Clear Channel Entertainment, the show business monolith behind such Broadway ventures as Sweet Smell of Success and The Producers, will launch a new theatre magazine, Show People, beginning this September.
The publication will be a quarterly. Patrick Pacheco, who is leaving his "Play by Play" column at New York Newsday, will edit the title. Anna Belluz is art director. Hailey Lustig—who has worked at Clear Channel, and the companies it replaced, Pace and SFX, as director of programming—will be the publisher of Show People. The first issue will be 68 pages long.
Lustig told Playbill On-Line that the mag will initially be available through subscription only and marketed to subscribers of Clear Channel's many theatre markets across the country. Lustig added that subscription seasons not run by Clear Channel have also shown interest in offering the publication to its patrons.
Show People also can be purchased through a website which will go live on June 1. It will eventually have a newsstand presence. Lustig said she hopes to increase the publication rate from four to six and then 10 times a year.
As for worries that a Clear Channel-backed book would only dwell on Clear Channel productions, Lustig cautioned, "This will not be a partisan magazine. It won't be about only Clear Channel shows. I don't think the first issue actually has one article about a Clear Channel show." What the first issue will have is feature-length stories about shows, including a cover story about a "hot new fall show." Other articles will visit artists at home; trace a day in the life of theatre practitioners; and interview non-theatrical people about cherished theatre experiences. London theatre will be covered and Village Voice gossip columnist Michael Musto will contribute a "top ten list." Playwright-journalist Paul Rudnick and director James Lapine will also furnish copy for the inaugural issue. Show People will not run reviews of shows.
"We are all champions of the theatre," said Lustig. "It's more a lifestyle magazine, frankly. We're pulling back the curtain on the theatre for the reader. We're celebrating the theatre." She cited InStyle, Rolling Stone and Vanity Fair as influences on the title.
Show People will be published in association with Forbes Custom Communications. Its initial print run will be 170,000.
The recent history of theatre-based magazines has been a sad one. At present, the only surviving print publications of note are American Theatre, the academia-flavored monthly which focuses on regional, nonprofit theatre; and Back Stage, a trade weekly read mainly for its casting notices.
Theater Week, a glossy weekly filled with celebrity profiles, reviews and columns, lasted 10 years before suddenly folding in 1996. From its ashes sprung InTheater, which used much the same format and many of the same writers. Its two-year existence ended in late 1999. Both were general interest magazines and failed to find a sizable audience or advertising base. Since then, new editorial ventures devoted to theatre have surfaced on the web, but not the newstand.
—By Robert Simonson