Thursday, December 6, 2012


This Sunday, the much-anticipated and much-debated "revised" version of the popular musical Bare will open off-Broadway.  One thing that can be said for the production, no matter the reviews or message boards, the producers have gone to great lengths to get to their target audience via social media and websites.  Part of that advertising blitz, of course, is the show's logo.  So how good is it?

Grade: A-

The overall look of the logo is very modern - a lot of visual impact with minimal parts.  A plain, off-white background forces the eye to look more closely at what is there, while the color and lack of clutter suggest a certain purity.

The black and gray, simple lettering of the title, coupled with its proportion and its being all lower-case again draws the eye and is just atypical enough to catch the eye and pause - not to mention the provocative multiple-meaning of the word "bare."  "The musical" seems almost an after-thought.  Of course, that subtitle means a lot to followers of the show in its earlier incarnations, for it signals a distinct change from "a pop opera" to "the musical."  That is a big change.

The image, a cross, unmistakably signals the central role of religion in the show.  That that image is made up of images signals both the modern edge of the show - they all look like Instagram pictures - and, more importantly, the controversial nature of the content.  Knowing the story, it is easier for me to "get" the way the pictures are arranged, but you still get a lot out of it if you don't know the show already.  At the center of it all is the love story between two young men (Peter and Jason in a kiss).  They are surrounded by all of the forces working against that love.  Above it all is the force of religion and the adult voice (Father Mike and Sister Joan in front of the St. Cecilia's Boarding School emblem).  The cool skater kid to the left almost seems like he's looking on - is he catching them?  is he interested in them?  is he trouble or an ally? - talk about potential conflict (Matt is a definite presence in the central story.)  To their right, is the suggestive saying, "Everyone has a secret."  Done in anonymous Post-It Note cut out letters suggests that someone knows the big secret of their love.  With that anonymity comes a sense of impending danger.  Just below is a clearly posed picture of one of the young men in the "kiss photo" with a sexy young girl (Jason is  with Ivy).  Their juxtaposition suggests a closeness that is more than friends, which is in direct conflict with the central picture - a love triangle? is the guy bisexual?  is there some kind of trickery going on? And the last picture, which is at the other end of longer line of the cross, is the peer group of the four central teens and the student body of St. Cecilia's.  Naturally, an edgy peer group of teens will come into play in a musical about high schoolers, and it also addresses the target audience of the show.

Even the show's "app-sized" logo version cuts it down to the bare essentials (no pun intended).  The bare title, the simple picture of the central romance and conflict.  At the very least, it is interesting enough to make the smart-phone-iPad set click the pic.

While I understand that the black and white and faux sepia tones used in the pictures mimic different settings on Instagram, and that that type of image figures heavily into the stage design, I think the overall logo might benefit from a pop of color - maybe a red highlight in each picture?  But that is a small qualm.  This logo does it all - it sets the tone, tells the story and goes right after its target audience.  I hope the show is as good.

For a sneak peek at 3 songs from Bare, check out this article from!  Click HERE.  what do you think of the new song, "A Million Miles from Heaven"?  How about the lyrics changes to "Are You There?" or Jason singing "Role of a Lifetime" instead of Peter?  Leave your comments below!

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