Monday, March 14, 2011

LOGOS: Catch Me If You Can

For some, the urge to get moving is limited by their circumstances.  Of those, there are the ones that give up and live in a rut.  But a few find ways around their limitations and spread their wings.  And fewer still...the really smart ones, leave one life behind and create a whole new existence.  Enter Frank Abagnale, Jr.,  a boy with big dreams and the smarts to make them come true.  And so comes the true-life story that was a book, then a film and now a Broadway musical: Catch Me If You Can.  The show, starring Aaron Tveit as Abagnale, Jr. and Norbert Leo Butz as Hanratty, the FBI agent who gives the boy chase.  (Hence the title...).  As the show began previews on Friday, I thought now would be a great time to take a look at the logo.

The 60's.  Ulta-Modern.  Ultra-Cool.  Sleek lines.  Vibrant colors.  A world so cool and so on the move.  Technology booming, the people want to get up and get out and live it!  They take to the skies; they take to roads.  People are moving. 

Logo #1: Notice it actually tells us it
is "a new musical."

Everything I just described can be applied to the show's logo, no matter the version.  And all versions point to the one facet of Abagnale's multi-faceted career as a chameleon that the show is exploiting:  Frank Abagnale, Jr. posed, for thousands of flight hours, as a commercial pilot for Pan Am, one of the largest international carriers in the world at the time.  It certainly is the showiest of his guises, and, in fact a Google Images search of the film comes up almost exclusively with photos of Leonard DiCaprio as a pilot, surrounded by a bevy of beautiful stewardesses.  And, though the stage production photos reveal that Tveit will be donning several disguises, there are plenty of pilot pics.

Talk about "The Jet Set"!

But back to the logos.  The common factors, the typeset, the tag line and the vibrant blue, white and black, all help conjure the 60's sleek and cool feel.  Clearly, the type used is sharp, linear and plain, but almost space age, with its slant and urgency that suggest fast movement.  All very 1960's.  The vibrant use of color is simultaneously sharp, eye-catching and starkly plain.  All very "mod."  Even the tag line with its cool lingo versus completely proper English ("wanna") is totally anti-establishment.

Then there are the iconic elements:  The soaring jet plane, either making a seam up the very long, shapely leg of a high-heeled woman (in another vibrant color, hot pink), or using its jet stream to create the shape of a long-legged, high-heeled woman, tells us that the plane, the movement, the fast pace of the age will be a focus of the show.  And the silhouette figure of a pilot (just enough detail that we know he's a pilot) jauntily casual as he leans against the heel, tie askew, suggesting a "swinging bachelor" type, one who cares more about the lifestyle than the career.


The thing is that the combination of the elements is what really makes the statement: Catch Me If You Can  will be a fast-paced chase.  It will be vibrant, in an era gone by, glamorous, sexy and only for those who can keep up.  Very much the story we already know, along with a hint - "If you wanna make it.  Make it up." - that there are many other adventures to look forward to in this story.

I think the advertising people made several good choices: it is eye-catching, instantly evokes a time period, and whether you know the film or not, you know that glamorous travel figures prominently in the show.  And if you do know the film, then you can be assured that some of your favorite scenes are part of the plot on Broadway, too.

If the creative team can create the world promised by this logo (much as they did with the Hairspray phenomenon) than Catch Me If You Can should be an enormous hit.  Ultra-cool.

Grade: A+

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