.
Cradle Will Rock A true story about a controversial 1930s musical about a steel strike and attempts to stop it.
Death Becomes Her Black comedy about actresses who use makeup and plastic surgery to stay youthful looking
Deathtrap A professor kills a student who wrote an exceptional script so he can claim it's his own
Dresser, The Albert Finney and Tom Courtney star in this story of a personal assistant of a deteriorating veteran actor struggling to get him through a difficult performance of King Lear.
Faith County & Faith County II Mark Landon Smith's plays about the Mineola Council for Cultural Recognition
Funny Bones Oliver Platt stars as a son of a famous comic who tries to hit it big as a comic in Las Vegas.
Illuminata Intrigue at the start of the 20th century between a playwright, a theater company, and others.
In The Bleak Midwinter Kenneth Branaugh's film about an out-of-work actor who volunteers to help try and save his sister's local church for the community by putting on a Christmas production of Hamlet
Life in the Theater TV show with Jack Lemmon and Matthew Broderick and written by David Mamet about two actors who share a season together in a repertory theater.
Long Day's Journey Into Night Eugene O'Neil's autobiographic story about a dysfunctional family including a father who used to be a famous actor.
Looking For Richard Al Pacino's 1996 documentary about Shakespeare's play, Richard III.
Moon Over Broadway Documentary following the development and Broadway run of Ken Ludwig's Moon Over Buffalo starring Carol Burnett and Phillip Bosco.
Noises Off Michael Frayn's frantic farce about watching the action on-stage and the even more exciting action behind the curtain of a touring company's production of Nothing On.
Pagliacci The opera of Leoncavallo has a troupe of actors putting on a show where art imitates life.  Canio, the jealous husband, kills his wife, Nedda, during the performance.
The Producers Zero Mostel and Gene Wilder star as producers trying to make a sure-flop show to get rich.  They decide on the musical Springtime for Hitler.
Shakespeare in Love Shakespeare struggles to write a new play until he falls in love
Slings and Arrows Canadian TV series takes viewers backstage into the misadventures of the New Burbage Theatre Festival
Stage Beauty 2004 film where a female theatre dresser (Claire Danes) creates a stir and sparks a revolution in seventeenth century London theatre by playing Desdemona in Othello
Stage Door 1937 film with Katherine Hepburn, Ginger Rogers, and Lucille Ball about aspiring actresses
Stage Struck 1958 film about a girl who comes to New York to be an actress
Those Lips, Those Eyes 1980 film about young people involved in summer stock in Ohio in the early 1950s.
To Be or Not To Be Jack Benny and Carole Lombard star in this 1942 film of Polish actors resisting the Nazis.  Jack Benny is a jealous and pompous actor who plays Hamlet.  The film was remade in 1983 with Mel Brooks.
Topsy-Turvy Gilbert and Sullivan threaten to split up after tepid reviews of Princess Ida
Waiting for Guffman This 1996 film is already a classic among people in community theater.  The pseudo-documentary follows the celebration of the 150th anniversary of the founding of Blaine, Missouri.
Who Am I This Time? This Kurt Vonnegut short story tells about a shy hardware store employee who becomes alive on-stage.

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Last updated: 5/21/2009