MTA (musical theater anonymous)

My name is Derek and I am a Broadwayaholic. I admit this and I am not ashamed. I like musicals, plays and the performing arts, more than the average human.


2012 Tony winner for best musical, Kinky Boots

My interest in on-stage song and dance originated after I saw my dear cousin Rachel perform in the Hastings High School rendition of Hello Dolly, way back when I was a lad. I saw a variety of marquee shows through high school including Fame, Les Misérables (my first show on Broadway), The Lion King and Sunset Boulevard, with the one and only Petula Clark.

In college, I did a ridiculously fun PR internship at MSU’s beautiful on-campus theater, the Wharton Center for the Performing Arts where I got to see and work on promoting some great shows like Chicago, Urinetown (one of my all time unsung favorites) and Movin’ Out.

Through the latter years I’ve been fortunate to see dozens of other shows, touring, in SF and in New York, including big Tony winners like Rent, Avenue Q, Wicked and Spring Awakening.

One of the things I like to do in New York when I see a show is to camp out by the stage door after, to wait for the cast to come out at the end of the night, because they almost always stop to say hi to fans and to personally sign Playbills (the official programs of a Broadway show). I’ve built up quite a collection of both signed and unsigned Playbills. I recently decided it was time to do something with my accumulation other than let it sit stacked up in the corner of my bookshelf. I decided to pick out a few favorite shows to frame and hang as art in my bedroom.


It was fun to lay all my Playbills out on the floor, try to arrange them in chronological order and reminisce about all the great performances I’ve enjoyed. I didn’t have a specific criteria for deciding which of the programs I’d frame and which would go back in the stack. I ended up with six favorite Playbills, signed by the most talented performers I’ve had the pleasure of seeing on stage…


  • Dirty Rotten Scoundrels – starring and signed by John Lithgow, Norbert Leo Butz, and Sherie Rene Scott, with Joanna Gleason.
  • Promises, Promises starring and signed by Kristin Chenoweth and Sean Hayes.
  • Spring Awakening – starring and signed by Lea Michelle (Glee), Jonathan Groff (Glee and COG) and John Gallagher, Jr. (American Idiot, Newsroom and Short Term 12).
  • Kinky Boots – starring and signed by Billy Porter, and an overall amazing show and Best Musical Tony winner.
  • The Mountaintop – starring and signed by Samuel L. Jackson and Angela Bassett.
  • Newsies – starring and signed by Jeremy Jordan (Smash), Alex Wong (So You Think You Can Dance) and others.

It was hard to pick just six and I may rotate other notable Playbills out when I feel like switchin’ things up.

6 responses to “MTA (musical theater anonymous)

  1. Alex Wong!!! One of my all time SYTYCD faves!!

    Too bad you didn’t have thie autograph “hobby” when we saw Avenue Q for original cast!

  2. @Jaime: right, but Margaret got me a sign copy for my birthday shortly after so I inadvertently have one! 🙂

  3. As a compulsive collector I had a huge collection of similar. Alas, the never looked as good as your collection, framed and organized. I totally understand —jaO

  4. So wait, you haven’t seen Jersey Boys? I’m thinking about dragging someone (… anyone?) along next week for cheap tix here in GR. And, is BLAST from the one I took you to?! Oh “blast” form the past.

  5. @Jaime I did see Jersey Boys but I didn’t get a Playbill because it was a dress rehearsal. And yes we saw Blast. lolz.

  6. Pingback: Quick easy wall art with some personality | Could I have been... a race car driver?

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