Your Regional Guide To The Performing Arts

Footlights: A Definition and An Introduction

Originally, footlights were the lights at the foot of the stage that helped illuminate the actors, before modern stage lighting took hold. While most theaters no longer possess footlights, our Footlights have carried on the tradition by illuminating the actors, technical crew, and their performing arts company with high-quality playbills.

Footlights exists because your time is valuable – and so are your playbills. They are the first item your audiences see when attending a show and the one memento that they can take home to remember their experience. A good quality playbill has the potential to be a souvenir, and you might think you can’t afford to have someone publish them for you. We suggest you think again.

Who We Are

Marcus Promotions, Inc. - the proud publisher of Footlights - is a regional publishing company serving Milwaukee, Madison, Chicago, and surrounding areas. Footlights Performance Magazine grew out of an actual theater in 1988, and for the past 27 years has continually strived to offer arts groups an affordable professional playbill while offering audiences a consistent and comprehensive arts resource guide.

The Footlights Difference

We’re not just a printer - we are a publishing partner. For over 25 years, we’ve been servicing performing arts companies of all sizes in the Midwest and we understand your needs and concerns. We have helped not only professional and well-established companies, but also up-and-coming arts organizations, storefront theaters, community theater organizations, area college and university theatre programs, high schools, and youth performing arts education programs. We know your business, so we understand that your time, as well as your financial resources, is extremely valuable. With our help you can expect a professional product delivered on time, flawless, and reflecting the quality of the performance on stage.


We have a dedicated and talented staff that is with you every step of the way when it comes to creating your playbills. Our graphic design, production, and venue relations departments will all play a part in making sure your playbills receive a polished and professional look. From helping you understand the entire process and sending copy reminders to sending you a proof you can be proud of, our team works hard to give you a high-quality playbill. It’s your program - we want you to love it!


We are one of the only playbill publishers in the Midwest to also offer in-house print capabilities. What does that mean for you? It means we have total control over your playbill, the production timeline, and your pricing. Need a reprint? No problem. Want to add color to one or multiple pages? Easy. Want a custom cover? Absolutely! It doesn’t matter how big or small of a company you are, we will cater to your unique needs and take the time to make sure your playbill is what you want.

The Footlights Issue Wrap

Footlights playbills are not just playbills, but also highly effective marketing tools. The exclusive issue wrap offers arts-related editorial and upcoming event listings in addition to your show’s content, and with 1.3 million and growing total issue circulation, your event will be seen by audiences all over! This feature benefits both audiences and performing arts organizations. Audiences can use Footlights event listings to plan future nights out, and your show receives continual promotion to audiences wherever Footlights playbills are being utilized.

The best part is this feature is completely free of charge for theaters that use Footlights playbills.

The All-New is our fastest growing resource to serve theatregoers and our theatre clients. We recently revamped our website this past season, and there are now many new and exciting features for both audiences and theater companies!

The Power is in Your Hands

  • We are now giving theatre companies the power to manage their own company pages and event profiles on, an exclusive feature for Footlights clients. You will receive your own personal and secure login, and will have the power to access your content on our website whenever you desire. For more information, and to receive your login, go to our Contact Us page and reach out to our Theatre and Venue Relations Manager Ryan Albrechtson.


  • In this day and age, we recognize the need to be accessible from a variety of multi-media formats. Our mobile-friendly website has all the same great features our desktop version possesses, the only difference being it is optimized for quick viewing on any type of smartphone. This feature is great for patrons looking up shows and nearby restaurants while on the go!

View Your Footlights Program Online and Ahead of Time

  • Theatre companies, as well as patrons, now have the ability to view the show’s playbill online and ahead of time! This new feature is great to share with the cast and crew before opening night, and can be used to promote your show in email newsletters, social media channels, or even on your own website!

Arts Centric

  • Unlike some websites that promote every single event in the city, strives to focus only on theatre, music, dance, and other performing arts events in a specific market. Patrons can search for the perfect event by their favorite genre, neighborhood, company, or even by a specific date!

Jobs and Auditions

  • isn’t just for patrons - we also promote upcoming auditions and arts-related job openings for individuals involved directly with the performing arts community. If you have an audition or job you would like us to promote, just send the information to our Venue Relations Manager to receive an audition or job posting on - at no additional cost.

Incentive Program

Earn discounted or free playbills with our incentive program. Utilizing one or more of the opportunities below, you will begin working your way to paying less for your playbills!

Advertising Credits

  • For every dollar you spend in Footlights advertising, you receive a 30-cent credit towards program publishing. You can buy a web ad on, or a printed advertisement in someone else’s playbill or in a Footlights issue wrap. As a client, you can buy advertising in other Footlights playbills for 30% off the regular rate, and on top of that, you’ll receive an additional publishing credit!
    • Example: $100 ad
    • Subtract 30% discount = $70 for the total cost of the ad
    • Then an additional $21 will be credited towards your next playbill!
  • We want to emphasize that the best audience to advertise to is another performing arts audience. Buying a display ad in another relevant playbill is a great complement to the free listing you automatically receive in the Footlights issue.

Printing credits

  • For every dollar spent on additional printing with us, you receive a 5-cent credit towards program publishing. Please ask us for quotes on season brochures, posters, and other print projects to see how this discount can benefit you directly.

Graphic Design Credit

  • For every dollar spent in design services, you will receive a 25-cent credit towards program publishing. Our normal design rate is $130/hour, however, we cut that in half for our clients, giving our clients a generous design rate of $65/hour.

Program Advertising Referral

  • For every ad contract dollar referral you share with us, you will receive 50-cent credit towards program publishing. Simply fill out our form for a warm lead and we’ll do the rest! Why is this better than selling your own ads? We close the sale, bill and collect from the advertiser, and can even design the ad for them! On top of that, that ad space is not part of the pages you pay for either! Please note this element of the program is available to all Footlights clients with the exclusion of high school clients.

For more information about this feature, please contact Steve Marcus at

Featured Events Package

A Featured Event Package is one of our most popular (and affordable) promotional packages that we currently offer to our theatre clients.

What’s Included:

  • Featuring the event of your choosing in our weekly email newsletter, which reaches over 3,000 dedicated subscribers
  • Large scrolling banner on the top page in your home market on
  • Social media promotion via our social media channels, sharing your show potentially thousands of potential audience members!

We Want to Get to Know You!

Interested in having Footlights for your next theatre season? Please contact our Theatre and Venue Relations Manager via our Contact Us page to get started!

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