Above is the invitation to the Stage 62 50th Anniversary Benefit and their performance of Merrily We Roll Along in concert. Usually the program I design for a show is derived from the art we used for the invitation or post card, but in this case the program had much more to say than “come to the show”. And the artwork for the invitation has a history of its own so I thought I’d feature it—in fact, I stole it, from myself. It’s just called recycling your own designs.
It may look like any other traditional stage, but to those of us who know the Andrew Carnegie Free Library Music Hall it is actually a simplified illustration of the stage and proscenium. The arch, the lights, the bowed stage, the curtains, are all what you see when a show is about to begin, and if you’re standing in the back, you see these silhouetted heads of people too.
Below is the first iteration of this theme, designed for a debate held in October 2008. It’s a different color theme, and it’s also got a few extra elements in the two podiums, flags and bunting along the stage. I photographed this hall for years prior to this program and decided we needed to have this vector art for this program, and to be used for future programs and promotions for the Music Hall.
Vector simply means a shape has reference points that when connected create defined edges. These can be filled with color and pattern, and can be enlarged infinitely without losing definition, so all the work of digitally drawing each shape could be reused in various colors and various sizes. I actually chose one of my photographs from a program where the Hall was nearly full and drew on top of it with the digital tools in my graphics program instead of my pens to create the simple shapes and planes of color. I drew one side of the proscenium and stage, then copied it and flipped it horizontally, pasting it next to the first section to be absolutely certain the shape of the proscenium was symmetrical as well as the fall of the curtains. And I followed the outlines of the the profiles of the people in the crowd that to this day I still recognize some of them!
For the debate, I imagined how the stage would be decorated for the debate and added the podiums, bunting and flags. Below is what the stage actually looked like just before the debate, and this also gives you a pretty good idea what the stage and proscenium look like in real life.
When the Stage 62 event came up my mind went immediately to this art. Stage 62 performed their first show in that Hall in the fall of 1990 and has been performing there since. They are highly identified with the Hall and my interest wasn’t to take a short cut (though it was nice to save a little time) but to use something symbolic that would be easily identified by the audience who’d been attending their shows. Of course, I didn’t need the podium, flags and bunting so I removed those for this version, added a few more overlapping spotlights, kept the audience below and repeated it above to represent the players of Stage 62 as a long line of people who’ve made the organization possible. Most conveniently, I could change the colors in each area independently, and in this case decided to use a monochromatic theme so the yellow-gold for the Golden Anniversary would stand out more. The font for the heading is similar to the font used for this show when it was first performed in 1981 which I found in research of posters, playbills and recordings, and it’s also the same font Stage 62 uses for their logo.
Here it is again, so you don’t have to scroll to the bottom. And if you’re local, don’t miss the show on Saturday, September 22, 2012!