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Meet the Playbill Collector

Article by: Athena Osborne

When the show is over, the life of a playbill goes on. Mary Shaw, a retired special education teacher, gathers her playbills like offspring. “I just kind of like knowing they are there”, she remarks, when asked about her collection. Since bringing home her first playbill, dated October 2006, Mary has collected from a plethora of local theaters including the Artist Repertory Theatre, Portland Center Stage, and Oregon Children’s Theater. Though modest about her collection, the numbers speak for themselves. Since 2006, Mary has collected more than 137 playbills and she doesn’t intend to stop.

At first, Mary’s motivation was purely practical.  If an actor looked familiar, she could look him up in her “library” and put a face with the name. Now, her hobby seems to have morphed into something more. “I’m sorry now that I didn’t start keeping them earlier”, she says. They have become an integral part of her ritual when visiting a show.

Growing up in rural California, attending live theater became part of Mary’s very fibre. As a youngster, her parents took her to see Mary Martin in Peter Pan at a local theater in San Francisco. She carried the theater tradition with her into adulthood and adamantly believes it should be an integral part of anyone’s childhood. When her grandchildren lived in Portland, she subscribed to the Oregon Children’s Theater and Northwest Children’s Theater so that they could enjoy the shows together. She supports youth on the stage and attends live productions at Jesuit High School…Read the rest of the Article

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The Monter Builder| Artists Repertory

Bonita | Portland Center Stage

Jitney | Portland Playhouse

Phillip Adams BalletLab | White Bird Dance

Eyes For Consuela | Profile Theatre

Charlotte’s Web | Oregon Children’s Theatre

Chinglish | Portland Center Stage

Fertile Ground 2014 Event Guide

A Christmas Carol| Portland Playhouse

Noises Off | Third Rail Repertory

Xmas Unplugged | Artists Rep

It’s A (Somewhat Wonderful Life) | Bag&baggage

Twist Your Dickens| Portland Center Stage

The Santaland Diaries | Portland Center Stage

Foxfinder | Artists Rep

A Night In New Orleans| Oregon Children’s Theatre

Lucy Guerin | White Bird Dance

Maguy Marin | White Bird Dance

New Now Wow! | NW Dance Project

Detroit | Portland Playhouse

Sweet and Sad | Third Rail

Aspen Santa Fe Ballet | White Bird Dance

Mistakes Were Made | Artists Rep

Live Show | Live Wire! Radio

Fiddler on the Roof | Portland Center Stage

The Big Meal | Artists Repertory Theatre

The Mountaintop | Portland Center Stage

Julius Caesar | Bag&Baggage