The first such volume will commemorate the 2004-05 theatre season. The product will resemble a high school or college yearbook, but "will celebrate the people who act in, write, produce, design and support the shows of Broadway," according to the announcement.
Philip S. Birsh, publisher of Playbill magazine and Playbill Books, said, "It is our hope that the Yearbook reflects all of the great people who work on Broadway and gives them a fun keepsake that will remind them, all their lives, of their participation and accomplishments on Broadway."
The comprehensive annual will feature not only photos of the performers who appeared on Broadway during a given season, but also shots of the creative teams, the producers, and the backstage crew. There will also be photos from theatre-related special events like the Tony Awards, "Broadway on Broadway" and "Gypsy of the Year."
Each production will get a chapter in the book. Materials will be drawn from Playbill’s own files, and from material provided by members of the company at each show.
The first edition will be published by Playbill Books in summer 2005, to cover the 2004-2005 season, and subsequent editions will appear annually thereafter.
The book will be available for purchase by all members of the cast and crew of each show, and will be made available to the public. The Playbill Broadway Yearbook will be compiled and edited by Robert Viagas, founding editor of Playbill On-Line and Theatre.com, program director of Playbill Broadcast, editor of the annual special Tony Awards Playbill, and editor of "At This Theatre," Louis Botto’s history of the Broadway theatres. Viagas’ other books include "On the Line: The Creation of A Chorus Line," "The Amazing Story of The Fantasticks" and the forthcoming "Back Stage Insider’s Guide to Broadway."
Assistant editor Amy Asch is a musical theatre historian and listing editor of Playbill On-Line. She is currently compiling "The Complete Lyrics of Oscar Hammerstein II."