Editor James W. Seymore, Jr., introduces the new ''Stage'' reviews feature

If you’ll kindly turn to page 72, you’ll see something new: a purple banner with the word Stage. In the new review section, which we plan to run quarterly, ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY will cover theater in the same way we focus on movies, books, video, television, music, and multimedia — with news, reviews, box office information, and behind-the-scenes stories. Inside each Stage section you will find the most thorough coverage of the subject offered by any national consumer publication of this size.

Our first section deals exclusively with Broadway, which has just started its new season, though in the coming months you can expect to see coverage of Off Broadway and touring shows, as well as regional theater and concerts. ”I’ve always sensed that our readers wanted to hear more of our take on theater,” says staff editor Jess Cagle, 32, our chief Stage critic. ”Our readers are extremely well-informed, so they like to know what’s happening on Broadway, even if they’re not planning to actually visit New York. There aren’t many places for people to go to get this kind of information.”

Happily, we could not have asked for a better time to kick off the section — just as Disney’s Broadway version of The Lion King is sending shock waves through the box office and making headlines around the world. (The best orchestra seats are already sold out until next August.) ”It was great to be able to start off with an A+ review and a high note,” says Cagle, a 10-year Time Inc. vet who jumped from People to help launch Entertainment Weekly in 1990. Since then Jess, who spends most of his time writing and editing movie features, has become one of the magazine’s most distinctive voices. As for the added task of editing Stage, he says, ”I don’t mind, except now all my friends are hitting me up for tickets.”