How Do Playbills Get Made? Take a Behind-the-Scenes Look With NY1

Industry News   How Do Playbills Get Made? Take a Behind-the-Scenes Look With NY1
NY1’s On Stage stopped by the Playbill plant to see how the company has preserved audiences’ theatergoing memories for over 100 years.
Marc J. Franklin

Playbills have served as a memento for theatregoers for over a century, with close to 1.6 billion issues being printed to date. But how do Playbills get from the press to audiences’ hands? NY1 recently paid us a visit to find out.

The full segment, which aired on NY1’s On Stage in May, is now online; take a look below.

“Playbills represent to a lot of people a treasure trove of memories,” says CEO and President Phil Birsh. “It’s all you really have after the show is over and the magic is fading as you walk out of the theatre. It’s very meaningful to a lot of people.”

READ: The Evolution of the Playbill Design From 1885–2018

Birsh succeeded his father, Arthur Birsh, as president in 1993, and with his son Alex joining as vice president in 2016, Playbill remains a family business. In the clip, the latter offers a look at Playbill’s publishing plant in Queens, walking NY1’s Frank Dilella through the whole process: from printing plates, to the presses, to the saddle stitcher, and beyond.

Playbill has put theatre in the hands of spectators since 1880s, and with the launch of in the ‘90s, continues to put theatre at audiences’ fingertips around the world. Editor in Chief Mark Peikert was also on hand to discuss the publication’s future steps in the digital age.

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