As mentioned in My Playbill Collection, some of my playbills have been received through fanmail or purchased. And some people probably have no idea what I'm talking about. Here I'm going to talk about some way to receive playbills for shows you love, but can't see.
1. Ask at the box office- If you're in New York and walking by a theater during the day, chances are the box office is open. You can ask the person working there if they have any playbills they can give you, sometimes they do and other times they don't. Another place to ask would be the stage door, providing you know where it is.
2. Fanmail- If you live outside of New York, or if you love a show but can't get to it, one of the easiest ways to get a playbill from the show is sending a letter to the stage manager. Simply asking for a signed playbill (or unsigned) and including another return envelope is an easy way to get playbills. Often times however, the show will ask you to donate to Broadway Cares/Equity Fights Aids (BC/EFA) if you're asked to do this, I would because the charity is very deserving. Some shows have a set donation amount, usually around twenty to twenty five dollars, but it can be as much as forty dollars.
3. eBay- If a show has closed or you want to find a playbill for a show you saw, but didn't keep the playbill from, this is an easy way to do so. Several playbills in my collection come from eBay, though I try to keep my playbill purchasing to a minimum.
4. Yard sales- If you're into collecting older playbills, often times a yard sale or a tag sale is the place to look. While it's harder to find them in New York, I've read stories about people who built part of their playbill collection from playbills they found at yard sales.
5. Playbill- Of course one of the best sources for playbills is the website of the same name. At the playbill store you can buy limited edition playbills, opening night playbills, and pride playbills, each usually costing around fifteen dollars, which is much cheaper then buying things on eBay. While I've never bought a playbills from the playbill store, I have bought my playbill binders there and can say confidently that you will get what you buy, and very quickly too.
6. See the show- While this is probably the most obvious, seeing shows is the best way to receive playbills and you get to experience the show for yourself. If you don't want to pay huge amounts of money to see the show, but still want to experience the magic of theater, there are rush lines, standing room tickets, and apps like TodayTix that make theater more accessible.
I hope this helps anyone wanting to start their own playbill collection! Remember that seeing shows is the best way, hands down, and you'll be able to have memories at the theater that will last a long time.