• A type of comic opera or musical farce that provided a legalloophole for unlicensed theaters in the mid-18th and 19th centuries.Under British law, any three-act play with a minimum of five songswas considered a burletta and could be performed in an unlicensedtheater. Playwrights thus took any drama, including Shakespeare'sworks, adapted the length and added enough songs and dances to meetthe criteria. The burletta disappeared from the playbills when theminor theaters were freed from strict licensing laws by the 1843 TheatresAct.