×
×
homepage logo

Costumes make the stage come alive

By Rachel J. Trotter, Standard-Examiner Correspondent - | Jan 12, 2016
1 / 7

Jennie Richardson sorts through Gaston costumes at Centerpoint Theatre in Centerville on Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2016. A crew of costume makers began working on pieces for "Beauty and the Beast" in November in preparation for the play's debut at the end of February.

2 / 7

Jennie Richardson displays Gaston's hunting coat from "Beauty and the Beast" at Centerpoint Theatre in Centerville on Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2016. Richardson modified a donated raincoat from the 1980's to make the costume.

3 / 7

Jennie Richardson trims a loose thread on a napkin costume for "Beauty and the Beast" at the Centerpoint Theatre in Centerville on Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2016.

4 / 7

Jennie Richardson adjusts a villagers costume for "Beauty and the Beast" at Centerpoint Theatre in Centerville on Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2016. Around 1,500 costume pieces will be created for the play.

5 / 7

Rolls of ribbon and lace fill shelves in the basement of the Centerpoint Theatre in Centerville on Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2016.

6 / 7

Jennie Richardson displays a napkin costume from "Beauty and the Beast" at Centerpoint Theatre in Centerville on Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2016.

7 / 7

Jennie Richardson displays a napkin costume from "Beauty and the Beast" at Centerpoint Theatre in Centerville on Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2016.

OGDEN – Have you ever seen a beautiful portrait without a frame or eaten a steak without seasoning?

That’s what theatergoers would be missing without costumes on the stage. For costume designers, the process is long and arduous, but well worth the final result as actors take the stage with the perfect eye-catching costumes.

Becky Cole is the main costume designer at The Ziegfeld Theater in Ogden and said the process of designing the costumes for any given performance starts before any rehearsals begin. The designers often meet with the directors and producers to see what the idea and theme for the show is and how the costuming should fit within in that plan. Then the design team goes to work, assessing what costumes they have, if they need to rent them somewhere else or start from scratch.

Jennie Richardson, lead costume designer for the CenterPoint Legacy Theatre in Centerville, is in the middle of designing costumes for “Beauty and the Beast,” which starts in March. The thing is, she has been working on the costumes for two months already.

• RELATED: Terrace Plaza Playhouse to open “You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown” 

“We kind of started from scratch because what we had didn’t really work and we wanted it to be really special,” Richardson said.

Richardson is currently directing “The Foreigner,” which opened this week at the Centerville theater. She did the costumes for that show as well.

“As a director, I really like to do my own costumes because I know what I want,” she said. So often, while she is designing and putting together the costumes for an upcoming show, she is still taking care of the costumes for the current production, which is a big show in and of itself.

“I clean out the dressing rooms and make sure everything is ready to go every night,” she said. She added she likes the constant change in the job.

Cole does as well. Cole oftentimes makes her own patterns for the things she sews from scratch, but theaters also rent some costuming as well. Ziegfeld rents from the Utah State University costume shop and the Scera in Utah County from time to time. CenterPoint rents from Weber State University’s costume shop on occasion.

The Terrace Plaza Playhouse in Washington Terrace has a fairly large vault of costumes, but that can present its own problems too, said costume designer Stephanie Peterson. “Sometimes they are old and we have to find other things,” she said.

She just did the costuming for “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown.” It’s the first show she did the costuming on from start to finish. “It takes a lot of research,” Peterson said.

All three agree that many people don’t know or realize how much goes on behind the scenes for costuming.

“It’s so important to find something that makes the actor pop and show up on the stage. It also has to match that person as well,” Cole said.

Richardson agrees. When shows are double-cast, what may work for one character, won’t work for another, so that is taken into account as well.

Richardson doesn’t often sew things from the start on her own, but other people on her team do. “I work with what I have, adding things here or there,” she said.

Both Richardson and Cole like to look at what era they are working with and switch things up with costuming within that era. “You can change the lace or trim and it completely changes the look,” Richardson said.

• RELATED: Want to ace your theater audition? Here’s how

Most theaters don’t ask their actors to bring any of their own stuff, unless maybe it’s shoes. Some people wear odd sizes and if they have something in their closet that works, they can go for that.

All the theaters try to share costumes, especially with high schools, and do rent their stuff out when they can, although they don’t want look at themselves as rental facilities. “That can get to be too much, so we have to be careful,” Richardson said.

“I love the creativity and to see the finished product,” Peterson said. Both Cole and Richardson agree. Cole acts in many of the Ziegfeld’s productions and said there is a huge difference between singing and acting on stage in yoga pants and T-shirts, or in a bright red dress and a beautiful wig.

“Costumes take great acting and showcase it,” Cole said. “Great acting can happen on a blank stage but costumes make the eye pop,” she added.

Newsletter

Join thousands already receiving our daily newsletter.

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)