Thursday, March 18, 2010

LOGOS: Sondheim on Sondheim

With this season's new Sondheim entry beginning previews tomorrow, let's take a look at the advertising.

If ever there was a no-brainer logo, it is the one for Sondheim on Sondheim.  Why is that you ask?  Well, first, let's be completely honest.  This new musical revue is aimed at a very specific audience or two. 

Maybe (with its poster credits) you are a diva fan and are looking forward to one or both of the divas above the title.  Let's face it, Vanessa Williams is a great talent - singing, acting, and she has Sondheim cred, what with starring in the revival of Into the Woods.  Then there is Barbara Cook, not just a diva, but a living Broadway legend who is as scarce on the Broadway stage as Angela Lansbury used to be.  (And while we are being completely honest, how many more chances are we going to get to see La Cook live on stage?)

The Divas in Question

Barbara Cook's Onstage Connection

Vannesa Williams in Into the Woods

But it is more likely that you are a fan of Mr. Sondheim, the current toast of the town, with several celebrations scheduled to celebrate his 80 genius years on this earth.  And this logo gives you just what you can expect from the show.  Somehow, between numbers, Mr. Sondheim will be seen and/or heard commenting on his works and career.  So he is directly involved, hence the logic of putting him in the photo, shy, crooked smile with just a hint of arrogance and all.  And, if you are like me - a devout Sondheim-ite, you are aware of pretty much every show, revival, revue and celebration associated with the man.

The Logo in Question

And, if you are like me, your first reaction to the mish-mash of letters that form the second "Sondheim" was to try and figure out which, if any, previous logo they come from.  Admit it...I'm right!    And, like Sondheim's works, I assume that the letters were carefully selected and ordered with the same attention to detail as his most complicated lyrics.  The logo, like the lyrics, might just be a shrewd combination of carefully and artfully arranged - full of layers - but all fulfilling a simple purpose.  The lyrics tell a story or illuminate a character or set the scene. 

A Fan Collage of Sondheim Logos

And the logo does just that, too.  Isn't the scene, the story and the character what we hope to get from the title character himself when we go see Sondheim on Sondheim?

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  1. Interesting thoughts about the logos. I admit, I don't usually spend much time thinking about them, but I've started to notice them more thanks to your posts.
    I will be seeing Sondheim on Sondheim in just over a week, and I'm very excited- for the performers and for what will be performed. I've never seen Vanessa Williams or Barbara Cook on stage. But about a year and a half ago, Barbara Cook came to DC for a "spotlight" type event, which I attended. Someone interviewed her on stage, and it was fascinating to listen to her stories, of which she had many. The evening just flew by. I suspect Sondheim on Sondheim will too. But, soon after, I'll be back in NYC for Encore's Anyone Can Whistle. I'd managed to resist this one until I read that Raul Esparza had been confirmed for the cast. Then I was done for. I'm so looking forward to this new (to me) Sondheim experience.
    What's your favorite Sondheim show? (Or maybe that's impossibly hard- top 3 then?)

  2. Hello, again!

    You know, my interest in logos began drung the Cats/Les Miz/Phantom era, when the whole world knew about a show just by those iconic images. Then I started to notice just how much time really was spent on these things... hours/weeks/days to create a picture that someone might notice for 15 seconds... but it does help determine ticket sales.

    I wish I could see Anyone Can Whistle! I'll be in town that weekend seeing something else with people that wouldn't be caught dead at a Sondheim show!

    Funny you should ask that last question, as it is the subject of my blog this Monday - Sondheim's birthday!

    Thanks, as always, for reading!


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