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Harps and Angels
posted: October 18, 2010

Surprisingly, there are people walking the earth that can’t name the four Beatles, and who don’t know about Randy Newman’s music except for his songs for Pixar and Disney pictures. He’s one of my favorite songwriters, so when Center Theatre Group called about a poster for a new musical based on Newman’s songs, I said yes immediately. The challenge was to make a poster for a show that was in the process of being written and cast. The musical is based on Newman’s album “Harps and Angels” and a number of his other songs from through the years. Directed by Broadway veteran Jerry Zaks, the production is described as a compelling, honest and humorous commentary on what it is like to be born, grow up, fall in love, and live and die in America. The cast includes Michael McKean and Katey Sagal, and it will have its world premeire at the Mark Taper Forum at the Music Center in Los Angeles on November 10. Charity Capili was the art director on this one and she managed to get this approved by everyone involved without any drama.
Some sketches from the first round that weren't chosen....

Everyone liked the idea of Randy's silhouette with the titles inside. Here's a few color options we tried....

15 comments
David Flaherty October 19, 2010
He's a great song writer. Never bought an album ? whats an album? but singers I respect bow down to him. Maddening how the color combinations can tax one! Don't mind the pink one.
Mark Fisher October 19, 2010
Hard to pick my favorite color combo, real nice hand lettering.
harry October 19, 2010
That's a great poster Paul. I'm always impressed by your versatility. The hand lettering is really well done and balanced. You get some of the greatest assignments. Your probably right that most know Randy Newman for Toy Story and other movie soundtracks. My first experience was a dark moody and sarcastic album that my brother gave me. Cant recall the title. Louisiana? I would have probably leaned more earthy and dark in color if I was the art director, seems more in keeping with Randy's darker lyrics-like Baltimore.
Tim OBrien October 19, 2010
It's a good album. I love Randy and have for many years. Good poster and I really like your first sketch. Congrats.
sock October 19, 2010
short people got... no reason to live. oh god i hate that song. did he do tall people too? Oy. But he does have some classics in his repertoire. This is a cherry of a poster. Whimsical. Fresh. Very L.A. Love the way the glasses rest on his face. Thats Newman. There was a piece Niemann did for NYT Magazine about a decade ago that used Ken Lay in a similar way. A good silhouette is not an easy task. Well done, sir!
Marc October 19, 2010
Beautiful type and color combinations, Paul. Always fun to see the sketches, too. BTW: I just noticed that "Attention" sign you have on your banner above; I took a snapshot of that same sign in Paris this summer! Funny what'll catch your eye.
Noah Woods October 19, 2010
Absolutely stunning, Paul. You constantly inspire.
Ellen Weinstein October 19, 2010
Beautifully designed poster, Paul. Love the typography.
Greg Clarke October 19, 2010
You use color combinations that I would never even attempt, and somehow pull it off. And you nailed his likeness in that silhouette.
Jim Paillot October 19, 2010
What a great blend of typography, color and concept. Nice poster!
Kyle T Webster October 19, 2010
Excellent lettering, great shapes.
Doug Fraser October 19, 2010
The right color combo was picked, in my opinion. I wonder what the streets & public places would look like if Mr.Rogers took up tagging?
Jim Royce November 9, 2010
I am the marketing director for Center Theatre Group. We loved Paul's work so much we had a hard time choosing which color set to pick as the central key art. So we're using three variations, rotating among 3sheets, post cards and online advertising. You can see the three here: http://www.centertheatregroup.org/tickets/productiondetail.aspx?id=11444
Dewi Williams November 22, 2010
This is a lovely poster. Will it be available for sale?
Paul Rogers November 22, 2010
I think posters are available at The Music Center's Mark Taper Forum.
paulrogersstudio.com 626 564 8728