Friday, October 23, 2009

Mo Brady and his amazing costume changes!

blog entry written by Mo Brady (Zebulun, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat)

During HELLO, DOLLY!, I blogged about costume changes. Specifically, the "quick changes" from one costume to another, usually done with the help of dressers and a lot of velcro. While we have a number of quick changes in JOSEPH..., what has been more present in our minds are the changes in costumes throughout the tech and preview process.

The costumes we wear in JOSEPH... were originally used in a 1990s Goodspeed Opera House production. They were designed by Mark Thompson, who used the same costume design in the JOSEPH... movie (starring Donny Osmond).

This summer, these Goodspeed costumes were shipped to The 5th Avenue, and our AMAZING resident costume and wardrobe supervisor, Lynda Salsbury. She and her expert costume shop crew coordinated which 5th Avenue actors would wear each costume and tailored them for us. In addition, The 5th Avenue costume shop also purchased us new shoes and created new pieces when needed.

Although the costumes came virtually completed, there have been changes during the tech and preview process. During this time, the costume shop was constantly tweaking the design of the show. Sometimes are very small, and other times they greatly alter the look and feel of a scene.

One of my costumes to go through the biggest changes was my outfit for Go Go Go Joseph, the psychedelic Act I finale. In its original incarnation, the costume is almost exactly like it came from Goodspeed: a red tailored suit with capri pants. The design staff at the 5th Avenue had me wear a rainbow hat on top of my Potiphar wig. I also wore my POTIPHAR socks, and boots (which are actually my same shoes from HELLO, DOLLY!) Backstage, other actors told me I looked like a crazy Christmas elf.

During tech week, Mary Jones, the Hair and Make-up Designer, gave the entire company new wigs for this number. Now, we all have neon colored hair, in all shapes and sizes. Additionally, I was given a pair of neon green socks to go with the boots.

The final touch was a new pair of green platform shoes. These 3-inch heels were added the day before opening. The first time I got to practice with them was in front of 2,000 audience members. Dancing in these new shoes certainly changes how I can dance in the song, but they're a pretty spectacular addition to the look of the scene.

The look for my brother, Zebulun, also changed throughout the tech process. The first afternoon I dressed a brother, I had a long dark wig, a moustache, and pointy sideburns.

When I came that evening, the facial hair had been cut altogether, as you can see in this photograph of Dane Stokinger (Reuben) and me. I was also given a new, lighter wig.

Eventually, Mary settled on a smaller piece of facial hair, which is what I have worn in all the previews and performances.

Every show morphs on its journey towards opening night. Not only the costumes, but the staging, orchestrations, and every other aspect of the production can change. Although these changes take a lot of time and energy, each edit can help the audience to understand and enjoy the show even more.


No comments: