SH:   That was one of those lucky, perfect marriages, totally out of the blue. Interview. What I hope is that they see beyond this—not just a beautiful dress that's created by really accomplished artisans, but that they also get into the story of a young woman who rose above her troubles and becomes a powerful voice for the underdogs of the world. It’s hard; it’s a struggle because it’s always totally different. nextstop-broadway-blog. Paul Cooper:   Let’s jump right in. SH:   I had to get to know all of them very well to figure out their individual needs in this balance. Then Alec saw a film about a schizophrenic with seven personalities, and he came in saying, “If he can do seven, I can do two.”   Then I had the idea of literally dividing him in half, so it would be two totally separate characters built into one, two completely separate costumes that were cut in half and sewn together, half gold lame for the goldsmith and half black leather for the merchant. Set design by Susan Hilferty (Photo: Scott Suchman) But I would say ultimately, the design really focuses on the House of Atreus. My mother called while I was doing the test and asked, “What are you doing?” and I said, “Oh, nothing, ma,” because I really thought you were not supposed to talk about it. It's actually introduced in the story when Glinda gets as a gift from her grandmother, a hat she thinks is really ugly. The whole of My Children! I would come in every day with sketches. It’s less serious:   the stage manager does the set, or the director does the clothes. To see this dress and knowing all of the people who have worked on it—all the drapers, stitchers, dyers, milliners, cobblers, and wig makers, etc, the list is really long—to see that all of their work represented—and all the actors who performed in the roles, the musicians in the pit, in many ways this represents all of us. They just have different personalities and different ways of working. It's actually very moving. PC:   Let’s talk a little bit about process. So we reduce the power of the policemen to a sound, and flashing light, and a car. SH:   It was fun being able to reduce things. So in the Elphaba dress, I looked at rocks and oil spills. Right now I just opened the revival of the musical Annie. Hilferty has collaborated often with … There’s a feel that’s old, new, and funny. You’re all sitting around looking at pictures, discussing them, getting some of these feelings and ideas you’ll want to explore. The Elphaba dress, hat, and broom are currently on display in American Stories. Can you imagine him running around the streets of Chicago like that for six weeks? Anything will serve: newspaper clippings, magazine photos, or illustrations in books. He looks at each play the way he’s looking at the world at that moment, so it’s something that’s constantly changing. So, the House of Atreus is in the center of the stage. PC:   You’ve done the show three times now:   in Chicago, in Los Angeles at the Olympic Arts Festival, and now in New York. Originally, we were going to do it with a ventriloquist’s dummy. In fact, you’re on your way to South Africa for the first production there of A Place with the Pigs . Witness a day in the life of the WICKED wardrobe department! As with dancers, your job is not only to come up with a whole visual idea, but also to enhance their movement and physicality. SH:   Oh no no no. The audience picks it up very quickly, but the signals are sort of gentle and very funny. Through the first week of previews, we tried for a total transformation, really dressing him like a woman. After seeing numerous applicants coming in for interviews woefully unprepared artistically and … toggle search form. It’s very important to him that his plays be done there; that is his audience, the people he’s really writing for…   I have strong emotional and political reasons for being in theatre. Follow. You jump in. PC:   How do you start to hook that into design? Susan Hilferty. And since then, Robert is not only one of the directors I work most with, but also one of my best friends. When did you get together? If they’re policemen, they’re in pink, reflective glasses and a fake nose. An interesting fact; if you look at the [William Wallace] Denslow illustrations of the [Wonderful] Wizard of Oz, everybody in Oz wears pointed hats. Lestat Movie. So the physical needs are pretty stringent. No one is totally in a period, there’s always a bizarre combination—hopefully never overwhelming—of contemporary images, like Avner’s derby, or a turban with baggy shorts, or a paisley rayon shirt and leopardskin shoes. Susan Hilferty's sketch for the Elphaba costume, A black sicklebill, a large bird of paradise that reminded us a bit of Elphaba's costume. That’s the great part about working with people who are physical performers:   they can become the car, they can become a puppet, they can create a dwarf or the BIG policeman on stilts. Designs sets and costumes for theatre; costumes for opera, dance, film, and circus. PC:   What basic skills are important for a designer? I put together his memorial service, and what was the most moving was that the size of our community of people who work at putting something on the stage—it’s a very small community, but one that’s impassioned. You can find the first part of the interview here. Actors normally are used to doing a total transformation, to becoming a character. Image via the. I wish I had even a smidge of the amount of talent this woman has! Lestat Interview With A Vampire. My relationship with him has developed over the years; I’ve become his “eyes” in the theatre when he’s performing as well as directing. It cries. Lestat Queen Of The Damned. The idea that her interest in theatre and visual art might be combined through costume design (Hilferty minored in fashion design) began to take root. I think I managed to get quite a bit of stupid into the production, with, of course, a great deal of help from the company. We had so many different ideas for the final scene, but I think we found the right combination:   sort of Turkish, sort of Little Richard, sort of a champion wrestler, sort of gospel singer. Where did he start from? It moves. We were terrified about whether it was going to work. I'm on my way in a couple weeks to go to London to see the V&A Museum. So the hat can't look like a witches hat; it has to look like something granny might send. Obviously. You don’t need to be a Michelangelo, but you do need to be able to communicate. Shakespeare Theatre Company Washington D.C. Are they jetsetters, living on their yacht in topsiders and cashmere sweaters? #threadbanger #wicked #costume #susan hilferty #interview. The whole dress weights about 10 Kg. Design isn’t really a considered idea in the production. Lestat Musical. Ethyl is such a find, he’s such a great stage presence. 7 notes. The hat used to actually collapse down to a flat hat that was then pulled out and extended to a pointed hat. But that didn’t work, it was just too overwhelming. “Reading was my entertainment.” says Hilferty, whose interest in art and designing clothing led to her making all of her own clothes by the age of 12. Everytime I look at her costume my heart just stops beating for a second (yes I am a loser!!) For example, Avner didn’t want to be Avner on stage, but he is Avner on stage. In South Africa they don’t have professional designers the way we have here or in Europe. Interview Inside Brittney Johnson’s Whirlwind Experience Going On as Wicked’s First ... Susan Hilferty's Costume Designs for Wicked. I guess we’ve done five shows now. Her iconic bubble dress was painstakingly made – it has 33 individual petals, all hand sewn. Recent Posts: Lestat De Lioncourt. So I was lucky enough to be assigned to do A Lesson From Aloes . What were they doing when the tempest hit them; are they in bed at noon? Young Vic Theatre London La Traviata 2018. He used expressions like, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.”   It was hard for him to learn that he has a very strong design sense, and he could get even more from a designer. In Sylvanie Gold’s interview for the New York Times, Hilferty provides sketches and the thought-process behind her imagination for the costume designs in the article What Befits a Legendary Queen. Susan Hilferty is an American costume designer for theatre, opera, and film. What are you working on now and what's coming up next for you? At the time, she thought “a set designer was somebody who did big paintings, someone who illustrated the play.”   A latent interest in theatre was ignited during a year abroad in London where she saw such productions as The Tempest at the National, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern at the Young Vic, The Rocky Horror Show, Sizwe Bansi, and Equus. I use the word collaborative a lot. So in my artwork, there’s a wide range. Then it was a life-size dummy. It still takes my breath away when I see his hair. St. Ann’s Warehouse Brooklyn Boesman and Lena 2019. Explore ANNIE's N.Y.C. St. James Theatre New York City Buried Child … I don’t know if I would go over to South Africa to originate a play, even one of his, I’m not sure about that, but in this situation, where the play has originated outside South Africa, I feel no hesitation about it. Hilferty will sign the deed of gift for an Elphaba costume and broom from the musical on December 17 in a special ceremony that also includes a performance by WICKED actresses Donna Vivino (Elphaba) and Tiffany Haas (Glinda). J: And, Glinda has the dream wardrobe. I only write from a very personal response to a face, to a story, to an incident that I’ve witnessed or been told about, or even a little newspaper cutting. I had to be able to work with him as an actor during rehearsals, exploring how the clothes felt physically, and where he was going as an actor. Susan Hilferty Interview by Downstage Center Downstage Center. I can’t believe pink. Signature Theatre (New York City) New York Wicked 2003. Then he responds to those images and we keep going on from there. Townspeople wear a lot of stripes, very bright colors, like the awning fabrics in the set. With juggling, for instance, you cannot have a loose-fitting sleeve; for juggling fire, certain fabrics are out. Robert Jess Roth's direction is in the first act is too jarring and confusing to make sense to those new to the story, while he gets things together to run a rather smooth second act. Most of the performers, especially in the original company, were “new vaudevillians”; their work is very presentational, with performers always breaking the fourth wall, always addressing the audience as well as the other performers. SH:   Working on Tempest began with Doug (Stein) and Robert and myself getting together and talking:   nothing specific, no specific visual ideas, just talking about the play. Regional credits include the Goodman Theatre, La Jolla Playhouse, Yale Repertory Theatre, Center Stage and Berkley Rep.   Film and TV credits include Laurie Anderson’s “Home of the Brave,” “A Different Twist,” and “The Resurrection of Lady Lester.”   In the field of dance she has designed costumes for Alvin Ailey and Jennifer Muller. 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