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About Playbill

Playbill is the global leader in Broadway theatre promotion. The iconic playbill, the booklet every theater aficionado receives at any play, is synonymous with theater, music, and the arts. Today, these booklets are treasured as keepsakes and collector's items, and Playbill itself has expanded its reach to over 4 million subscribers across the US alone.

The Challenge

The company is traditionally known for its patented yellow booklet, but has always been a trailblazer in the digital age. Every year, millions of high school students are applying for college, and rely on outdated, static and thick college prep guides from the likes of Princeton Review, Barron's, and others.

The question was simple: How could Playbill break into the education space and help students interested in Music, Dance, and Theater find a better way to search for colleges during application season?

The Solution & Execution

From the onset, Playbill built a comprehensive database that catalogued hundreds of bits of quantifiable information about thousands of colleges. We analyzed the large dataset and started to brainstorm the most effective ways to give students, parents, and college counselors a set of data visualization tools to directly compare colleges. The result is a rich, interactive web application called PlaybillEDU.

Icreon worked with Playbill to migrate a massive database of university information into SQL. The application, written in PHP, uses the Code Igniter framework. On the frontend, PlaybillEDU utilizes the latest in HTML5, relying on features like Canvas, SVG and web workers to create a standards-based interactive application. To increase performance of the site, Memcached is used, ensuring stability during periods of high traffic.