Now that the season is behind us, pre-Tonys time is when we like to look at recurring trends. Being the show art lover that I am, I couldn't help but notice that three musicals featured their show logos as a part of the set. It reminds me of a time when painting or projecting the show title on the curtain was common. Les Miserables, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, Sunset Boulevard, and even this season's Almost Famous featured that. Of course, there are some examples from previous seasons where logo/show titles were integral to the set, like The Full Monty, the most recent revival of Company and Moulin Rouge. So this isn't a new thing. But with three in one season, I think it qualifies as a trend.
The thing about the three from this season is that they all are part of the action as well as being part of the setting and blocking of the cast. And I think that's pretty cool.
When you enter the Stephen Sondheim Theatre, the first thing you may notice is that the title of the show is hanging just off the floor, surrounded by carts of paints, ladders and random letters the spell out "Romeo." In other words, a production of Romeo & Juliet is being prepared. As show time approaches, the cast comes out and starts putting it together, until everything changes. "Romeo" stays on the ground. "& Juliet" flies into the rafters and her story begins. The logo is part of the show!
New York, New York
The stage is set when the house opens at the St. James Theatre, and the neon New York, New York is there big enough to go on top of a skyscraper. Unlit, it gives an air of expectation; lit, it's the bright light excitement of the big city. Modern Times Square has fewer and fewer signs like this anymore, so it also helps set the scene before the show even starts - it doesn't take place in 2023. At this point, we haven't seen this in person, but production photos confirm that at least one cast member interacts with it, so again, the logo is part of the show!
Early in this show, the title is projected on the enormous back wall screen, albeit backwards, as if we are behind the title with the company. Then at the end of the spectacular curtain call, the logo appears in floor to ceiling letters, brightly lit. Through it, we see the dancers doing what they do best, all in tribute to the great Bob Fosse. One last bump of lights and a finale button from the orchestra, and we see the dancers one last time between the letters. Then they are gone. You guessed it: the logo is part of the show!
I'm sure this won't be the last we see of this stage convention. But three times in one season? Will it be a trend again?