Behind the Poster: ‘Anything Goes’
By ERIK PIEPENBURG
A ship usually takes center stage in the advertising for any revival of the Cole Porter musical “Anything Goes.”
But for Roundabout Theater Company’s coming Broadway revival, the advertising agency SpotCo decided to go with a bold, retro look for its print and television ads that highlights the actress Sutton Foster, who plays Reno Sweeney. (A ship is there, but quite a bit smaller.)
The show is scheduled to begin performances at the Stephen Sondheim Theater on March 10.
Drew Hodges, the founder of SpotCo, talked with ArtsBeat about what inspired the design. Following are excerpts from the conversation.
This poster is all about Sutton Foster. There’s a lot of color, and there’s a boat, but it says Sutton.
This is Sutton’s show. My first thought was I want to give her an iconic moment. She’s a dancer. She has this stunning body with legs that go forever and a tiny waist. She’s kind of a 1940s chorus girl. It’s perfect for this.
The poster has a kind of period feel. How did you come up with the concept?
The idea came quickly that maybe there was a way to do a modern Vargas. He was an illustrator from the ’30s and ’40s, even into the ’50s. The Vargas girls have legs that are impossibly long. They’re sensual yet wholesome. Sutton has a smile that zings out and is sweet. That’s a rare combo.
How was it designed?
We looked at painting the whole thing, or doing an illustration. But that looked too retro. The other way was to do it all with photography. But we wanted a fresh spin on it. We ended up with a mixture. We photographed Sutton and added her to an illustrated background and digitally worked the photograph until it was almost an oil painting.
I have to say that when I first looked at it it seemed as though she was doing down a sinkhole or a drain. But I imagine that’s not what you’re going for.
Uh, no. The show has a kind of big, bright gold thing, yet a lightness. It seemed like a fun way to get this classic pinup pose where she’s lifted up.
Is it hard to design the poster for a revival of a show that people know well?
I don’t think I have to use this ad to tell people what “Anything Goes” is. For a Broadway audience, people know what it is, but they want a sense of Sutton will be like in it.
It’s up to the ticket buyers to go, “Huh, that’s what that will be like.” I don’t think people need to know what the boat looks like.
Monday, January 10, 2011
How Broadway Advertising is Done
The New York Times has posted on its arts blog an insiders view on how advertising is done for Broadway shows. I thought you guys would enjoy reading it. I am posting both the link and the interview below.