Frequently Asked Questions
About United Stages
  • What does United Stages do?
    We publish, manufacture and deliver affordable, professional-quality show playbills and marketing materials for New York and out-of-state production companies. Our mission is to help build a stronger, more professionally visible and unified small-venue theater industry.


  • What do you mean by “small venue theater”?
    Theater, dance, opera, concerts and performance art presented in venues of up to 300 seats. We also serve performance companies that utilize non-traditional, outdoor or site-specific locations.


  • Could you describe your playbill?
    The playbill is a multipaged booklet made with premium high gloss paper. It is printed digitally, stapled and trimmed. It has a color cover for your color show artwork, a black and white inside containing your show content, producer generated ads (if any), the US show calendar, and occasional US features and ads.


  • Do you make any other kind of playbill or program?
    Yes we print Boutique programs with color covers and black and white interiors minus United Stages standard features & services such as copy editing, listings or e-mail discount ticket blasts. Because these programs are not subsidized by United Stages advertisers they cost a bit more than our standard playbill. Please download our Order Form for current Boutique program print rates.


  • Do I e-mail my show content already formatted?
    Nope. We do all that for you. Just give us your show and company data using our template (or opt-in copy editing service) and cut and paste it into the provided workbook...and you're done!


  • How many pages can I have for my content?
    The number of pages depends on what kind of show you are presenting, and the size of your cast. We give you a workbook to follow of “normal” playbill content like title page, bios, headshots, thank yous, director’s notes, donor list, etc. You give us your raw content and we do the rest of the work with the number of pages required to do the job.


  • Do you do playbills for musicals?
    Yes. We make playbills for all types of shows, including concerts, operas, dance and performance art. (We’ve even done weddings, charity benefit journals and graduation ceremonies).


  • What if I have content I’d like to add to my playbill that is not on the workbook?
    Definitely call us to make your case for the addition of unusual content. An additional cost per playbill may have to be negotiated but maybe not. Space is expensive so a lot depends on how much space your extras will require and if it requires color or greyscale.


  • Can I see samples of your show playbills?
    Yes. Contact us and we'll e-mail you a sample.


  • I don’t need playbills. Can I still list my show on the United Stages website?
    No, but we can recommend a few excellent websites that offer free show listings.


Membership
  • Is there a membership fee?
    No. There is a flat $50 set-up fee per playbill.
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Production Company Registration
  • How do I register my show listing on the United Stages website?
    Short answer: order playbills. Long answer: To have your show listing appear on our website, and in the printed show calendar of other United Stages playbills, and be included in the opt-into weekly e-blast discount ticket promotion to our audience club, you must order playbills. To order playbills select from our home screen the top grey tab that says “playbills/producer resources” and download the Order Form, fill it in and e-mail it back to us. We’ll post your show and send you your next steps soon thereafter.


  • What if there is an error in the information presented on the United Stages website regarding my show or company?
    E-mail content@unitedstages.com and submit your request for any changes or corrections. We usually can make changes within 24 hours.
Ordering playbills
  • How do I order playbills?
    Go to our homepage at www.UnitedStages.com and select the playbills/producer resources grey tab. Then download the Order Form, fill it in, and e-mail it back.


  • How much time will it take me to answer the questions on the Order Form and what information will I need to complete it?
    You’ll need 20 minutes and the following information to fill out the Order Form:

    Your venue name and address
    Your show dates and times
    Box office phone number and ticketing link
    Ticketing discount code if opting to offer blast audience club discount tickets
    A short synopsis and review quotes (if not a premiere) of show
    Form ST-119.1 if tax exempt in New York State
    Your square company logo artwork if you are a new producer client (and if it is available)
    Your show artwork (if available)


  • Who can order playbills from United Stages?
    Any producer or production company.


  • I don’t have a production company. Can I still order playbills for my show?
    Yes, though we will ask you to think of yourself as a company for the sake of registering, and ask you to assign yourself a company name, even if that name is your own.


  • We only have three or four performances in our show's run. Will you still make our playbills?
    Yes, as long as you order a minimum of 400 playbills.


  • Can I order more playbills if my show is extended?
    Yes. Please check your box office numbers regularly and give us 4 days notice for reprints.


  • Is there another set-up fee for playbill reprints?
    No.


  • Do I have to pay for delivery of playbill reprints?
    Yes, they will be shipped by UPS. Next day service available for emergencies.


  • What if I order short and run out of playbills before the end of my run?
    Call or e-mail us immediately so we can quickly get you more. The minimum order is 100ct for reprints. Check your box office thoroughly and often so you can give us four days turn around time.


  • Can I order playbills if my show is touring, or away from New York City?
    Yes, we make and ship playbills across the country.


  • Can I order playbills if my company is not in New York?
    Yes, we ship via UPS Ground.
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Content Submission Guidelines
  • Do I have to wait until all my playbill content is gathered before I e-mail it to you?
    Yes. Gather it all by or before your content deadline and send it in one e-mail session using multiple e-mails for larger files. Many producers with image files larger than 6MB find it convenient to put all of their organized content into a single zipfile and sending it via an on-line file transfer service like www.YouSendIt.com .


  • But don’t you want to receive our show artwork and company logo before our content due date so that you can pair it with our web, blast and print listings?
    Yes, absolutely! Please do send us your show artwork and company logo to content@UnitedStages.com the moment it becomes available so that we can post it with your listings.


  • How soon do I have to get my content to you before I get hit with a rush charge?
    We need all of your playbill content by your due date, which is assigned to you based around printing production dates, usually 10 days before your playbill goes to print. If you know you will miss your deadline, we will make every effort to push your project through on time, but may require rush charges to expedite both manufacturing and delivery.


  • What if I have casting or other changes after submitting information to you?
    You may make changes at any time before approving your final proof, as long as they are not additions of blocks of text that would call for an expensive and time-consuming formatting do-over. If you need to change a line in a bio, or add a lighting operator’s name to the title page, etc., before you give the final “Go to Print”, no problem. However, bear in mind that your final proof must be approved no later than one week prior to the delivery date in order to receive your playbills on time.


  • What if I’ve given you the okay to print my playbills but the next day there is an emergency like a sudden cast change?
    Though we can’t stop the presses, we can make a playbill insert notice for $5 per hundred. Your box office will need to stuff them into your playbills.


  • Will you check my spelling and grammar?
    Yes, if you’ve opted in for our copy editing service (found in the order form) that rigorously checks for spelling, grammar, and consistency errors. Otherwise be sure you have several pairs of eyes from your production team checking your content submission and subsequent proofs for spelling and grammar errors.


  • What if I order copy-editing service but disagree with edits made?
    Our in-house grammarian loves a challenge. If you dispute any grammar correction please make your case with a relevant quote from at least one published authoritative source.


  • What have you found to be the most common grammatical error?
    The ungrammatical capitalization of job titles like “artistic director” and “director”.


  • Will you create a “United Stages look and style” for my content?
    Yes, we maintain our professional look by imposing United Stages traditional fonts and formats on your final text.


  • Will I be able to proof my playbill?
    Yes. In fact, we won’t go to print until you approve the proof. We will format, copy edit and layout all of your show’s info and then send you a proof via e-mail. You send us back any corrections or changes. We send it back to you for final approval before going to print.


  • I need my playbills to be completely my own content and creation. Will you still print it?
    Yes! Call us with the number of pages and we’ll give you a quote. Say “I’d like a quote on a boutique style playbill composed completely of my own content, with no United Stages branding or United Stages ads, calendars or features.” 917-683-2059
Deadlines
  • Why should I order my playbills early?
    To take advantage of early web and printed calendar listings for your upcoming show.


  • My show is less than 12 business days away. Can I still order playbills?
    We need all of your playbill content by your due date, which is assigned to you based around printing production dates, usually 10 days before your playbill goes to print. If you know you will miss your deadline, we will make every effort to push your project through on time, but may require rush charges to expedite both manufacturing and delivery.


  • When do I need to pay for my playbills?
    Payment is expected by or before your playbill content deadline (12 business days before delivery/pick-up). We accept MasterCard, Visa or company check. For more payment info see “Fees & Payment” further down.


  • What if my show gets cancelled or is postponed to a later date?
    We understand that schedules shift and circumstances change, including performance dates. We will always do our best to accommodate you. We may be able to provide you a full refund depending on how far in advance your show is cancelled/postponed. Please see our refund policy below for more details.


  • What is your refund policy for playbill orders?
    If you cancel your order before submitting all of your playbill content, and no work has begun on your playbills, we’ll refund 100% of your money or give you a credit of equal value toward your next production. If you cancel after you've submitted all of your content and work has begun on your playbills, we cannot offer a refund or credit.


  • How many proofs will I receive?
    The average proofing process yields two e-mail proofs.


  • How much time can I take to look over my proof?
    In order for your playbill to be printed in time to be ready for your opening we ask that in proofing your playbill you be thorough but also speedy. Remember, no revision is possible after your "go-to-print" date.


  • How will I know my playbill's "go-to-print" date?
    You will be notified of your "go-to-print" date via e-mail after you've submitted your Order Form..


  • How will I know what my content deadline is?
    Soon after you send us your Order Form we’ll send you your content deadline.


  • Will I be penalized if I miss my content deadline?
    We will do our best to help you get us your content in a timely fashion and avoid extra charges. Rush charges will only be applied: 1) If content tardiness results in a need to expedite your playbill production with extreme haste in order to meet your opening night deadline. 2) When an initial order is placed with recognition by the producer that a project requires extra speed.
    When rush charges occur they average $65 - $90.
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Fees & Payment
  • Do I have to pay a set-up fee for playbills?
    Yes. $50.
  • How do I pay for my playbills?
    Wait to receive your invoice by e-mail. Then call 917-683-2059 with your Visa or MasterCard information or mail a company check payable to UNITED STAGES INC., and mailed or hand-delivered to United Stages, 1-50 50th Avenue #1044 Long Island City, NY 11101. We do not accept American Express. Please do not send credit card information by e-mail.
  • Why is sales tax added to my invoice? I have a 501(c)(3) company.
    Sales tax is automatically added to each invoice. Subtract the sales tax if you pay using a company check or credit card and have the NYS form ST-119.1. We must have your ST-119.1 on file and renewed every 3 years in order to avoid charging tax. Please note that the name on your check or credit card must match the organization name listed on the ST-119.1 form.
  • I have a 501(c)(3) company. Can I pay with a personal check?
    All personal checks MUST include sales tax. To be exempted from sales tax, please send us a company check along with your completed NYS form ST-119.1.
  • Can I get tax exemption from Fractured Atlas?
    Fractured Atlas no longer lends exemptions to its membership.
  • Why do I have to pay sales tax if I am a member of The Field?
    The Field does not make payments to third parties on behalf of their members. So you will be responsible to pay the sales tax.


Advertising
  • I want to put my show's ad into all United Stages playbills. Is that really expensive?
    Nope. We make it REALLY inexpensive for United Stages producers. Download the Order Form on the producer resources page for details.


  • We have merchants who support our production through advertising. Can we put their ads in our show playbill?
    Yes. As a United Stages playbill user you are entitled to opt-into placement of up to one full page of black and white print advertising space free of charge. For additional pages of black and white ad space the cost is $88.00 per page up to a maximum of 7 extra pages. (A page equals the surface of 4.875” wide x 8.” tall). Color ad space is rarely available as it is usually sold out to year-long contractors. Call if you wish to check color rates and availability: 917-683-2059.


  • I want to sell black and white ads to my local businesses but am new at the sales game. Any advice? What should my ad prices be?
    You call the shots when it comes to how much you charge per ad. Splitting up your page into quarters and charging 50 to 100 dollars a pop could make a nice contribution to a tight production budget. If you’re going great guns and need more ad space, we’ll charge you a flat rate of 88 dollars per extra page (Up to 7 pages maximum) so make sure that you price accordingly to maximize your profits.


  • I’m going to have to create an ad for my local bar owner who is computer challenged. Any advice?
    Use an imaging software like PhotoShop or some equivalent. Do not use a word processing program like MS-WORD. It does not translate. Pay close attention to sizing your ad correctly and creating ad with at least 300 dpis (dots per inch).


  • Can I use MS WORD or other word processing software to create an ad?
    No, word processing software does not translate nicely with imaging software and we can’t use it. Use PhotoShop or its equivalent – Power Point if you or someone you love does not have use of PhotoShop.


  • I use Quark to do graphic work. Any problem with that?
    No problem if you convert your final work into a PDF before you send it to us. We are not Quark compatible.


  • Any other design advice for the creation of my producer generated black and white ads?
    Yes, to make your black and white ads “pop", always go with a white background and contrast with true black detailing. Even though on your computer screen solid black backgrounds look “dramatic”, once printed they tend to “absorb” subtle fonts and blunt lighter images. Also note that use of subtle gradations of grey print in a washed out and non-dynamic way.


  • Do I have to sell ads?
    No, ad sales is not for everyone or every company. The free black and white ad page is a courtesy that is completely optional.


  • We are obligated to acknowledge our donors with the presentation of their logos in the playbill. Does this cost extra?
    No, we’ll put your donor logos in a thank you section for free.
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Audience Club
  • What is the United Stages Audience Club?
    It’s a free-to-join, 100% opt-in weekly e-blast to audience members interested in our monthly prize give-aways and discount ticket information.


  • How can my show get onto the blast?
    Offer a show ticket discount to the audience club (Indicate ticketing discount code and details when you order your playbills on your Order Form. )


  • Can my production company buy your audience club blast list?
    No. We promise our audience club members never to sell their information.


  • How much does it cost for my show to be included in the weekly blast?
    It’s a free opt-in when you use the United Stages playbill.


  • Why should I offer discount tickets to the audience club?
    It’s an inexpensive “come hither” to thousands of self-opted-in theater lovers.


  • When does the audience club e-mail blast go out?
    Every Wednesday.


  • What do audience club members win in the monthly drawings?
    Dinner certificates, show tickets, dessert packages, US tote bags, etc…


  • Why should I invite my e-mail list to join the United Stages Audience Club?
    Because the more audience club members there are, the more potential ticket buyers you’ll have for your show. Remember, the e-blast option is free to you and all playbill clients.


  • How is the United Stages audience club different from other blast marketing lists?
    Our audience club membership is 100% self-opted in. (Is not derived from credit card holders who have purchased tickets through a ticketing service.) It is real and unpadded, constantly fluctuating in number to reflect true interest in weekly show information. It is for the sole use of United Stages playbill clients and cannot be sold to individual producers. It’s free.
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