Talkin' BroadwayV.J.

"Show People" Magazine
by Nancy Rosati

Theatre fans have been eagerly awaiting the first issue of "Show People" ever since last May's announcement that Clear Channel Entertainment was creating the magazine in a joint effort with Forbes Custom Communications. Patrick Pacheco, former theatre columnist for the Long Island newspaper Newsday, was named Editor-in-Chief and press releases promised the "first-ever lifestyle magazine focusing on the art and business of live theater."

The premiere issue is now in the hands of subscribers and in a few theatre shops in NYCC. According to publisher Hailey Lustig of Clear Channel, "There was definitely a need for this magazine. The inception came out of us looking for theatre magazines to point out to our subscribers and there weren't any. It seemed like the natural next step for us to create one." They sought out a partner and struck a deal with Forbes.

Although the magazine is free to all subscribers of Clear Channel's "Broadway Across America" series, Hailey claims it will not merely be a promotional vehicle for their shows. "It's definitely a non-partisan look at theatre. Our first cover has Hairspray, which is not a Clear Channel show. The content runs the gamut from lifestyle pieces to think pieces, to stories about shows and the people who make the theater come alive. We're going to concentrate on Broadway, Off-Broadway, the West End, and the road. In certain issues we'll highlight different cities and different regions. It's not just a Broadway vehicle and it's certainly not just a magazine for the road. We're going to be exploring the new shows. We'll be having a Tony issue. We'll be highlighting the new shows in the West End that will eventually make their way to Broadway or to the road. We want to provide an interesting read for our subscribers and the only way to capture an audience is to give them a real serving of what's happening in the theatre arena."

The magazine will be printed quarterly, which means they are not looking to provide immediate news. "Sites like Talkin' Broadway and the other online resources give you the instant hits —what's happening right now, who's fallen out, who's being cast. Our magazine is going to be timely, but as a quarterly it's going to have a longer shelf-life. The information will be newsworthy but it won't be of-the-minute.

"We're hoping to have really high caliber contributors. Certainly our first issue set a high benchmark for us [Julie Andrews, Spalding Gray, Paul Rudnick, Dick Cavett, and Joan Marcus]. Because we're already working on the December issue, I know that the caliber of contributors is going to continue to exceed itself with each issue. I'm thrilled with the response from the community. The Broadway community has been so amazing in their overwhelmingly generous response to this. They see that it's something that will be a good platform for them."

One major coup was having Dick Cavett interview Nora Ephron, playwright of the upcoming Broadway show Imaginary Friends. It was on Dick Cavett's TV show in 1980 that Mary McCarthy viciously attacked Lillian Hellman, thus inspiring the plot of Imaginary Friends. Hailey calls the story "vintage Patrick Pacheco" and promises more articles of that type.

Each magazine will have a photo essay on different aspects of the theater. September's issue covers young actors including Sally Murphy, Chris Wheeldon, David St. Louis, and Raul Esparza. Michael Crawford's love of sailing and wine can be found in "Personal Passions," and there is a pictorial shopping spree with Kristin Chenoweth. Julie Andrews tells about her memories of Richard Rodgers and in the "Playwright's Corner," Paul Rudnick gives his guide to theatre-going etiquette.

The upcoming Broadway show Movin' Out is covered from two angles, an interview with Twyla Tharp and another one with Billy Joel. Cover story Hairspray receives very thorough coverage with full-page photos of John Waters, Marissa Jaret Winokur and Harvey Fierstein, mixed in with additional production shots. Other features include a fashion article inspired by the costumes of Flower Drum Song; Michael Musto's coverage of the latest buzz, "Marquee Names," a report card of critics' comments on famous people who've recently appeared on stage; and "A Day in the Life," an hourly diary of one day at the New 42nd Street Studios in New York.

Hailey is aware that creating a theatre magazine is a risky undertaking but she's optimistic. "Although other theatre magazines have failed, we're going to succeed in being hip and sexy and edgy. This isn't going to be puffery. These are going to be real, informative, intelligent stories on the shows, on the creative teams and the behind-the-scenes goings on of Broadway. I hope they're going to be more engaging, more sophisticated and certainly more modern. I think the other magazines were probably less relevant than we aspire to be. We're really looking to marry media, lifestyle and theater in a very positive new way."

Through December 1, 2002, you can use the discount code of TALKIN to subscribe to a year of "Show People" for the special price of $12. To subscribe, visit www.showpeoplemagazine.com or call toll free (877) 783-4847. Regular price is $15/year.

Also see Nancy's earlier feature on On and Off Magazine

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