Podcast Episode 72 – The Papa of Playbill, Philip S. Birsh

Things that go together:  Peanut Butter & Jelly.  Sonny & Cher.  Hamilton & Tony Nominations.

But one partnership that may top them all is Broadway & Playbill.

It’s gotta be one of the longest and most successful partnerships between two separate entities in the entire world.

What would Broadway shows be like without that familiar “fits in a suit pocket or a pocketbook” mini-magazine with the cover as yellow as corn?

I talked about that with the President of Playbill himself, Mr. Philip S. Birsh.  In addition to the magazine, and the umpteen other theatrical ventures under the Playbill banners, we also chatted about . . .

  • Why he left a career on Wall Street to run Playbill (and what he learned from that world that he applied to ours).
  • How Playbill and the theater community worked together during the AIDS crisis.
  • They’ve got Design Your Own Playbills, Playbill Cruises . . . what’s next for the company and the fans???
  • Why Playbill doesn’t post reviews or have message boards.
  • Why producing is like horse racing.

Playbill, thanks to Mr. Birsh’s leadership, has always been a step ahead (they were the first to go online way back in the 90s).  Listen in to get a peek into the mind of the guy that just may know where we’re headed next, and how he keeps one of the oldest brands in the business feeling like one of the newest.

Enjoy the podcast!

Click here to listen.

Listen to it on iTunes here.  (And give me a rating, while you’re there!)

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Ken created one of the first Broadway podcasts, recording over 250 episodes over 7 years. It features interviews with A-listers in the theater about how they “made it”, including 2 Pulitzer Prize Winners, 7 Academy Award Winners and 76 Tony Award winners. Notable guests include Pasek & Paul, Kenny Leon, Lynn Ahrens and more.