Tuesday, January 29, 2019

#MyBroadwayThing - Souvenir Programs

They say confession is good for the soul. Sharing my struggles with collecting all things Broadway with you has, in fact, been very cathartic. Today, I bring you #MyBroadwayThing for souvenir programs. They used to be the only merchandise thing I'd buy every time there was one for sale.

Tours or Broadway, if there was a logo emblazoned booklet, my money was at the ready. It all started innocently with a tour of A Chorus Line back in the early 80's. It was a show that changed my life, so naturally, I had to buy a program. It had a centerfold that opened to show the whole line. Then I bought the Mame revival program to commemorate my first Broadway show. I still wasn't buying them at every show. And then...

About a year later, I saw A Chorus Line again. The lady next to me had a program and was thumbing through it before the show started. I glanced over a few times.  It looked just like the one I already had. Until she got to the centerfold. It wasn't the same people on the line as in my program! (Of course it wouldn't be... I was so naive back then.) Well, I had to get one. And thus a new collection began.

Inside the brochures of The Band's Visit and Disney's Frozen

Inside Sunset Boulevard

I have many more than a hundred of them packed away in a box. I do have a few on my bookcase, and I do actually look through those probably twice a year. I've long since stopped collecting them regularly. Between shows that don't have them at all, and shows I see before they come out, my collection wouldn't be complete, anyway. Now, I just buy them occasionally, for shows that mean something extra special to me. My most recent purchases include Frozen (it is a huge, beautifully photographed book), The Band's Visit and Fun Home (both have very interesting articles and great photos, too), and the revivals of Sunset Boulevard (I have every other one they made - Glenn, Betty and the tour!) and Spring Awakening (a stunning production I don't ever want to forget).

Which brings me to the impetus for today's blog - my most recent program purchase - the 30th Anniversary The Phantom of the Opera brochure. Frankly, I can't believe it was only $25.  It is a large, thick book full of articles and color photos of the current cast and several pages on the original cast and history of the show. Now that the show is in its 31st year, I wonder how much longer they'll even have it.

The 30th Anniversary Company

Original Phantom, Michael Crawford (left)
Original costumes sketches by Maria Bjornson

Phantom anniversary artwork through the years.
This weekend, I'm seeing Hamilton and Harry Potter. I've already budgeted for both. They are both special productions, right?

(Photos by J. Kyler)


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