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, to be savored over a lifetime and then passed on to friends and descendants. Playbill Books, a division of the iconic 125-year-old company that designs the programs for every show on Broadway, has expanded this idea into an annual project that is becoming a Broadway institution: The Playbill Broadway Yearbook. Taking the form of a college yearbook, the sixth edition is packed with photos (more than 4,000 of them, many in color) and memorabilia from the entire 2009-2010 Broadway season. The new edition includes chapters on 73 Broadway shows - that is, every show that ran during the season - not just the new shows like Million Dollar Quartet, American Idiot, Time Stands Still, and ENRON, but the long-running ones from seasons past, like Jersey Boys, Mamma Mia!, and Wicked. In addition to headshots of all the actors who appeared in Playbill, the book has photos of producers, writers, designers, stage managers, stagehands, musicians - even the ushers. This year's roster is expected to top 10,000 names. The Playbill Broadway Yearbook 2009-2010 includes a wealth of photos from Broadway insider events, including "Gypsy of the Year," "Broadway Bares," and the annual Broadway League softball championship. To top it all off, The Playbill Broadway Yearbook 2009-2010 has asked each production to supply a member of the cast or crew to serve as correspondent, to report on things that only those who worked backstage would know: opening night presents, who got the Gypsy Robe, daily rituals, celebrity visits, favorite health tips and regimens, memorable ad-libs, etc. Correspondents range from dressers and stage doormen to stage managers, dancers, featured players, and, in some cases, the star of the show.
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Robert Viagas (Mamaroneck, NY), is the founder of Playbill.com, host of Radio Playbill, editor of Louis Botto's At This Theatre, and author of books including I'm the Greatest Star!, The Alchemy of Theatre, The Back Stage Guide to Broadway, and On the Line: The Creation of A Chorus Line. The assistant editor is Amy Asch, archivist for the Oscar Hammerstein II and Jonathan Larson estates.
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