The Art of Playbill Collecting and Trading


You know those yellow-topped, purse-sized magazines you get when you see a play or a musical that give you some insight into who the cast and creatives are? Those are Playbills. In my experience, there are two kinds of theatergoers when it comes to Playbills: those who read the Playbills just as something to do before the show, then just leave them on the floor when they leave, and those who are the exact opposite and cherish every Playbill they own, even going as far to a bit after the show to pick up dropped ones. The latter kind of person is most likely a Playbill collector. Today, we’re going to dive deep into the intricate art of Playbill collecting, trading, and selling – and why people are so addicted to it.

Something about the idea of having a free keepsake from a 2 hour theatre piece is what draws people in to Playbill collecting. Like most collections, it starts small, with just one Playbill. In my personal experience, I just saved every Playbill from the few shows I had seen from the start. Then the rest of my family who had brought their Playbills home pawned them off on me, and from there I made a choice to work on growing my collection. So, if you want to start a Playbill collection just by seeing shows, give it time! Remember that even the largest collections started somewhere.

If waiting isn’t your style, it’s time to do some research into the vast world of Playbill trading and selling. Want a Playbill for a certain show that features a specific cast? Chances are, you can get one by trading one of your Playbills with another Playbill seller. Through negotiation, you can work out which one of your Playbills is of “equal value” to what one you want, payment, and shipment. If you’re looking to trade, make sure you do it through a reputable platform, such as Tumblr, BroadwayWorld Forums, or the Broadway subreddit. On the other hand, if you’re looking to just get of a Playbill or snag a couple extra dollars, you can sell you playbills instead. Ebay is the most common place for this.

Despite all the fun, having a large Playbill collection comes with a literal price: storage. Most hardcore Playbill collectors have one or more official Playbill binders – which are priced from a range of $15-$40 based on Playbill capacity – to keep them safe if they plan on displaying, trading, or selling them. But if you don’t have a large collection or the funds to practically secure your Playbills in a maximum security fortress, fear not! One storage option I used when I first started out Playbill collecting is an item everyone might have laying around the house: a shoe box. It sounds odd, but a regular old shoe box is the perfect size for at least 20 or so Playbills. If you store the box in a dry, room temperature climate, it should work out just fine. Make sure to upgrade your storage once your collection gets bigger, or you decide to sell or trade. Keeping your Playbills in the best condition possible is crucial to making a successful trade.

Whether you’re brand new to Playbill collecting and trading or you’re a seasoned pro, the most important thing to remember is don’t be intimidated. You’ll learn as you go. Have fun and get collecting!

And that’s it! Those are basics when it comes to maintaining a Playbill collection, and trading and selling. Was there anything I missed? What’s your favorite Playbill in your collection? Let me know in the comments!


One thought on “The Art of Playbill Collecting and Trading”

  1. I am selling vintage Playbill programs from Broadway shows. Many in 1950-1965, The list follows Selling the whole lot for $8-9 dollars each. thank you. David –
    1. Coco- Mark Hellinger The.- w/Katharine Hepburn
    2. Gypsy- St. James The. – w/Patti Lupone
    3. Hamilton – Richard Rogers Theat. w/Bryan Terrell Clark
    4. Camelot- Majestic Theatre- Richard Burton and Julie Andrews
    5. Funny Girl- Barbara Streisand
    6. A History of American Film
    7. National Repertory Theatre
    8. Lombardi
    9. Big Bad Burlesque
    10. Jesus Christ Superstar – Helinger theatre
    11. Dinner at Eight – Alvin Theatre
    12. Dracula – Belasco Theatre
    13. Chicago – Ambasador Theatre
    14. Sign in Sideny Brustein’s Window – Longacre Theatre
    15. Stones in his Pocket- Golden theatre
    16. The Underpants – Classic Stage company (Steve Martin)
    17. Ain’t Broadway Grand – at Lunt-Fontaine-
    18. A Patriot for Me – Imperial theatre- w/Maximilan Schell
    19. 14 Roscrantz and Gildenstern are Dead- at Eugene O’Neil – w/Brian Murray
    20. A Time for Singing- The Broadway Theatre- Ivor Emmaneul
    21. The Odd Couple – Plymouth Theatre- Eddie Bracken and Pat Hingle
    22. The Lion in Winter- Ambassador Theatre- w/Robert Preston/Rosemary Harris
    23. Lovers – The Music Box w/Art Carney
    24. Showcase Monthly Mag – Marlon Brando on Cover 1967
    25. I Do! I Do! 46th St. Theatre- Mary Martin/Robert Preston
    26. More Stately Mansions – Broadhurst Theatre- Ingrid Bergman/Collen Dewhurst
    27. You Know I Can’t Hear When Water’s Running- Ambassador theatre- w/Martin Balsam/Eileen Heckhart
    28. Celebration – Ambassador Theatre
    29. The Royal Hunt of the Sun – Anta Theatre- w/Robert Burr/David Carradine
    30. Ross – Hudson Theatre- w/John Mills
    31. Hostile Witness- The Music Box w/Ray Milland
    32. Mahogany – Anderson Theatre- Barbara Harris
    33. The Ninety Day Mistress- Biltmore Theatre- Dyan Cannon
    34. A Funny Thing Happened on Way to Forum- Majestic Theatre- w/Dick Shawn
    35. The Happy Time- The Broadway Theatre- w/Robert Goulet
    36. Barefoot in the Park – Biltmore Theatre- w/Eileen Heckert
    37. John and Harry – Film Bill/ Sutton- Dustin Hoffman/Mia Farrow
    38. Any Wednesday –George Abbot Theatre- George Gaines
    39. Follies- Winter Garden Theatre- Alexis Smith
    40. We Have Always Lived in the Castle- Ethel Barrymore Theatre- Shirley Knight
    41. The Apples Tree- Shubert Theatre- w/Alan Alda
    42. Souvenir- New York Theatre Company – w/Judy Kaye
    43. California Stuite- Eugene O’Neill Theatre – w/Jack Weston and Tammy Grimes
    44. Dear World – Mark Hellinger Theatre- w/Angela Landsbury
    45. Zorba – Imperial Theatre- w/Hershal Bernardi
    46. Very Good Eddie – Booth Theatre- David Christmas
    47. The Front Page- Ethel Barrymore Theatre- w/Robert Ryan and Molly Picon
    48. Before You Go- Henry Miller’s Theatre- w/Marian Seldes
    49. Man of LaMancha – Martin Beck Theatre- w/Bob Wright and Joey Fay
    50. Leonard Stillman’s new Faces of 1968- The Booth Theatre
    51. Applause – Palace Theatre- w/Lauren Bacall
    52. Minnie’s Boys- Imperial Theatre- w/Shelly Winters
    53. 1776 – 46th St. Theatre- w/William Daniels
    54. The King and I – Uris Theatre- Yul Brynner (2 Playbills)
    55. Sugar Babies – Mark Hellinger Theatre- Mikey Rooney/Ann Miller -2
    56. Jack Benny – Ziegfeld theatre-
    57. Luv- The Booth Theatre- w/Barbara Bell Geddes
    58. The Family Way – Walnut St theatre- w/Michael Kerney
    59. Too Good to Be True- 54th St. Theatre- Lillian Gish
    60. The Jockey Club Stakes- Cort Theatre- w/Wilford Hyde Wright
    61. Crystal and Fox McAlpin Rooftop Theatre
    62. Write Me Murder – Belasco Theatre- w/Kim Hunter
    63. Staircase – Biltmore Theatre- Eli Wallach
    64. The Little Black Book – Helen Hayes Theatre- w/Richard Benjamin
    65. Sunset – Minskoff Theatre- w/Ellan Paige
    66. Kiss of the Spider Woman – Broadhurst the. w/Chita Rivera
    67. Don’t drink the Water- Morosco theatre- w/Dick Libertini
    68. Torch Song Trilogy – The Little Theatre- w/Harvy Fierstein, David Orange
    69. Private Lives- Lunt Fontaine- w/Richard Burton/Liz Taylor- 2
    70. Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom- Royal Theatre-
    71. The Sound of Music – Mark Hellinger The- w/Nancy Dussault 2
    72. Walking Happy- Lunt Fontain Theatre. w/George Rose
    73. The Only Game in Town- Broadhurst The. w/Tammy Grimes and Barry Nelson
    74. Scapino –Ambassador The.- w/Jim Dale
    75. The Gingerbread Lady – Plymouth Theatre- w/Maureen Stapleton
    76. The Miracle Worker- The Playhouse – w/Susanne Pleshette and mary bell
    77. Mama- Winter Garden theatre. w/Angela Landsbury
    78. The Flipside – Booth Theatre- w/David McCallum
    79. Come Blow Your Horn- Brooks Atkinson the.- w/Lou Jacobi
    80. Summer and Smoke- Coronet Theatre- Anthony Vorno
    81. George M- Palae Theatre- w/David Black
    82. Rogers and Hart – Helen Hayes Theatre. –w/Tovah Feldshuh
    83. Illya Darling – Mark Hellinger The. w/Melina Mercouri
    84. Stones and Pocket – Golden Theatre-w/Sean Campion
    85. Forum – St. James Theatre—Nathan Lane and Mathew Broderick
    86. The Poison Tree—Ambassador Theatre- w/Cleavon Little
    87. Carmelina – St. James – w/Georgia Brown
    88. Amadeus – St. James Theatre.- w/Ian McKellen/Tim Curry
    89. Desire Under the Elms- St James- w/Brian Dennehey
    90. The Caine Mutiny- Circle in the Square- Michael Moriarty
    91. Drowsy Chaperone- marquis theatre/ w/Bob Sagat and Gerry Vichi -2
    92. All American – Winter Garden- w/Ray Bolger
    93. Mass Appeal – Booth theatre- w/Milo O’Shea
    94. Scrambled Feet- Charles Playhouse –
    95. Porky and Bess- Richard Rogers The. – Andra McDonald
    96. War Horse – Lincoln Center-
    97. Thrill Me- York Theatre- w/Nathan Leopold
    98. La Cage Aux Folles- Marquis the.- w/Robert Goulet
    99. Menopause, the Musical- Playhouse 91 –
    100. Marlene Dietrich- Mark Hellinger The.-
    101. Maggie Flynn- Anta theatre- w/Shirley Jones and Jack Cassidy
    102. Eating Raoul – union sq. the. w/Courtenoy Collins
    103. No Cure for Cancer- Actor’s playhouse- w/denis leary
    104. How to Succeed in business- Richard Rogers the.
    105. Picasso at the Lapin Argile – promenade the. /w steve martin
    106. Bus Stop – Circle in the Square- w/Michael Cullen
    107. Lion King- Minskoff the.
    108. Defiance – Man. Theatre club-
    109. Curtains- Al Hirschfelt the. –w/david hyde pierce
    110. Young Frankenstein – Hilton the, w/Mel brooks,roger bart
    111. Rent- Nederlander the. – w/
    112. Caberet – Roundabout the.- w/tony Robert, susan egan- 2
    113. Anything Goes- Lincoln center- w/Rex Everhard, Patti Lupone -2
    114. Beauty and the Beast – Lunt-Fontaine the.
    115. Riverdance – Gershwin theatre
    116. The Front Page- Ethel Barrymore the. – w Robert Ryan, peggy cass
    117. Sarava- colonial thea. – w/Tovah Feldshuh
    118. Teach Me How to Cry- Equity Library thea. – w/
    119. There’s a Girl in my Soup- Music Box thea. – w/Gig Young, Barbara Ferris
    120. Black Comedy- Barrymore thea.- w/Geraldine Page
    121. Jakyll and Hyde- Plymouth The. – w
    122. Legend – E. Barrymore thea.- w/F. Murray Abraham
    123. I do I do – 46th st. thea.- w/Robert Preston, Mary Martin
    124. Hadrian VII- Helen Hayes thea. –w/Alec McCowen
    125. Light up the Sky- Roundabout the. – w/Jason Alexander, peggy cass
    126. The Persecution and Assination of…
    127. Bette Midler- Radio City
    128. The Prime of Miss Jean Brody – Helen Hayes thea.- w/Zoe Caldwell
    129. Carnival – Imperial thea.- w/jerry orbach
    130. The seven descents of myrtle- E. Barrymore thea.- w/Estelle Parsons
    131. Cats- Winter Garden thea.
    132. THREE PENNY OPERA – Lucille Lortel the,-
    133. Scapin – roundabout- w/Bill Irwin
    134. Cat on a Hot Tin Roof- Eugene O’Neill the.- w/Kathleen Turner
    135. A Man for All Seasons- Anta Thea. – w/Paul Schofield
    136. Thieves- Shubert-
    137. Man of LaMancha- Palace theatre.- Richard Kiley
    138. Anything Goes-Lincoln Center- w/Greg Edelman, Leslie Uggams, Gerry Vichi
    139. Green Willow- Alvin The.- w/
    140. Once Upon a Mattress- Winter Garden The.- w/-
    141. The Tenth Man- Booth Theatre- Jack Gilford, Lou Jacobi
    142. The Unsinkable Molly Brown- Winter Garden The.- w/Tammy Grimes, Harve Pennel
    143. Come Summer- Colonial
    144. Theatre,- w/Ray Bolger
    Also separate sell
    15 Playbills about THIS WAS BURLESQUE
    10 Playbills on Summer Stock plays, etc.


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