For The Love of Playbills

One thing I look forward to receiving at a Broadway show is the Playbill. The Playbill tells you who is in the show, who wrote and produced the show, etc. In most theaters, the Playbills are handed out by the ushers when they show you to your seat. I like to save them all, and now I have a collection of over 200 Playbills.

Playbills are like a monthly magazines for theatergoers. Every month there are new articles which include interviews, Broadway news, upcoming shows, ads, and more. Inside the Playbill you will also find listings, photos and biographies of the cast, as well as biographies of writers, composers and the production team, along with a song list if you are seeing a musical. If it’s a play, the Playbill will tell you how long the play is. Sometimes there are slips inserted into the Playbills containing notes and updates of people who are performing at that show or if there are understudies or swings on. Don’t panic, the show will still be amazing! The slips may also let you know if someone new has joined the cast since the Playbill was printed.

The first Playbill was printed in 1884 for a single theatre on 21st Street in New York City. Now they are used at most Broadway and off-Broadway shows. My favorite thing to do with a Playbill is to get it signed by the cast after the show at the stage door. If you are unsure where the stage door is located, ask an usher or anyone working at the theater to direct you. Having the signatures of the cast members on your Playbill will make it even more special to you.


Do you want a Playbill from a show you have seen and lost or Playbills from shows that you have missed but wish you saw? Join the trading group I started on Facebook.

How many Playbills do you have and what do you like about them?

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