TheaterWeek. National Theatre Critics' Reviews. Show Business.
The past few years have not been kind to theatre magazines, such as the above three that ceased publication despite loyal readers and the ever increasing desire for theatre news and information.
Theatre lovers can take heart, however, in the news that a brand new magazine has arisen (partially from the ashes of TheaterWeek). Titled "InTheater," the Parker Publishing & Communications title hits the stands Sept. 12 (with an issue date of Sept. 22).
Fifty times a year, InTheater hopes to cover theatre across the country, plus London and Toronto, much as TheaterWeek did. Among the columnists will be theatre critic Alexis Greene and education columnist (formerly of TW) and Ken Mandelbaum, who will continue to write his column about cast recordings for Playbill On-Line. Both managing editor Michael Portantiere and senior editor John Hammond were TheatreWeek staffers.
Editor-in-chief Kathy Henderson told Playbill On-Line (Aug. 27) her greatest challenges involved getting the computer network running and "figuring out how to make the best use of the magazine's 48 pages." Henderson, who is excited about the fall Broadway season and has received many queries from interested writers, says she can't help but laugh when people come up to her at dinner parties and ask, "Gee, is there enough to fill 48 pages a week?" Two weeks earlier, as she was planning the first issue, Henderson told Playbill On-Line, "Scott Russo has our design all ready, which I love. The big story is Ken Mandelbaum's fall preview, plus our super-duper cover story. Alexis Greene will have reviews in there, plus Mark Shenton reporting from London. We'll also have an interview with Faith Prince by Adam Kelly, and an "issues" piece, either about the NEA, dramaturgy or Circle In The Square...that's still being worked on."
Henderson said the first front cover will have a photo taken at Sardi's with one person from every Broadway show except Barrymore. Stars at the shoot included Joel Grey, Julie Harris, Faith Prince, Tom Aldredge, Chuck Wagner, Robert Cuccioli, Tom O'Leary and Baakari Wilder. The magazine will also feature interviews with the stars about their dreams and their careers on Broadway.
The interior of the magazine will be black and white but glossy. "The first issue has 56 pages," said Henderson. "Normally there'll be 48. There'll be a front-of-book section of little news and short features. I want it to look like a consumer magazine for theatre lovers. Every time you read it, you should find something you didn't know." The magazine will come out 50 times per year, $3 per issue, $52 a year via subscription.
Asked how "InTheater" might differ from late, lamented TheaterWeek, Henderson replied, "I hope the general quality of the feature writing will be a bit higher. The kinds of things you'd expect if you pick up a top magazine; not puffy. On the other hand, I'm someone who loves theatre, so I'm not looking to put anyone down. That doesn't mean it has to read like a press release. I also want lots of pictures. How can you truly capture the theatre without production and historic photographs? It should look like a feature magazine. It's great to have something glossy on the newsstands that publicizes theatre and lets people know what's going on."
Publisher Michael A. Parker said, "Our company has a tremendous asset that the others did not--our Chaiman and co-owner, Richard Parker. Pick up any publishing trade magazine and you'll know why; my father has been running Bauer Publishing's (Europe's largest publishing firm) North American headquarters for nearly 19 years. In the 1970's, he was circulation director for all of Murdoch Magazines."
Theatregoers interested in "InTheater" can call (212) 719-9777 after Aug. 20 for information on the magazine.
--By David Lefkowitz