Infobox Magazine
title = Playbill

image_size = 200px
image_caption = The cover of the Playbill issue for The Producers.
editor = Judy Samelson
editor_title =
frequency = Monthly
circulation = 3,896,000 monthly [ [ Average Circulation] ]
category = Theatre
company = Playbill, Inc.
publisher = Philip S. Birsh
firstdate = 1884
country = USA
language = English
website = []

"Playbill" is a monthly U.S. magazine for theatregoers. Although there is a subscription issue available for home delivery, most "Playbill"s are printed for particular shows to be distributed at the door. Articles within the "Playbill"s change monthly to reflect new shows and artists performing in plays, musicals or special attractions; this wraparound section is the same for all Playbills across all venues at any given time. Within this wraparound, "Playbill"s contain a cast list, cast photos, cast biographies, song lists and who performs the songs (if a musical), and a list of scenes for the particular show.

"Playbill" was first printed in 1884 for a single theatre on 21st St. The publication is now used for nearly every Broadway show, as well as many off-Broadway productions. Outside New York, "Playbill" is used at theatres throughout the United States, including in Boston; Chicago; Cincinnati; Columbus, OH; Dallas; Houston; Indianapolis; Los Angeles; Miami; Minneapolis; Philadelphia; Phoenix; Pittsburgh; St. Louis; San Diego; San Francisco; and Washington, DC. Circulation is currently just below 4,000,000, comparable to magazines such as "Time."

Many "Playbill"s are considered collector's items, especially if signed by a performer in the show. On the opening night of a Broadway show, "Playbill"s are stamped with a seal on the cover. The opening night date appears on the title page within the magazine. Special "Opening Night" "Playbill"s can also be purchased on the "Playbill" website. These are sealed in a bag and have an "Opening Night" seal on the front page.

Other media

From the late 1990's, "Playbill" has operated, a free internet news service which offers breaking news about the theatre industry, focusing on New York shows but including regional, touring and international stage happenings. It is read by show fans and theatre practitioners alike, and is updated as news happens. It also houses discount ticket offers for its members.

In 2006, "Playbill" began releasing records on Playbill Records, an imprint of SonyBMG. Releases included Brian Stokes Mitchell's eponymous solo CD and two compilations of show tunes: "Scene Stealers, The Men" and "Scene Stealers, The Women."

In 2007, "Playbill" introduced Playbill Radio ( [] ), a new 24-hours-a-day Broadway music station. The new entity features news, podcasts, and a musical library of over 20,000 titles.

Competition with "Stagebill"

For decades, "Playbill" concentrated on legitimate Broadway and Off-Broadway theaters, while [ "Stagebill"] focused on concerts, opera, and dance in venues such as Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall. [ [ "Broadway World" Message Board] ] However, by the late 1990s, "Playbill" was extremely profitable; "Stagebill" was not, losing millions of dollars annually by 1998. [Jeff Garigliano, [ "Stagebill buyer seeks a better performance: Fred Tarter interview"] in"Folio: The Magazine for Magazine Management," 15 March 1998.] To increase revenue, "Stagebill" entered "Playbill's" "turf": The aforementioned "truce" was first broken in 1995 when the The Public Theatre quietly defected to "Stagebill," and more noisily in 1997, when Disney contracted "Stagebill" for their musical "The Lion King" at their newly-owned New Amsterdam Theatre.Claude Brodesser, Oliver Jones, [ "Melodrama at Met"] in "Variety," 9 March 1999.] The main point of contention in the latter case was control over advertising content: "Playbill" itself is distributed free to theaters, relying on advertising revenue that is completely under its authority, whereas per company policy, Disney required a program without cigarette or liquor ads.Jonathan Mandell, [ "Theater's memory bank expands"] in "The New York Times," 25 August 2002.]

Taking umbrage at "Stagebill's" upstart incursion, "Playbill" began to produce "Showbill," a sister publication that allows greater advertising control for the show's producers, for a fee. [ [ "Broadway World" Message Board] ] Now with an alternative option, Disney switched from "Stagebill" to "Playbill's" "Showbill" for "The Lion King" late in its run at the New Amsterdam. (Ironically, when the musical moved to the Minskoff Theatre, which Disney does not own, it was obligated to use "Playbills," as are other Disney productions at other theaters. [ [ "Broadway World" Message Board] ] ) The Ford Center for the Performing Arts also commissioned "Showbill" for their inaugural production of "Ragtime", presumably to keep out other automakers' ads. [ [ "Broadway World" Message Board] ] In a different circumstance, the producers of the Broadway revival of "Cabaret" wished to maintain the atmosphere of a sleazy nightclub at its Studio 54 venue, and insisted on handing out "Playbill"s "after" the performance. "Playbill," sensing missed exposure for its advertisers, offered the show's producers "Showbill" instead. [ [ "Broadway World" Message Board] ]

Additionally, "Playbill" responded further by producing publications for classic arts venues, aggressively courting many venues that "Stagebill" once controlled. In the spring of 2002, "Playbill" successfully signed Carnegie Hall; this milestone was bookended by the earlier acquisition of the valuable Metropolitan Opera program and the ensuing contract with the New York Philharmonic—both tenants of "Stagebill's" erstwhile stronghold Lincoln Center. (With the acquisition of the programs for performing arts venues, "Playbill" broke from their typical format and began publishing completely customized programs in the vein of "Stagebill.") This coupled with continuing fiscal mismanagement signaled the end of "Stagebill" as a publishing entity: Later that year, "Stagebill" became insolvent after five years of head-to-head competition with "Playbill," which then acquired outright the "Stagebill" trademark. [Robert Hofler, [ "Playbill" corners legit market"] in "Variety," 9 June 2002.]


External links

* [ Official website of "Playbill" magazine]

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Playbill — Saltar a navegación, búsqueda Playbill es una revista mensual estadounidense para aficionados al teatro. Aunque hay una edición disponible por subscripción para entrega a domicilio, muchos Playbills son impresos para los espectáculos en un… …   Wikipedia Español

  • playbill — playbill; Playbill; …   English syllables

  • Playbill — Play bill , n. A printed programme of a play, with the parts assigned to the actors. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • playbill — (n.) also play bill, 1670s, from PLAY (Cf. play) (n.) + BILL (Cf. bill) (n.1) …   Etymology dictionary

  • playbill — [plā′bil΄] n. 1. a poster or circular advertising a play 2. a program of a play, listing the cast, staff, etc …   English World dictionary

  • playbill — UK [ˈpleɪˌbɪl] / US noun [countable] Word forms playbill : singular playbill plural playbills old fashioned a printed advertisement for a play …   English dictionary

  • Playbill —    Printer Frank Vance Strauss established a company to produce programs for New York theatrical productions in 1884. These programs were of the four page variety typical of the period, but in 1911 Strauss created a longer format filled with… …   The Historical Dictionary of the American Theater

  • playbill — noun Date: 1616 a bill advertising a play and usually announcing the cast …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • Playbill — trademark used for a theater program …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • playbill — /play bil /, n. a program or announcement of a play. [1665 75; PLAY + BILL1] * * * …   Universalium

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