Wednesday, October 24, 2012

LOGOS: Scandalous

I hope that Scandalous the show isn't as much of an enigma to me as Scandalous the logo is.  Logo-wise, this one is aesthetically perfect.  But when you think about it, it can be derivative (at best) and confusing (at worst).  Let me break it down:

The Current Logo

  • The colors:  The bright, clear blue catches your eye, while the red draws you in for a closer look.
  • The placement: Now that the logo has caught your eye, you notice the details:  the blue is a perfect sky, full of fluffy clouds and a beam of light from above; the red is a ripe apple with a vivid green leaf; a perfectly manicured female hand holds out the apple, as if inviting you to take it and add your bite to the one already missing.
  • The title font: The large, simple, all caps letters that are bejeweled, suggest wealth and a show-bizzy dazzle.

Maybe this should be the about SCANDALOUS!

  • The effect/implications:  The title, "SCANDALOUS," just invites curiosity - who doesn't love a tempting scandal?  Then you think, "hmm... apple...feminine hand...inviting... the ultimate temptation...the original scandal... Eve...Adam...the damned apple!"  Adam and Eve and a heavenly beam of light... religious themes! (See below)

  • An edit that was done: Notice that the current logo does NOT include the subtitle, "The Life and Trials of Aimee Semple McPherson" is gone, as is the star billing.  The subtitle makes the show sound, well, historical, boring and begs, "who the heck is this McPherson woman?"  And, no offense to the immensely talented Carolee Carmello, but when the average, casual theater-goer decides on a show, the title, the buzz and the "names" in it all come into play.  Hers is not a "name" anyone outside the confines of the New York theatre district likely knows.  If we are going to be completely honest, one has to wonder how many people that attend Broadway somewhat regularly know who she is.  I think last year's "Raul-Esparza-over-the-title" proved that the days of the traditional Broadway-regular-as-star days are over.  And he even has several high-profile TV credits.  Good riddance subtitle and star billing.
In short, visually, the logo is everything a log needs to be: attractive, eye-catching, and it gives you pause long enough to pay attention to it.


  • Religious-themed shows: As Leap of Faith and even known titles like Jesus Christ Superstar, Sister Act and Godspell have recently proven, religious-themed musicals are a dicey proposition for audiences.  Perhaps iconography that points up the glamour and razzle dazzle of the star that Ms. McPherson was would kill two birds with one stone: nothing sells "scandal" like celebrity, and it might have gone a long way toward telling the public-at-large who this woman was.

  • Looks like something it might not be:  The moment I saw the logo, I thought, "Wow, that reminds me of Desperate Housewives."  As a fan, that could be a good thing.  Is this show about such a woman?  Wait... was EVE a desperate housewife?  Do I want to see a musical version of that show?  Were those gals religious?  They sure were scandalous.  As a ticket buyer, not so much.  "What?  It isn't about the ladies of Wisteria Lane? Forget it!  I'll wait for the next movie turned musical... maybe Elf or A Christmas Story... I've heard good things about Newsies!"
  • Lack of star power: The one "name" that might sell some tickets to the desperate housewives is Kathie Lee Gifford.  From what I have heard, buzz-wise, her contributions range from interesting to over-wrought.  Maybe keeping her name off the logo until the revisions are done and the reviews come in is a wise move.
  • Unfamiliar subject matter unaddressed: Worst of all, to "get it," you have to know something about the show's subject.  That, in and of itself, is a contradiction.  One of the positives I mentioned above was the loss of the show's subtitle.  But to fully understand the iconic nature of the logo, you need to know that the show is about a scandalous religious figure, which the subtitle does tell you.  Damned if you do, damned if you don't, right?

But does anyone besides Kathie Lee Gifford give a damn about Aimee Semple McPherson?  Maybe more of us would care if they found some way to connect America's first media superstar to today's media-centric society.  Perhaps the show does that (sounds like a no-brainer to me), but it won't matter if nothing - including the logo - piques the public's interest enough to get butts in the seats.

GRADE: D+ (Lovely to look at, but ineffective)

Before you go...

... DROOD fans!  Check out the running results of the voting!  Scroll over the colors in the pie charts to see the statistics!
... have you checked out the NEW Ms. Broadway, BETSY WOLFE?  CLICK her pic in the right hand column!
... have you voted in the 2nd HOT or NOT poll for SCANDALOUSCLICK the pic of Carolee Carmello in the left column!

Comments? Questions? @jkstheatrescene (Twitter); (Email); or leave a comment below and check a box!

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