As 2009 is winding down, it’s time to celebrate what a great decade the 2000’s have been for theatre. At the end of the 90’s, it seemed that everyone thought that the Broadway musical was doomed. Then in 2001, The Producers, rolled into town and won 12 Tony Awards and became a smash hit, turning a huge profit and boosting ticket prices to astronomical prices. (I still hate them for that!) Instead of debating what shows were the best or worst of 2000, this list focuses on: The Top 15 Broadway Posters of the 2000s.
15. Ragtime Revival – I haven’t seen this production yet, but I just absolutely love how everything is bursting from the piano/Statue of Liberty. I don’t think it could describe the show any better. It’s a fresh adaptation – especially from the original clunky poster which I never really understood.
14. The Light in the Piazza - I find this poster so beautiful, much like Adam Guettel’s score. It’s whimsical yet full of mystery. I think I might like the simplicity of the poster from the vocal selections book better though. Either way, a beautiful show and artwork.
13. Mary Poppins – I think Disney did a fantastic job of reimagining a classic and iconic poster. In my mind, that is one of the hardest things to do because everyone already “sees” something when you think of Mary Poppins. It’s simple, colorful and the accented red on the title really pops out.
12. 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee – It’s unique, catchy and fun. It represents the show so well by using caricatures of the spellers on the front cover. You instantly know it’s not a serious night of theatre. It’s a perfect set-up for such a larger-than-life show.
11. South Pacific – James McMullan’s artwork is so impressive. McMullan has created a whole line of beautiful posters for The Lincoln Center that you can see on McMullan’s website. It’s stunning, just like the production is.
10. Xanadu – Seriously. I just love this poster because you see it and think, “Oh, what a hot 80’s mess.” But then you read “Seriously.” and you realize that it’s hot 80’s mess on purpose and you can’t resist the luscious locks of Clio – I mean Kira. Have you seen the rainbow-fabulous version?
9. The Drowsy Chaperone - “The Funniest Musical on Broadway.” True, true, true. I absolutely adored this show and I loved how they took a risk with this poster. They were banking on just the musical alone and not hoping that a big name would sell this show. The risk paid off!
8. In the Heights – This poster is bursting at the seams with energy, just like the production. It seriously makes me want to dance just looking at it.
7. Hair - I have this poster in my office and everyday I “let the sun shine in”. I love how the peace sign is the center of the poster, but not so big that it becomes cliche and boring. This poster is so much better than the original!!
6. 110 in the Shade – What an incredible picture of the star, Audra McDonald. If I was her, I would get an original and frame that in my house. It’s gorgeous. The color, rain and pure joy that is on McDonald’s face becomes irresistible.
5. Avenue Q - What’s not to like when the tag lines are “What the FUZZ are you looking at?” and “Warning: Full Puppet Nudity”? It’s genius. A perfect way to sell an adult show with Jim Henson-like puppets. Hysterical marketing for a hysterical show.
4. Next to Normal – I might be a little biased since it’s one of my favorite musicals ever, but I think the poster is such a risk. In everyone of the posters above this one, there are depictions of the character(s) from the show on it but Next to Normal’s poster there is a suburban-looking house, two eyes, some music notes and a quote. There’s mystery behind th0se eyes that keeps you intrigued and the quote by Ben Brantley says it all, “…a feel-everything musical”.
3. Urinetown – What can I say? When I first saw this poster, I thought, “What the hell is this?” Your in Town? I absolutely loved it when Little Sally said, “Or a bad title, even? That could kill a show pretty good.” Yes, it’s a bad title, but that’s why I love the poster so much. Even in the poster it’s making fun of itself.
2. Finian’s Rainbow – What a remarkable poster. Even though there are some people that were comparing it to the Urban Outfitter’s logo, I just love it. What a great way to re-introduce this musical into everyone’s vernacular.
1. Wicked – I’m choosing Wicked as the best Broadway poster of the decade for a couple of reasons. I remember when I was in New York the summer of 2003, there were big signs going up for Wicked and I knew I had to see this show. (This was before I knew anything about the production.) It’s also one of the most iconic Broadway posters of this decade. It’s become the new Phantom or Les Miserables.
Did we miss any that you think should be on this list?