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Applause Shop, an Online Marketplace for Theater Artists has Launched

Stage Directions • Industry NewsTheatre Buzz • March 3, 2021

Laura Heywood and producer Susan Vargo have launched Applause Shop (www.ApplauseShop.com), an online marketplace designed to help theater artists make ends meet, find joyful new homes for Broadway merchandise and memorabilia, and contribute to arts and social issues charities through financial support.

“Theater artists have access to so many items that their fans would cherish,” says Heywood, who conceived Applause Shop as a means to sell her own collection to pay bills when Broadway shut down a year ago. “Playbills and posters from shows they have seen and those they appear in; cast-only apparel and opening night gifts; even correspondence between friends — much of what ‘industry folks’ have accumulated over the years amounts to valued collectibles for fans worldwide.”

Heywood has partnered with Vargo to help put money in artists’ pockets while identifying new owners for these treasures. “I think of myself as a Broadway merchandise foster mom,” says Heywood. “I take good care of these items until we can find each one its new ‘forever home.’ Meanwhile, artists can declutter, spread joy, earn a little money, and make a difference in the world all at the same time.”

A portion of every sale is donated to non-profit organizations that support the arts, civil rights, racial equality, arts education and LGBTQAI+ inclusion, including Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS; The Broadway Advocacy Coalition; ASTEP (Artists Striving to End Poverty); The Actors Fund; The Ali Forney Center; Planned Parenthood; Story Pirates Changemakers; The ACLU Foundation; and The NAACP Legal Defense & Education Fund.

Applause Shop has acquired over 1,500 items from the estate of the late two-time Tony Award-winning lighting designer Howell Binkley, a collection of memorabilia and one-of-a-kind gifts spanning 52 Broadways shows including Hamilton, Jersey Boys, Come From Away, Ain’t Too Proud, and Kiss of the Spider Woman. His items will be auctioned on a rolling basis beginning on March 12, one year after the Broadway shutdown, and proceeds from these items will benefit Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.

Regarding Binkley’s collection, Heywood says, “It is surprisingly emotional to touch all of these things, the contents of a life. It’s humbling. The gravity of the shutdown has been amplified for me through these emblems of a life’s work. When I think about theater ‘stopping short’ — whether it’s our entire industry, or a single human life — I am increasingly aware of how much Broadway means to so many of us. Each of these items holds the energy of the industry I love so much, and I am thrilled to share that with fans who can now own a piece of theatrical history.”

In addition to Playbills, window cards, and merchandise, Applause Shop offers many opening night gifts and similar items that have never been available to the public.

Those interested in donating or consigning items are encouraged to contact Laura@ApplauseShop.com.

With a stock of over 2,000 items currently available and more added frequently, the full inventory can be explored at www.ApplauseShop.com.

Selected items include:

  • 2016 Hamilton Original Cast Playbill
  • 2013 Beautiful San Francisco Pre-Broadway Playbill
  • 1992 Ruthless! Playbill featuring Britney Spears and Laura Bell Bundy
  • 2000 Hedwig and the Angry Inch Off-Broadway Playbill featuring Ally Sheedy
  • 2016 Dear Evan Hansen Original Cast Playbill
  • 1951 Judy Garland Palace Two a Day Playbill

Auctions launching March 12:

  • 1977 Annie Original Cast Satin Jacket
  • 1988 Carrie Original Production Souvenir Program
  • Marquee Signage from The Lightning Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical
  • 2002 Stephen Sondheim Celebration engraved glass (from the collection of Howell Binkley)
  • Opening Night gifts from Jersey Boys, Freaky Friday (Signature), A Christmas Story, Come From Away (Australia), Hunchback of Notre Dame (Paper Mill), Doctor Zhivago, and more (from the collection of Howell Binkley)
  • Signed Arthur Laurents memoir, Mainly on Directing (from the collection of Howell Binkley)
  • Avenue Q wool & leather jacket (from the collection of Howell Binkley)

Further information from Applause Shop: www.ApplauseShop.com

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