What a year! 2022 marked the first complete year of performances following the COVID-19 pandemic. With the return of Broadway came the return of printed Playbills and readers coming to our website eager for the latest theatre gossip and interviews with artists.
And judging from our numbers, our audience was obsessed with the news that Phantom of the Opera was closing, backstage drama (including some shady financial dealings and copyright shenanigans), and anything related to Patti LuPone.
Below, you will find our top 10 most-read articles of 2022 (by engaged minutes). In other words, these were the biggest theatre stories (and controversies) of the year.
We also list the articles that we worked on that are near and dear to our hearts, and that we think you should read during this winding-down period for 2022—this year we hung out in hotel rooms with Broadway stars, uncovered secrets from famous theatre sets, and learned firsthand how actors survive show days without food. And with those illuminating features, full of firsthand accounts, we saw an industry that was so vibrant, joyful, and profound that it was as if we'd never said goodbye (during the pandemic).
These articles are just a small sample of the work published both in our print Playbills and on our website. So if you want more Playbill, be sure to sign up to get our print issues delivered to your home or to our newsletters to get Playbill in your inbox.
Playbill's Top 10 Most-Read Stories of 2022
10. Lin-Manuel Miranda Speaks Out Following Illegal Texas Church Production of Hamilton
"Now lawyers do their work," says the Tony-, Emmy-, and Grammy-winning Broadway icon.
9. Broadway's KPOP Sets Abrupt Closing Date
The musical's final performance will be dedicated to the Asian American and Pacific Islanders community.
8. Actors' Equity Will Add Paradise Square Producer Garth Drabinsky to Do Not Work List
The move will render the Tony-winning producer unable to hire Equity members, effectively ending his ability to produce on Broadway and at many major venues across the country.
7. Why Bob Fosse Held a 20-Year Grudge Against Donna McKechnie
Plus, which parts of Donna's life inspired A Chorus Line and what happened when she stood up to Hal Prince.
6. 13 Broadway Stars You Forgot Were On Glee
In honor of the musical comedy's 13th anniversary, here are 13 Broadway favorites who appeared on the show.
5. 9 Original Cast Albums Featuring Replacement Performers
Lea Michele isn't the only high-profile replacement getting her own cast recording.
4. Andrew Lloyd Webber's History-Making The Phantom of the Opera Sets Closing Date on Broadway
The famed chandelier will descend for its final time in 2023 at the Majestic.
3. Hadestown Producers and Jujamcyn Apologize Following Incident Involving Audience Member With Hearing Loss
An audience member was reportedly "reprimanded" by an onstage cast member, who mistook a captioning device for a cell phone.
2. 2022 Tony Award Nominations: A Strange Loop, MJ, Paradise Square Lead the Pack
The 75th annual ceremony is set for June 12 at Radio City Music Hall.
1. Patti LuPone Has Reportedly Given Up Her Equity Card, Likely Ending Broadway Career
The three-time Tony winner shared the news on Twitter.
Playbill Staff's Favorite Stories In 2022
Everyone Has Missed the Point of A Raisin in the Sun, According to Tonya Pinkins
"I joined the Playbill staff on October 17, which was also the day that Patti LuPone announced she was quitting Actors' Equity, so it was definitely an eventful first day. I will be honest with everyone reading this: Coming in, I was not sure how I would marry my opinionated, activist-minded self with Playbill. That is why I was so surprised when I was not only encouraged to interview Tony winner Tonya Pinkins about the controversial production of A Raisin in the Sun she starred in this fall, but the staff at Playbill loved it. It made me realize, to quote Rodgers and Hammerstein, I am going to like it here!" —Diep Tran, Editor in Chief
Did You Know That Audrey II in Little Shop of Horrors Is a Female Man-Eating Plant?
"As a long-time fan of puppetry, and of Little Shop of Horrors, it was a joy to hear the Audrey II origin story first-hand from the original Off-Broadway designer and puppeteer, Martin P. Robinson (who also happens to be the puppeteer inside my favorite Sesame Street character, Snuffleupagus). The conversation for the article was as much between Robinson and Nicholas Mahon (puppet designer for the current stellar production of Little Shop) as it was with me, and I was happy to just be present, geeking out and as the two of them swapped stories and complimented each other's work." —Talaura Harms, Features Editor
Joshua Henry's Gaston is For All the 'Little Joshuas Out There'
"Yet another iteration of Beauty and the Beast might not seem especially groundbreaking, but in this piece Joshua explains how this one really is, and on multiple levels. This project shows that there are ways to celebrate the past through a more inclusive lens, which one hopes will become a continuing trend. Plus, come on—it's Joshua Henry playing one of the all-time great Disney villains. What Broadway fan isn't into that?" —Logan Culwell-Block, Managing News Editor
Angela Lansbury, Audra McDonald, Bernadette Peters, Norm Lewis, Patti LuPone, More Remember Stephen Sondheim
"Because there will never be another Stephen Sondheim." —Andrew Gans, Senior News Editor
Will Swenson Has Been Preparing His Whole Life to Play Neil Diamond on Broadway
"At the end of the day, my work, and the work I am drawn to, comes from love. Love in its many forms is intoxicating both as an artist and an audience member, and I was moved by Will Swenson's expressions of love for his family and the music of Neil Diamond. Aging can be a shattering thing in our culture that prizes youthful energy, and I think the metamorphosis underlined in A Beautiful Noise is a vital lesson we all need to learn." —Margaret Hall, Staff Writer
Breaking Fast Mid-Show: What It’s Like Working Off-Broadway During Ramadan
"This article is really dear to me. It began with a conversation with a close friend who celebrates Ramadan and attended The Public Theater's The Vagrant Trilogy with me. I'm still grateful to actors Osh Ashruf and Bassam Abdelfattah, as well as costume designer Dina El-Aziz, for how much they shared of their own experiences. Making space and supporting those who celebrate Ramadan, while actively working in theatre, is one of the often overlooked parts of our larger reckoning in theatre about what diversity and inclusivity looks like—and can look like in the future." —Leah Putnam, Staff Writer
Meet the Best Friends Who Manifested Their Wicked Dreams on Broadway
"This was my first (and so far only) article I've written for Playbill. Not only did I get to collaborate with our photographer Heather Gershonowitz, but also getting to interview and listen to two best friends laugh, cry and reminisce together about their almost decade long friendship and journey to Wicked was a really special and unforgettable moment in 2022 for me. And on a personal note, opening Playbills during the month of September and seeing my name on a Playbill article byline...well it's something that young Jeffrey would never have imagined. Sitting in a Broadway theatre, opening a Playbill and seeing my article for the first time really made a core memory that this life long theatre kid will never forget." —Jeffrey Vizcaíno, Social Media Director
Join Us On Our End of Summer Theatre Road Trip
"It was fun to highlight shows around the country that we wished we could see. And the shows liked that they were highlighted and shared it as well." —Michael Wilbank, Photo Editor
A Broadway Debut Through Suzy Nakamura's Lens
"Suzy Nakamura is the coolest, and this interview was only supposed to be 15 minutes but we sat on the floor of the back confrence room and wound up talking, laughing, and crying for over an hour after taking photos and it was perfect." —Heather Gershonowitz, Staff Photographer