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THEA 2100 Robertson & Gotlieb

In-Text: Play or Performance Citation

From the MLA Style Center -

References in the Text

If you refer to both the script and the performance in your writing, be sure to distinguish them in context. For example, you could write:

In the closing scene of “Ramona’s Umbrella,” Marino has Ramona confess to her boyfriend that she’s lost the umbrella (45). In the Tiny Plays production, Tania Milena delivers these lines in an anguished whisper.

For in-text references, cite the script by the author’s last name and cite the performance by the performance name, in accordance with the works-cited-list entries.

This principle applies to other types of works that appear in written form and also are performed, like screenplays and films as well as musical compositions and performances.


From the Purdue OWL -

Citing excerpts from transcripts, plays, or screenplays

Sources that take the form of a dialogue involving two or more participants have special guidelines for their quotation and citation. Each line of dialogue should begin with the speaker's name written in all capitals and indented half an inch. A period follows the name (e.g., JAMES.). After the period, write the dialogue. Each successive line after the first should receive an additional indentation. When another person begins speaking, start a new line with that person's name indented only half an inch. Repeat this pattern each time the speaker changes. You can include stage directions in the quote if they appear in the original source.

Conclude with a parenthetical that explains where to find the excerpt in the source. Usually, the author and title of the source can be given in a signal phrase before quoting the excerpt, so the concluding parenthetical will often just contain location information like page numbers or act/scene indicators.

Here is an example from O'Neill's The Iceman Cometh.

Works Cited - Performance or Play Citation

From the MLA Style Center -

The script of a play and each performance of it are different works and should be cited separately. Apply the MLA format template to the work to create your works-cited-list entry.

Published Script

Miller, Arthur. Death of a Salesman. Bloomsbury Publishing, 2015.

Unpublished Script

Although the title of a published play is styled with italics, use quotation marks to indicate that a work is unpublished. You may use the optional-element slot at the end of the entry to provide supplemental information about the work:

Marino, Alex. “Ramona’s Umbrella.” 2015. Theatrical script.


To cite a performance of the same work, start with the title and then follow the template of core elements to list the other contributors (author, director, performers), the publisher (the production company), the date of the performance, and the location of the performance:

“Ramona’s Umbrella.” By Alex Marino, directed by Jeannine Overstreet, performance by Tania Milena, Tiny Plays Production Company,

15 Aug. 2017, Second Street Theater, Sacramento, CA.

If you see the play on more than one date, you’re effectively seeing different versions of the work; thus, a new entry is required:

“Ramona’s Umbrella.” By Alex Marino, directed by Jeannine Overstreet, performance by Tania Milena, Tiny Plays Production Company,

17 Aug. 2017, Second Street Theater, Sacramento, CA.

MLA Works Cited Page Basics

From the Purdue OWL -

  • Begin your Works Cited page on a separate page at the end of your research paper. It should have the same one-inch margins and last name, page number header as the rest of your paper.
  • Label the page Works Cited (do not italicize the words Works Cited or put them in quotation marks) and center the words Works Cited at the top of the page.
    • Only the title should be centered. The citation entries themselves should be aligned with the left margin.
  • Double space all citations, but do not skip spaces between entries.
  • Indent the second and subsequent lines of citations by 0.5 inches to create a hanging indent.
  • List page numbers of sources efficiently, when needed. If you refer to a journal article that appeared on pages 225 through 250, list the page numbers on your Works Cited page as pp. 225-50 (Note: MLA style dictates that you should omit the first sets of repeated digits. In our example, the digit in the hundreds place is repeated between 225 and 250, so you omit the 2 from 250 in the citation: pp. 225-50). If the excerpt spans multiple pages, use “pp.”   Note that MLA style uses a hyphen in a span of pages.
  • If only one page of a print source is used, mark it with the abbreviation “p.” before the page number (e.g., p.157). If a span of pages is used, mark it with the abbreviation “pp.” before the page number (e.g., pp.157-68).
  • If you're citing an article or a publication that was originally issued in print form but that you retrieved from an online database, you should type the online database name in italics. You do not need to provide subscription information in addition to the database name.