Parenting Blog

How To Frame Playbills Without Spending A Fortune

The best thing about the delis, restaurants and bars that are every bit as integral a part of New York City’s theater district scene as the Barrymore, New Amsterdam and Schoenfeld isn’t the food, the cramped tables or considerable wait times to snag one, it’s the signed headshots lining the walls.

I’m the farthest thing from celeb-obsessed, but seeing the many legends of stage and screen who have dined in the very place you eat, or queue up in hopes of eventually eating, is undeniable cool.

My teen has found a groove in her young life — she loves musical theater. The dancing, costumes, high notes, perfectly timed pauses for laughter, the applause — she’s head over heels for all of it. She was meant for the stage and lately has been spending a lot of time on Broadway looking down at many of them from the mezz.

This means, among other things like frightening credit card statements, a burgeoning collection of Playbills, some of which have been signed by smiling cast members who have graciously emerged from stage doors into the biting chill of a New York winter to meet their fans.

The 14-year-old’s room is much like Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia in Barcelona in that it is under constant and unending construction. It’s a tiny room, maybe 12×14, but she has free reign to adorn it with whatever she wants, wherever on the walls and ceiling and floor she wants.

Above her door are now a series of Playbills, like the framed headshots in that famous restaurant on 44th Street.

Broadway productions have meticulously designed artwork and thus, Playbills are awfully pretty, although oddly shaped, and should be displayed prominently and proudly, especially if signed by talents like Laura Dreyfuss and Tony Award nominated Rachel Bay Jones, but the Playbill frames that are sold are obscenely expensive. I’ll scrounge up the cash to see the musicals on Broadway but I ain’t paying that! to frame Playbills!

After a bit of interneting, I’ve found an affordable way to frame and display all those 5 3/8 x 8/12 beauties on the walls of my teen’s shrine to her creative, self-directed, one-of-a-kind childhood.

I use these custom cut Playbill frame mats that fit perfectly into any standard 8×10 frame you can buy at a dollar store, 5 Below, or Michael’s (with a 40% off coupon — always with a coupon. No one should ever pay full price for anything in Michael’s).

The Playbill mats are gorgeous, super inexpensive and have frosted silver or gold trim to accompany your Playbill’s primary or secondary color. I order a few at a time to save on shipping and then wait for Michael’s to have a BOGO deal plus a coupon that works on sale items too (the Holy Grail of Michael’s couponing) to stock up on identical 8×10 wood frames.

Here’s what the teen’s Playbill collection looks like thus far — Hamilton, Dear Evan Hansen, The Band’s Visit, and Come From Away — with more mats and frames needed to frame Playbills for Matilda and Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, both of which we saw in London, and Wicked on Broadway.

Affordable Playbill frames to frame Playbills cheap

At $3.99 per mat plus about $7 for the frames (I think I paid about that for each on an incredible sale), these framed Playbills came out WAY prettier than the overpriced Playbill frames you’ll find online.

File Under: The more you know!

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