That's what BroadwayWorld.com had to say about the "The Playbill Broadway Yearbook." The tenth annual edition, covering the 2013-14 season, is now available online and hitting book stores across the U.S. with 470 pages and more than 4000 photos, most of them in color, with chapters for each of the 71 shows that ran on Broadway between June 1, 2013, and May 31, 2014.
Critic Naomi Plume said the Yearbook was "beautifully designed and handsomely put together. Essential for any theatre buff’s collection or school library. Chock full of info – shows, actors, backstage, front-of-house …. It’s all here … and more. Oh yeah … and photos, photos, photos! This book is CRAZY! Don’t even THINK about not ordering this @ playbill.com."
She joins the Hollywood Reporter's Robert Osborne, who wrote of the first edition, "It is such a magnificent idea, and such a valuable one for theater buffs, it is a wonder it has taken this long to happen. Mark this down as a new essential for anyone who loves, and follows, today's theater scene."
Many of the people who work on Broadway keep scrapbooks of their experiences: photos, signed posters, ticket stubs, and, of course, Playbills. These are treasured keepsakes, something to be savored over a lifetime, and then passed on to friends and descendants. Playbill Books has expanded this idea into a project that it hopes will become a Broadway institution. "The Playbill Broadway Yearbook" takes the form of a high school or college yearbook, packed with photos and memorabilia from the entire season.
There is a separate chapter for every show that ran during the season — not just the new shows, but the long-running ones from seasons past as well. In addition to all the headshots of all the actors who appeared in the Playbill programs, the book has photos of producers, writers, designers, stage managers, stagehands, musicians and, in many cases, the ushers and box-office people as well. The goal was to include as many of the faces that worked on Broadway as made themselves available. And that's not all. "The Playbill Broadway Yearbook" includes a wealth of photos from Broadway insider events, including "Gypsy of the Year," "Easter Bonnet," "Broadway Bares" and even the annual Broadway League softball championship in Central Park. As a special treat, the Yearbook includes photos of opening-night curtain calls from many shows, plus many candid photos taken backstage by members of the casts themselves.
And, like any good yearbook, "The Playbill Broadway Yearbook" has a "Faculty" section featuring photos of producers, publicists, union leaders and the staffs of theatre organizations like Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS and The Actors Fund.
To top it all off, The Playbill Broadway Yearbook has found a correspondent working on nearly every production to report on things that only those who worked backstage would know: opening-night presents, who got the Gypsy Robe, daily rituals, favorite snack foods, celebrity visits, memorable ad-libs—all the little things that will make memories come alive again 10, 20, 30 years down the road. Correspondents range from dancers and stage managers, to understudies, featured players, and sometimes even one of the leading players. Among some of the best known this year: Tony winner Lena Hall (Hedwig and the Angry Inch), Tony nominee Rick Cordero (Bullets Over Broadway), Tony nominee Lesli Margherita (Matilda), Tony nominee Bobby Steggert (Mothers and Sons), “Dancing With the Stars” dancer Karina Smirnoff, Carmen Ruby Floyd (After Midnight) and Tony nominee Tom McGowan (Casa Valentina).
New this year: The 10th annual Yearbook features a map of midtown Manhattan, showing not just the Broadway theaters, but all locations mentioned in the book.
Click through for a sampling of Scrapbook entries:
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