Costumes…

Well, the costume fittings were MADNESS!  Madness, I say.  On Wednesday, the cast tried on the costumes for the show.  Huge thanks to Carol Clever.  She took what is thought to be a deceptively minimal look show, and gave it a realistic type of look. What’s difficult is that most productions  just want the sparkle  because it looks great.  My thoughts are that we would have a better connection with the audience and the text if we go for a more realistic look.  It will have a bigger emotional impact in the second act as well if you are truly listening to what is being said.  It was such a challenge to imagine what these things would look like on stage with colored lights and the stage set and dressing, I’ll have to admit.   What I found the most amazing was how much input that I, little ol’ me, had in this whole process.  Incredibly, the director, Bill Starr, and I have the same vision for the show.  Yay!!  I am excited that my thought process, even in spite of my limited training, runs along the same track as this intense man that I have learned several things from.  Now just to let you know, that when I say limited training, I mean actual school training, I am always reading books and learning the theatre craft. Back to the outfits.

Some of the looks needed to be tweaked.  All of the looks need alterations though.  I feel horrible because it’s a lot of work for our costume designer, and so I and several other cast members like Victoria and Beth Ann (by way of Brett) have offered our help to make the show look as good as it can.

My fav is the Frug outfits.  Still working on the hair.  The wigs were fresh out of the box and just plopped on the ladies heads.

Melinda puts 'tude in her go-go boots!

Patty Reinhart is dangerous in her go-go outfit!
Patty Reinhart is dangerous in Frug outfit

These are going to be made shorter to give you more leg.  Hot. HOT! I tell ya.  For the men, there are some things being fixed.  They will be wearing a tux shirt and pants with a bow tie and  flounce accents on their sleeves.  Here’s what my trio is wearing.  I think that the vinyl vest for the men is so sleek.

Valerie is rocking the Union Jack!!
Valerie is aloof and rocking the Union Jack!!!

Act 1 opens in the park with varying degrees of 60’s looks.  Here are just a couple

Heather Schweitzer vogues in her 60’s look
Andrea looks like she’s ready for school.
Ben makes a tiny tribute to another Bob Fosse show.  Can you name it?

For Rhythm of Life, there wasn’t a lot to look at on Wednesday.  We had several tops, but not completed outfits.  So I can’t quite bring you a true look for that number but it should be colorful.  But I’m A Brass Band will be faboo!

Always immersed in the role, Ian Teter models the Brass Band outfit

I am leaving the Big Spender costumes out because there’s gotta be something to surprise you when you see the show.  I just wanted to give you a little sneak peak before the show.  You may think that these looks are plain, but keep in mind the lights, and all the stuff that’s going to be on stage to add colors.  I can’t wait for the day we set foot on that stage with the sets in the theatre.  I think that’s when everything is going to click, and I can have a refreshed perspective of the show.

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Big Spender…

Hello Patrons!!!

I figure that since enough time has passed, I can post some things about my ideas and concepts for this number in Sweet Charity.  Jeez, where to begin…

I performed Sweet Charity with another local group back in 2000.  I was one of the trio that start the Frug and Daddy Brubeck (after the original guy that was cast for it left the show).  I loved performing in the show not only because it’s great campy fun, but because of the Frug.  However, when it came time for the choreographing of this number, the staff decided that cutting out the middle section of the song was going to be the best way to go.  I was so disheartened by this.  You see, I am a great admirer of Bob Fosse and the unique style that he created.  I jumped at the chance just to perform some of these songs.  Little did I know that I would actually be doing the choreography that was from the movie.  So I guess I have to call it more of a re-staging than actual choreography.   I say this because to choreograph something is to create movements to a piece of sound or music, and to restage is to take something that is already created and teach it to new people.  And at the time, I was okay with that.

Then last year, when I found out about this show, it made me think of all the potential that it could have had.  The direction of the 2000 production was full of gimmicks. The costumes were stunning. And the dancing was fun, but unoriginal.

One night in the beginning of summer, I had a dream where music filled my head.  It was the da dada da da da of the trumpets at the beginning of Big Spender.  I was sitting in the audience, and the dance hall hostesses came down the isle talking to the men with their lines, “Hey good looking you wanna talk? What’s the harm in a little talk?” and all that jazz.  There was this mood of anticipation, excitement and yet unease that hung over the crowd because they were no longer safe in the separation between voyeurs and participants.  They were in the show. This feeling is something that I felt needed to be addressed but it never does.  It’s a great feeling to sit in a show and physically feel the vibe. Bob Fosse was able to create this sort of atmosphere ever so slightly in the movie by utilizing camera shots full of shadows, smoke and lipstick.  Unfortunately, in the amount of time we have in theater, this is not something that can be properly conveyed.

After the proposals, the hostesses head behind the bar (which is cut in the middle) , slightly upstage.  A safer distance from the audience and as they go behind, the bar slams shut behind them, in a small way symbolizing the fact that they are stuck in this life.  Incidentally, Charity isn’t in this number, and if you know the ending, you will know why I believe this would have been a great idea.  Unfortunately, the bars we have aren’t incredibly easy to move, so open they stay.  A small hint to the audience that this show is more than just a comedy about love.  As the hostesses sing the first verse and chorus everything happens behind the bar, but when they ask for some time to be spent with them, the genie is out of the bottle and isn’t secured until the end of the number.  It’s in your face.  It’s sexy.  It’s sassy.  And it’s a little dark.  But hey, they aren’t exactly innocent church ladies are they?

It was when I woke up from this dream that I kept thinking about this show.  I kept thinking, can I actually try to work on this show and create something Fosse-esque?  I thought about it so much that I finally got the nerve to ask the producer.   I started thinking and researching and planning right away even though I had almost 5 months time.  I found old Vogue photos that became my inspiration for some of the poses in the number.  Here are some of my faves:

These models were sexy yet classy.  Yet, I needed something a little more intense.  So the angles of the models are a little sharper and so are the attitudes.
I can’t decide if Big Spender or Rich Man’s Frug is my current favorite.  Although I’m A Brass Band is coming along quite nicely!  So at this point I am torn, and I hope that you are too when you see the show!
Until next time,  break a leg!