Roundabout Does a Roundabout

I’m pretty much definitely the only person who finds this interesting (am I? am I?), but it seems that the Roundabout Theatre Company is doing a bit of rebranding. Witness the swanky new poster pasted on 44th Street…


Cool, right? It feels current, stylish, casually affluent. The abstract-y comedy/drama masks, the mod coloring, the artful nod to diversity, the focus on YOU (“exposing you,” “introducing you,” “it’s about you”)–it’s a far cry from the more traditional lettering more commonly associated with this reputable, classics-heavy company:


Does this advertising shift herald a new programming focus?

Time shall tell…

Poster Analysis: “Anything Goes”
Poster Implants


Poster Analysis: “Anything Goes”

As anyone who took a taxi in the past year knows, Sutton Foster was the beginning and the end of the marketing for Roundabout’s Anything Goes. Photographed for that show’s poster, heels up with a cheeky grin, Foster was everywhere.

But seasons change: Now that Foster is stuck on TV (thank you, “Bunheads”) and Stephanie J. Block is click-clacketting her way through Reno Sweeney’s paces, what’s become of those old shots?

One word: paint.

Let me take you back. Here’s a “Foster-era” poster:

But this is the image currently adorning the Stephen Sondheim Theatre:

Notice anything different?

The second figure—while just as lithe and rambunctious as the original—is more “Foster-esque” than “Foster.” Yes, she’s a white sailor with an admirable waistline, but she’s not fully Sutton Foster. By rendering Foster’s image in paint instead of photo, the specificity of the show’s original star gives way to something more general and flexible. Any number of performers look sort of like the second image; there’s only one that looks like the first.

As always, it’s interesting watching a hit show find its sea legs without its deal-making, original star. Here’s wishing Stephanie J. Block and all future Renos best of luck—they might not get the ol’ camera treatment, but what was good enough for Van Gogh sure is good enough for me.

Yes, “Book of Mormon” is a Hit…

… but just how big of a hit?

To find out, take a glance at the Eugene O’Neill’s marquee.  In the grand tradition of “Cats” (those yellow eyes!), “Phantom” (that mask!) and “Merchant” (Pacino!), words have given way to a single, iconic image– in this case, a shiny doorknob. Tickets cost  $8,000,000, it’s “the best musical of the century,” there aren’t seats until 2020, but it’s the marquee, I think, that says it all.

The demand for this (admittedly fun) show is so insane, the brand so instantly identifiable, that titles are superfluous. Now that’s what I call a hit.

Are those South Park guys the new Andrew Lloyd Webber?

Poster Implants

London may be theatrical mecca, but British ad firms have a decidedly trashy bent when it comes to marketing shows: shiny, bubbled, or bedazzled lettering. 2D, classy type just doesn’t cut it. If you want to be a populist, West-End hit, you need implants. Examine the evidence.

Here in America, “Rock of Ages” is simple and shiny:

… but in London, it’s gotten the Agelina Jolie treatment:

Keep Reading…

Dancing in the Aisles

Only in New York! Check out these hilarious theater-inspired signs in the 72nd Street Trader Joe’s:

      [Read more…]

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