In honor of's premiere on PBS Sunday, September 9, 2012 at 8/7C, John Bruno shares his thoughts on collecting from the Great White Way:
From autographs and Playbills, to posters and ticket stubs, to soundtracks and drawings, to costumes and notes, the field of Broadway ephemera is vast and varied. And Broadway ephemera is mostly affordable – the majority of pieces cost under $100. It’s not until one gets into the very rare, famous or obscure that prices begin to climb.
Broadway ephemera is also fairly easy to find – virtually every antique store will have some Broadway related items, such as Playbills, and there are a plethora of websites dedicated to the sale of this memorabilia.
One of the fun aspects of collecting Broadway Ephemera that my wife Tina and I enjoy is the search for an artist’s early work – it’s way cool to find an early obscure play starring someone like Marlon Brando or Angela Lansbury.
Even better, try to find something from an early work by a current star – then have her or him autograph it at a current show. Tina likes to do this and she gets a great reaction from the actors along with lots of fun comments!
It's not just the vintage end of collecting…you can be assured that ephemera from today’s Broadway and Off-Broadway shows will be tomorrow’s collectibles. So be sure to hold on to your Playbills and ticket stubs – try to get them autographed and, who knows, you just might have a treasure in 35 years or so!
The best part of collecting today’s Broadway ephemera is that you get to enjoy the performance while holding on to a piece of the experience…sort of like having your cake and eating it too!
Collecting Broadway ephemera – whether vintage or new or a combination – is fun, exciting, rewarding, and very, very hip. From drama to comedy to musicals to Shakespeare, it’s a chance to tread the boards – by proxy to be sure – but you can almost smell the greasepaint!
Take a look at, and watch as the pickers scour the !