The book I held in my hands last Tuesday had big, colorful pictures, glossy pages, advertisements galore, and many feature stories throughout. However, it was not a magazine. I sat high up in the mezzanine of the Gershwin Theatre on Broadway and West 51 Street, holding the playbill for the musical Wicked. After two long days of studying magazines in New York City, it was refreshing to examine a different type of publication. This specific playbill outlined the musical numbers throughout the play, as well as credited the cast, informing the audience which actor or actress played which character. Although these pages were the ones that the audience referred to most throughout the course of the play, the layout of these pages was extremely boring.
They were black and white, filled almost completely with text. The more visually appealing pages, were Q and A interviews with actors and feature stories promoting other, new Broadway musicals like Hedwig and the Angry Inch and The Cripple of Inishmaan. These pieces, although not paid for by other plays, resemble advertorials in a way because the content acts as advertisement for the other shows. The articles were extremely interesting; I read interviews with Neil Patrick Harris and Daniel Radcliffe before Wicked started as well as during intermission. Reading the articles made me want to go see the plays while I was in the city.
I had assumed that seeing Wicked would be a break from our magazine studies, but it only further reinforced the idea that magazines and advertisements are everywhere. The show was incredibly entertaining, and with the help of the playbill, I am now encouraged to see more shows next time I am in New York.