You too can have your own Playbill.

For an org with one of the biggest brands in the Broadway market, Playbill sure ain’t resting on its hind heels.  In the past 12 months, the company behind the familiar program-with-the-yellow-stripe, has added the following added features to what they do:

The Playbill Vault:  “The Largest Broadway Database on the Internet”
PlaybillPro:  “Your Online Index to the Theatrical World”
The Playbill Memory Bank:  “An E-Scrapbook Of Your Favorite Broadway Memories”

And yesterday, they announced yet another e-project (and the coolest and farthest reaching yet),

What’s PlaybillVIP?  Well, it’s a “Do It Yourself Playbill” for high schools, colleges, amateur and community production around the country world.  That’s right, your high school’s production of Hello Dolly can be promoted using the Playbill brand.

The Playbill is actually created online and can be shared electronically, and can also feature video, local ads and more.

Cost of the service for your community theater production of Urinetown starring your Mayor?  Zippo.  Free.  ($50 donation to a triumvirate of theatrical charities required to print it.)  They could have easily charged theaters all sorts of fees for the right to its monopolistic trademark.  But they didn’t.

Why this mammoth online expansion by Playbill?  Maybe they realized that the printed Program’s days are numbered, like books (see yesterday’s blog).  Maybe they are looking to deliver more impressions to their many Broadway advertisers?  Maybe they think it will continue to develop young audiences around the country?

All of those are true.  But frankly who cares.  Consumers are going to eat this up.

I mean, wouldn’t you want your dinner theater production of Shawshank Redemption The Musical to be served up with a Playbill?

(For the record, there is no Shawshank musical being developed, and there probably shouldn’t be, so . . . )


(Got a comment? I love ‘em, so comment below!  Click here then scroll down to say what’s on your mind!)

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  • John Hassig says:

    If they DID make a musical version of Shawshank (SILENCE! style) I have a few song title suggestions.

    1. Hiding A Hole…In My Heart
    2. Easy Peasy Japaneesy (the prison Library tap dance number)
    3. My Wife And Her Lover (The Taxman Lament)
    4. My Secret Box In Buxton

    Just a few ideas…

  • Of course, “The Shawshank Redemption” scans to “The Rainbow Connection,” so…

  • Providing playbills for free is a smart move; you’re completely right. Playbill is cooperating with the times, providing soon to be obsolete products for no $$. It’s like what the smart record labels did back when music started becoming so accessible (free and downloadable). Instead of fighting it or putting up a stink, comply. “Give them what they want” and they’ll make room in the business for other money making ideas and be even more profitable via a more relevant method. I’m glad to see Playbill going with the flow!

  • Kristi R-C says:

    I don’t think Playbills will ever be obsolete.

    First, Equity has requirements about bios. Second, producers, creatives, and all the folks behind the scenes want and deserve appropriate billing in a tangible form. Third, there are too many folks like myself who keep them from every show they go to.

    How would you get the stars to autograph an e-program on your cell phone?

  • dpquinn says:

    Having saved Playbills for over 40 years, I finally let some go w/my last move. But there are gems like
    Hello Dolly w/Phyllis Dillar, the 1 night stands of GANTRY w/Rita Moreno; BILLY; flops like DEAR WORLD, INQUEST !; CELEBRATION; INDIANS; FOLLIES (the original show); Janis Paige as MAME !!!; I DO I DO w/Goulet in HAPPY TIME !!

  • Philip Birsh Publisher Playbill says:

    Thanks Ken,
    We built this site to help high schools, colleges, amateur and community production around the country AND world to help fund raising and audience building. The VIP (Virtual Internet Playbill) is a great fundraising tool because the kids can sell virtual and printed ads to help cover the costs of their productions. The social media part will help them build audiences. The Templates for building a Playbill will take the anguish out of preparing a Playbill for printing. (We know how hard that is..) Our hope is for more people using our many websites and the continued building of our brand. Thanks for the kinds worlds and whatever you do, dont’t pursue the Shawshank idea. ANYONE!

  • We stumbled over here coming from a different website and thought I may as well check things out. I like what I see so now i am following you. Look forward to looking at your web page repeatedly.

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