Costume Design

What Does It Take to Be a Ballet Company’s Head of Wardrobe on Opening Night?

BY MADELINE SCHROCK via www.dancemagazine.com Building a full-length ballet from scratch is an intense process. For the world premiere of Anna Karenina, a collaboration between The Joffrey Ballet and The Australian Ballet, that meant original choreography by Yuri Possokhov, a brand-new score by Ilya Demutsky, costume and set designs by Tom Pye and lighting designs by David Finn. The lavish ballet features upwards of 200 complete looks—and more than 800 individual costume pieces. “In the Joffrey costume shop we have a team of six to nine people, but for a big production like Anna not everything is made in-house,” says Ellie Cotey, head of wardrobe for The Joffrey Ballet. She estimates that about 50 people total were involved in the build. “It is always fun to build beautif...

A Conversation with Costume Designer Dede Ayite

BY HOWARD SHERMAN via www.stage-directions.com With a resume of recent costume design credits including American Son and Children of a Lesser God on Broadway, Fireflies at Atlantic Theatre Company, Slave Play at New York Theatre Workshop and School Girls, or The African Mean Girls Play for MCC Theater, it’s slightly surprising to learn a few facts about Dede Ayite’s education and training. “I double majored in theater and behavioral neuroscience,” says Ayite, a graduate of Lehigh University. As for her graduate work at Yale School of Drama? “Scene design,” she explains. Ayite connects the dots that took her through various courses of study to her burgeoning costume design career. Growing up in Ghana and only moving to the U.S. in her final years of high school, Ayite recalls, “I’d very muc...

How the Phantom of the Opera’s Mask is Made

via www.stage-directions.com Saturday, January 26, 2019 was the 31st Anniversary of the Broaddway opening of The Phantom of the Opera. Here’s a backstage video about how the iconic mask is custom-made for each Phantom: In this video, Milliner and Phantom mask maker, Rodney Gordon walks us through the process of making these custom masks. Gordon works with the current Phantom, Ben Crawford on casting his face and making the mask along with Sam Fleming, the Associate Costume Designer and Thelma Pollard, Production Makeup Supervisor. (Pollard has been with the production since its opening.) The Costume Designer, Maria Björnson won Tony Awards for both the scenic and costume designs for The Phantom of the Opera. Gordon still works with the original mask design paper that was created by B...

The Judy Dearing Design Competition -Now Accepting Applications

The Black Theatre Network announces that they are accepting applications for The Judy Dearing Design Competition. The Black Theatre Network (BTN) established this award, which covers theatrical scenic, costume, and lighting design, in 1996 in honor of pioneering costume designer, Judy Dearing. The awards were created to encourage African American students focused on elements of theatrical design. The awards are presented every other year with the other major awards. All entries will be evaluated by a professional design panel. Judy Dearing Student Design Competition The purpose of this competition is to encourage Black Theatre students of design and give them an opportunity to have their work exhibited at the National Conference of the Black Theatre Network. Dearing (1940–1995) was an Afri...

Costume Designing an All New Mary Poppins

BY EMILY ZEMLER via www.backstage.com In “Mary Poppins Returns,” Sandy Powell was tasked with reimagining the look of a beloved character originated by Julie Andrews and now played by Emily Blunt. The three-time Oscar-winning costume designer, working alongside director Rob Marshall, put her own spin on the story’s fantastical, 1930s London setting. Here, Powell unpacks her challenges and inspiration for the film, and also discusses her polar opposite work in Yorgos Lanthimos’ period drama “The Favourite.” Did you feel any pressure to take inspiration from the original “Mary Poppins”? It wasn’t exactly pressure, because Rob had made it clear we weren’t actually doing anything like the original. It was a whole new story. So the only thing we had to take into consideration was Mary Poppins h...

The Marvelous 1950s Costumes of Marvelous Mrs Maisel

via www.thecostumerag.com Amy Sherman-Palladino’s Marvelous Mrs Maisel  is about a Jewish mother who explores her passions by becoming a comedian. The show uses 1950s fashion throughout the plot using colours and patterns to express both the glamour and austerity found in the post-war period. The 1950s costumes create an authentic portrayal of this time period, and illustrates Midge’s emotional journey as well. Costume designer Donna Zakowska told Mashable how important Midge’s wardrobe “was [as] an attempt to optimistically capture the spirit of a woman, who in spite of unfortunate events continues to assert her spirit to remain on her feet. Her love of clothes, detail and color would become tools for expressing her strength and identity. [We’re] re-examining the strength and complexity o...

Working in Wardrobe

via www.stage-directions.com Here’s a video from the American Theatre Wing that takes a look at the work of the Wardrobe Department, specifically for the current production of My Fair Lady at Lincoln Center Theater. The costumes are created to fulfill the epic world that a play or musical inhabits. It takes lots of organization, maintenance, and often creativity to get the performers ready for each and every scene (and maybe even a quick change during a scene). They interview Patrick Bevilacqua, Assistant Costume Designer / Wardrobe Supervisor, Jessica Firorella, Internal Costume Swing, and Dean Amato, Male Principal Dresser for My Fair Lady. The costumes are vast for the company of My Fair Lady at Lincoln Center Theater. They require multiple teams with various responsibilities to m...

Want my job? Set & Costume Design with Khadija Raza

BY TOM INNISS via www.voicemag.uk Linbury Prize winner Khadija Raza talks to Voice about the excitement and variation her job as a set and costume designer offers her. Could you first introduce yourself to the reader? My name is Khadija Raza and I’m a set and costume designer working in theatre. What does your job involve? Give us the typical outline of a day? My job has a lot of varied roles/responsibilities. As a designer I read and analyse the script/text that I’m starting with – in collaboration with a director – and design the world of the play through sketches, scale models and technical drawings. I also have to help realise the production, working alongside production managers and stage managers. Depending on the scale/ budget of the production, the realising...

A Look at the Masks and the Puppets in The Lion King

via www.stage-directions.com It was this week 21 years ago, Oct. 15, 1997 to be precise, that The Lion King played its first preview and audiences first saw the beautiful and intricate costumes, masks and puppetry so central to the narrative and to the unique experience of the production. Adam Savage and the team at Tested went backstage at The Lion King during its run in San Francisco in this video visit to the musical’s puppet shop, where puppet supervisor Michael Reilly walked them through the numerous intricate and varied puppets and masks used in the performance and showed how they’re maintained in their traveling workshop. The production and design credits for the show when it opened at the New Amsterdam Theatre were: Scenic Design by Richard Hudson Costume Design by Juli...

Shall I Clothe Thee for a Summer’s Day? Costuming Outdoor Shakespeare

BY BILLY MCENTEE via www.americantheatre.org Shakespeare’s characters aren’t the only ones weathering floods and tempests. Outdoor summer Shakespeare is an American institution alongside July 4th fireworks and lounging poolside. Across the country, as actors and audiences endure rain, heat, and bugs to present and partake of free professional performances of the Bard’s classics, one group of designers has a special challenge: costume designers, who must conceive innovative ways to protect actors, their clothes, and the integrity of the story. How does the process of working al fresco differ from being in more enclosed venues, and how do costumers think sustainably to preserve their designs night after night? “Designing for outdoor environments is challenging yet fascinating,” said Ying-Jun...

Register for the LiNK Grad School Auditions & Interviews! (Hosted by USITT & SETC)

Where Master’s Candidates and Recruiters Connect SETC and USITT partner each fall to bring graduate theatre degree programs together with people considering options for interviews, auditions, and information exchange. Connect with more than 50 programs across theatre disciplines including Acting, Design, Technology, and Management. Explore your options for advanced education and find your dream grad program in one convenient, affordable location. 5th Annual LiNK When: Nov. 9-11, 2018 Where:  Crowne Plaza Hotel Atlanta-Airport  |  Atlanta, GA For Candidates Register early with your resume, portfolio, and head shot for advance review by recruiters. $50 Early Registration: Aug. 1 – Sept. 12, 2018 $75 Late Registration: Sept. 13 – Oct. 24, 2018 $95 Onsite Registration: Onsite...

SNL Hair and Makeup Heads Reveal How They Create Their Weekly Transformations

BY CASEY MINK via www.backstage.com If you’ve ever marveled at a “Saturday Night Live” cast member’s transformation from parrot to politician in one commercial break, you should know the names Jodi Mancuso and Louie Zakarian, the sketch show’s longtime hair and makeup department heads. Just ahead of the television institution’s 43rd season finale, Mancuso and Zakarian—who have 12 Emmys between them—spoke with Backstage to break down what a show week typically looks like, how their work helps actors find and get into their many characters, and the one look creator Lorne Michaels deemed too shocking. How do you typically prepare for a show week? Louie Zakarian (makeup): It starts on Tuesdays, when the host comes in and we do promos. We do the table read on Wednesday; we go through something ...

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