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Louis Botto

Writer
( b. Feb 10, 1924 Union, New Jersey, USA - d. Nov 04, 2012 Cliffside Park, New Jersey, USA ) Male
Louis Botto was the dapper "At This Theatre" columnist, writer and editor for Playbill for more than 40 years.

His parents ran a candy store in Union, NJ, and were fans of the opera. "In 1937," he recalls, "I saw in the newspaper that there was a big spectacle on Broadway called White Horse Inn, with Kitty Carlisle and William Gaxton. I read that it had real rain on the stage, so I insisted that my parents take me to see it." They did, and Louis was hooked. He studied writing at Catholic University, where his teachers included playwright Jean Kerr and her husband, critic Walter Kerr. Botto started at Interiors magazine before moving to Look magazine in 1961. When Look folded in 1971, Botto transferred his typewriter to Playbill. Appropriately enough, his first story was about his already-huge Playbill program collection. "My favorite," he said, "was the Playbill from a 1923 show called Parisian Doll, which starred Anna Held. The program says, 'Due to the length of this play we have eliminated the plot.'" Botto became a popular character in the Playbill offices -- often heard belting out a few lines of opera and chuckling to himself as he pounded out his columns on a typewriter. He was the only employee never required to switch to computers or email.

On the occasion of Playbill's centennial in 1984, Botto was asked to expand these columns to chapter length and assemble them into a book, also titled "At This Theatre." Updated in 2001 and 2010, "At This Theatre" became one of the best-selling theatre books of its era.

A primary source for Botto's columns was his theatergoing diary, in which he listed not only the shows he saw, but whom he saw them with, where he ate, what he thought of the show, and any anecdotes about the show he collected in his conversations with its stars and creators.

Source: The New York Times



Productions Date of Productions
New Faces of 1956
[Musical, Revue, Original]
  • "A Canful of Trash" sketch by Louis Botto
Jun 14, 1956 - Dec 22, 1956
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