As opposed to lighting, I think the audience is quite aware of costume design, especially in a show like Sound of Music, with nuns, cute children, elegant wealthy party guests. But you may not know exactly how much hard work and planning goes into costume design. With a cast of 33, and some playing multiple characters, it’s a lot of people to dress. Many have several costume changes.
There are literally hundreds of costumes for this show – 70 for the children alone. I visited the costume shop and found Ariana, Ellen and Erika, costume interns, working on some of the costumes. Some costumes are rented from other theaters, some are found in second hand shops and altered for use in the show. And some are built (not made or sewn) in the costume shop.
Anna Hillbery is the costume designer for this production. She lives in Jupiter, Florida and is spending the summer in Connecticut. She has been the Costume Shop Supervisor for all three shows.
Once the costumes are built, rented or otherwise acquired, they are adjusted and altered to fit an actor during rehearsal time and tech week. Sometimes, if there is a fast costume change, buttons are replaced with Velcro to facilitate the change and other adjustments are made.
But the work doesn’t end on opening night. Repairs are made and anything washable is machine washed, dried, and pressed after each performance. Costumes that are not washable are treated with a spray bottle of vodka – yes vodka, which is used to destain, deodorize and otherwise freshen up costumes that have gotten a workout during the performance… who knew?