Playbill Senior Editor Louis Botto, who has been covering the theatrical scene for decades, makes a rare appearance at The Drama Book Shop on Oct. 7.
One of Broadway's master storytellers, and possessor of a memory filled to brimming with theatre lore, Botto will be on hand to celebrate the release of his newly updated edition of "At This Theatre: Playbill's 100 Years of Broadway Shows, Stories and Stars."
During the evening at the Drama Book Shop's Arthur Seelen Theatre — 5 to 7 PM — Botto will recount some of the many stories depicted in the revised and expanded version of his famed book. Attendees can expect to hear the noted writer discuss some of his favorite luminaries: Ethel Merman, Carol Channing, Tallulah Bankhead, Katharine Hepburn and more, most of whom he knew.
Playbill Broadcast Program Director Robert Viagas, who edited "At This Theatre," will also take part in the celebration, which is free and open to the public. Seating is limited for the event; those interested should call (212) 944-0595 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for reservations. The Drama Book Shop and the Arthur Seelen Studio Theatre are located at 250 West 40th Street (between 7th and 8th Avenues).
From 5 to 6 PM, Botto will read excerpts and take questions from the audience. This part of the event will take place in the Drama Book Shop's Downstairs Theatre, which seats 100. Reservations are strongly encouraged and may be made by calling the Drama Book Shop at 212-944-0595. At 6 PM, the book signing will begin upstairs, all are welcome, no reservation required.
The ultimate backstage tour of Broadway, "At This Theatre" (Applause Books) is a complete history of Broadway theatre in the twentieth century. Boasting a preface by Tony Award winner Brian Stokes Mitchell, the revised version of "At This Theatre" features more than 400 illustrations: production photographs, Playbill covers, souvenir books, sheet music and drawings.
Born in Union City, NJ, Botto contributed lyrics and revue sketches to such shows as New Faces and Shoestring Revue. He was a senior editor at Look magazine for the final ten years of that publications life, and has written for the New York Times Magazine, The Daily News Magazine and Ladies Home Journal. He has been a senior editor of Playbill since the 1980s.
—By Andrew Gans