How Does Playbill Choose Our Covers? | Playbill

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Photo Features How Does Playbill Choose Our Covers?

A behind-the-pages look on how a Playbill is put together.

Josh Groban, J. Harrison Ghee, and D'Arcy Carden

One of my jobs as Playbill's Editor in Chief is to put together the articles that go into the Playbills every month—the articles I hope that you all are reading as you're waiting for a show to start or when you're riding home on the subway. It's one of the more fun parts of my job and I take it very seriously. Because unlike other magazines or newspapers, people keep Playbills for years and years. They become keepsakes and something to hang on the wall.

I like to imagine that years from now, people will reopen their old Playbills and get a snapshot of what was happening on Broadway at that moment in time. 

And did you know that Playbills aren't just available in a theatre? You can also get Playbills delivered to you.

We call the Playbills that we deliver to people's homes the Subscription issue. These Playbills are a tad different from the Playbills you receive in a theatre. The Subscription issue does include all the articles that are available in our Broadway Playbills. But you also get bonus articles, special theatre-themed quizzes and games, and a listing of every currently-running Broadway show and national tour.

But the pièce de résistance of the Playbill subscription issue, in my opinion, is the cover. Working with Playbill's Photo Editor/Photographer Heather Gershonowitz, we make sure that most of the imagery in the Playbill is shot exclusively by us. As the biggest theatrical publication in America, we want to make our most popular product, our print magazine, the glossiest and most beautiful representation of Broadway. 

So we have some fun with it. For the covers of those subscription issues, we've done everything from shooting Josh Groban in a barbershop to going on a rooftop with Lindsay Mendez. Then we mock up a few cover options with Playbill's Art Director Kesler Thibert to see what looks best. 

I also work with Kesler to make sure every article that goes in the Playbill looks just right. After it all gets proofread and fact-checked, we send off the approved pages to the Playbill printing plant in Woodside, Queens where it becomes the magazine that you receive in your hands.

Peruse the 2023 Subscription covers below to see what I'm talking about.

All of the Playbill Subscription Covers From 2023

Now, I want to note that Playbill does not control the show art for individual Broadway productions, nor what people choose to include in their bios (though we do sometimes advise).

But, as you can sense from this thorough explanation, putting together a Playbill is something like putting together a production. It involves many people working together to create a beautiful, physical product. Though thankfully on our part, there's no singing and dancing.

If you love the look of these subscription Playbills with their special covers, you can purchase them at the Drama Bookshop in Manhattan or the Museum of Broadway gift shop. Or if you're out of town and don't make it to a Broadway theatre every month, you can purchase a subscription to get the magazines delivered to your home. 

We hope you read them, look at the photos, and cherish them for years to come. After all, theatre is ephemeral, but Playbills last...a few dozen years at least if you preserve them properly. 

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