PLAYBILLder has been bringing the Broadway experience to local communities for the better part of a decade with our easy-to-use online tool that makes building custom Broadway-quality programs as simple as filling out a few forms. Since launching, PLAYBILLder has been used to bring authentic Playbill programs to school and community theatre productions across all 50 states and around the world.
But our users, as it turns out, don’t just want to bring Playbill to their local theatrical productions. Because our templates are fully customizable, Broadway fans have been able to use PLAYBILLder to build programs for the dream revival of their favorite show, design family newsletters with theatrical flair, and create Broadway-themed programs for special events like birthdays, weddings, bar mitzvahs, and, yes, even funerals. Especially as many theatres remain shuttered worldwide to curb the spread of COVID-19, PLAYBILLder might just be one of the best ways to get that theatrical fix you’ve been craving.
Want to get started creating your own non-traditional Playbill program? These tips will get your wheels turning!
Just like Broadway programs, PLAYBILLder’s cover template is essentially a large photo underneath the iconic Playbill header. The photo space is a great spot for a recent family photo, a picture of the birthday boy or girl, or original artwork.
Pro-Tip: Don’t forget that the text underneath the Playbill logo is customizable too. If you’re planning an event with a venue, you can go traditional and use that space to list the location of your event. You can also use this spot for a brief message like “Happy Birthday!” or “Happy Holidays from the Smith Family.” If you want this area to look exactly like a Broadway Playbill program, use size 16 Arial font and type in all caps.
The billing page in a theatrical program is similar to the title page of a book. A typical billing page has the title of the show and all of the major names involved with making it happen, including actors, producers, writers, and creative team.
This page will likely look slightly different if you’re not creating a program for a show, but it’s still good to think about it as your event’s title page. Let us know what you’re celebrating and who has planned the event.
Pro-Tip: The cover is the only template in PLAYBILLder that is required for you to use. If there are sections you don’t have use for, just skip them—they won’t appear in the public and/or printed versions of your program. Which templates to use is entirely up to you.
Cast and Song Lists
Both the Cast and Songs templates are lists, but you are not limited to listing people or songs—anything you’d like to list will look perfect in these templates. You can use the cast template to list the wedding party for a wedding program, or to list family members for a family newsletter. The songs list could be used to show songs from a favorite playlist of yours, or even a special playlist that your event’s DJ will be using.
Pro-Tip: If you don’t have many items to add to these lists, remember to use the Optional Filler Content area. This allows you to fill blank space at the bottom of the page with anything you choose, like photos or other text. If you’ve used the template to list out the songs in a favorite playlist, make a QR code that links to the playlist on Spotify and use the Optional Filler Content to put it at the bottom of the page!
In a theatrical program, this section is where you find artists’ headshots and biographies. For non-theatrical programs, the Who’s Who template is great for telling us a little more about the people involved with the event. If you’re building a family newsletter, it’s also a good spot for each family members’ latest accomplishments and updates.
Pro-Tip: Planning a family photo for the family newsletter? Have your photographer take solo shots of each family member to use in this template.
No matter how you intend to use your program, the Photos template is a must. PLAYBILLder has the ability to add full page, 1/4 page, 1/2 page, and 1/3 page-sized photos, all with the ability to add captions as well. This template helps transform your program into a memento that will be held onto forever by anyone who receives it.
End Notes, Acknowledgments, and Optional Content
All PLAYBILLder templates are fully customizable, but these three are the most open-ended, essentially blank slates for whatever you want to create. With a toolset that resembles word processing software like Microsoft Word or Google Docs, these templates are perfect for letters, poems, essays—virtually anything you can think of. And these templates don’t have to be just text; you can add photos to these sections as well. All three templates can also extend over multiple pages if you find you’ve got lots to say.
Sharing Your Program
PLAYBILLder has lots of options baked in for sharing programs. For full Broadway authenticity, can use our budget-priced professional printing service to get pro-grade physical copies of your program delivered.
If you’re looking to share your program digitally, PLAYBILLder will generate a share link. Anyone with the link will be able to view your program on PLAYBILLder.com, even without creating an account. Only published sections appear in the public version of your program, meaning no one will see your work until you’re ready.
You can also purchase a PDF copy of your program, which gives you access a file that you are free to distribute any way you like. Email it directly to recipients, embed it into a website, or print out your program from your home printer. If you notice any typos after generating your PDF, you can re-generate the PDF after making edits for no charge.
To get started building your own custom Playbill program, visit PLAYBILLder.com.
Did you create a unique Playbill program with PLAYBILLder? We want to see! Post pictures of your work on Instagram and tag @playbill and #PLAYBILLder. You might just see your program featured on Playbill.com!