Thea-tuh Playbills

If you grow up with an interest in theater (healthy or otherwise), and are lucky enough to live near (cue up Marty Short:) Broad-WAY (it’s all in the diaphragm), and have parents who also love the thea-tuh, you wind up seeing more Broadway shows at the age of 32 than most people do in a lifetime.  (Heck, if you go the BFA route, you wind up seeing more theater at this age than most people do movies.)  And if you keep programs, Playbills, scorecards, if you will, for these shows, you wind up with a paper trail.

In keeping with New Year’s resolutions (how often does one get to write that sentence?), yesterday I parted with most of those Playbills.  In fact, I threw out tons of programs: from off-Broadway shows, college days (Gnu Theater, Levin Theater, The Jameson Project), regional theaters (McCarter, George St., Trinity Rep), one August in Edinburgh (it’s actually quite impossible to estimate how many shows I saw at the Fringe), a semester in London (Ayckbourn, Coward and Beckett, oh my!), off-Broadway, off-off-Broadway, heck, off-off-off-Broadway (the more -offs, the better the friend in the show) and even Los Angeles (the Taper, the Kirk Douglas).  I cleaned house.  This isn’t to say, of course, a Broadway show is any better than any other show per se (I’ve seen compelling productions of varied plays such as Glengarry Glenn Ross, Design for Living and Three Sisters on both levels).  But I tried to keep only the best of the best.  (What else did I keep?  Any programs from any production I was involved in, often enough printed by yours truly.  For a split second I thought of keeping any program with anyone I knew in the production, but, really, when you go the BFA route, that’s not a possibility).  Below are lists of Playbills kept, Playbills discarded.

Not that there's anything wrong with it...

Does this solve my Playbill-clutter problem?  Eh, not really.  It starts anew: going to see The Understudy tonight.  Kept:

Sight Unseen (with the marvelous Laura Linney)

The Producers

Jelly’s Last Jam (with the late, great Gregory Hines)

Mrs. Klein (with the formidable Uta Hagen)


700 Sundays (don’t knock it…  Billy Crystal was a tour-de-force)

Long Day’s Journey Into Night (Brian Dennehey’s all over this list)

Medea (scariest piece of theater.  Ever.)

Hamlet (with Ralphe)

Guys & Dolls (with Faith Prince & Nathan Lane)

Our Town (with the late, great Spalding Gray)

12 Angry Men



Inherit the Wind (Dennehey vs. Plummer)

Spring Awakening

The Fansworth Invention (I know, I know…  but it’s Sorkin)

South Pacific

Avenue Q

August: Osage County

The Seagull

Our Town (off-Broadway now at The Barrow St. Theater: Go!)

Seriously, please go see this production!

Hamlet (with Jude)

The Tempest (with now-Sir Patrick Stewart)

Death of a Salesman (Dennehey, for the third time)

Chicago (way back when, revival cast)

Moon Over Buffalo

The Weir

Les Miserables

Side Man (best unknown play on this list, with a pre-Sopranos Edie Falco)

Cabaret (with the late, great Natasha Richardson)

Art (with Alan Alda)

Man of La Mancha (with the late, great Raoul Julia)

Bunny, Bunny (yup, best unknown play on this list)

A Funny Thing Happened On The Way to the Forum

Hughie (with some guy named Al Pacino)

Sweeney Todd

Glengarry Glenn Ross



Miss Saigon

Picasso at the Lapin Agile

The Drowsy Chaperone


Shining City


An Ideal Husband


Waiting in the Wings

Collected Stories


Putting it Together

The Invention of Love

Dinner with Friends

Young Man From Atlanta


How I Learned to Drive

The Capeman

Fishkin Touch

View from the Bridge

Damn Yankees

Wait until Dark

Starlight Excess


Tooth of a Crime

My Fair Lady


Streetcar Named Desire

Awake and Sing!

Sunshine Boys

Laramie Project

Here Lies Jenny

After the Fall

I am My Own Wife

Danny & the Deep Blue Sea

Old Acquaaintance

Sunday in the Park

Menopause the Musical

Boeing, Boeing

Waiting for Godot

In the Next Room


Noise off

Summer of ’42

Complete Works of Shakespeare (Abridged)

The Music Man


Movin’ Out

Lobby Hero


Big Bill

The goat, or Who Is Sylvia?

The Fantasticks

Regrets Only


Pacific Overtures

Dirty Rotten Scoundrels

Ring of Fire


Fame Becomes Me


The Crucible

Private Luves

Take Me out


Our Lady of 121st Street

My life with Albertine

Hedda Gobbler

Hedda Again

Gross Indecency

The Chairs


Tooth of the Crime

Sunset Blvd


The Little Foxes

Hotel suite

Ah, Wilderness!

The Old Neighborhood

Visitng Mr Green

Summer & Smoke

Taking sides

Three Sisters

Beauty Queen of Leenane

The Iceman of Cometh

Present Luaghter



3 Responses to “Thea-tuh Playbills”

  1. Becky Says:

    The Andrew Lloyd Weber dig is subtle but I love it.

  2. thiswaytotheegress Says:

    Love that you caught it, my friend!

  3. Lico Says:

    That’s an impressive list Wally, even for those constantly involved in theater. When I was working at the agency we actually tasked an in office floater with the job of filing the theater department playbills. One of the agents, Biff Liff, had just reached his 90th birthday and had playbills older than most of the assistants. All told the playbills took up more than 4 filing cabinets and a handful of binders for “special” playbills.

    The most interesting one? A special Playbill for Biff Liff specifically who is the only agent to ever have received a Tony award. I think it was a lifetime achievement award almost a decade or more before his 90th birthday and I think he’s still working.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: