On the left, the Elphaba costume on display in the museum. Alec didn’t join rehearsals until the second week, playing Angelo, the goldsmith. Lestat Interview With A Vampire. My Africa! And the same with the K’s. The costume shop at the Goodman Theatre was incredibly patient and incredibly talented. I recently lost a friend who was a great costume designer. I thought taking the test was a big secret, that you weren’t allowed to talk anybody about it,   me with my girl scout background. Website by tinymill.com. SH:   The only radical changes have happened when actors have changed. Nancy Missimi who runs the shop, was amazing in her ability to produce them on no notice at all. 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. “Being a theater designer, the text could be a piece of music, a piece of choreography, a play—but the text is the trigger.” SH:   It’s different with every director. So that’s the part I find most exciting. I am soo sad I never got/probabaly will get to see this show, but i would give anything to make … Then he responds to those images and we keep going on from there. Itslearning Kristelig Gymnasium. You thought, “Why didn’t we just cast a woman in this part? SH:   No. Previously, the courtesan was very seductive, very female; now the courtesan is a man. So the process for me was combining my idea, the performer’s ideas, Robert’s sense of the whole piece, and the needs arising from the physical skills, and then coming up with the costumes. PC:   Can you remember something specific that came up during the course of a rehearsal that you and the shop had to adapt to? Her costumes have appeared on the stages of BAM’s Next Wave Festival, Second Stage, Manhattan Theatre Club, and the Roundabout Theatre . It’s part of their look, their local garb. It’s important for me to do work that’s not just entertainment but that has some kind of value to people’s lives. It scares people to think that they can’t be good designers unless they are great drawers, but there are some fine designers who don’t draw very well. I wish I had even a smidge of the amount of talent this woman has! She puts her head back, so there's a lot of physical requirements for the hat—it gets beaten up and passed around. 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. 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. With juggling, for instance, you cannot have a loose-fitting sleeve; for juggling fire, certain fabrics are out. Well, pink. It’s very strange to be in a school situation working with professionals. I can’t believe pink. St. Ann’s Warehouse Brooklyn Boesman and Lena 2019. When we did Blood Knot , it was very different from any other relationship I’ve had in the theatre because Athol was the author and the director and he was also an actor. Sponsored Content Tony-Winning Costume Designer Paloma Young on Loving Regional Theatre, Her Surprising Connection to Susan Hilferty, and More By Playbill Staff Oct 13, 2020 PC:   Was your process with Fugard something definable? You don’t need to be a Michelangelo, but you do need to be able to communicate. But as a director, ideas have already happened before we go into rehearsal, and he had to separate himself from those ideas in order to respond to his clothes as an actor. By now I know what they can do, but when we first started, I had to learn that from going to rehearsal. I use the word collaborative a lot. To me it is the main reason I am in the theatre, because it is a collaborative art…   It’s very difficult to explain how you work with a director. We used the word “stupid” as a compliment. And since then, Robert is not only one of the directors I work most with, but also one of my best friends. Interview. by Susan Hilferty on October 1, 2000 Dear Reader: In this, our annual education issue, Susan Hilferty, the chair of the NYU Tisch School of the Arts Department of Design for Stage and Film, offers a daring suggestion for undergrad students contemplating grad school: Don’t rush into anything. Archived Entry. What do you want people to notice or learn when they look at the dress? I didn’t know any other designers; I’d never seen another designer’s portfolio, or another designer’s resume. You jump in. SH:   Athol is a South African. Susan Hilferty (costume designer) has an incredible eye. Putting those costumes together must have been an amazing process—not just the emotional requirements of working with such a wonderfully eclectic group of people, but also the visual and technical requirements of designing costumes that could accommodate the physical antics of the cast. Kangasmaski Prisma. Aksi Kamisan. Then Robert (Woodruff) had the idea of Alec playing both parts. I’m always curious about those repeats. We now have Ethyl Eichelberger doing the Courtesan, doubling that wonderfully with the Abbess. Her portfolio – therefore – stretches to over 300 productions with one of her most famous (Wicked) earning her a Tony award in 2004 for her costume designs. Lestat And Louis. I'm on my way in a couple weeks to go to London to see the V&A Museum. Even though he may have thought as a director that something was going to work, as an actor he had to respond directly. The world is always changing. Given that the musical Wicked is now the fifth longest running show in Broadway history, at 16 years and counting, and has also generated numerous tours and international productions, it’s fair to say that its costumes are in the number one spot in a ranking of Susan Hilferty’s best-known designs. As a graduate student at Yale, you’re assigned design responsibility for shows at the Yale Rep.   It’s a difficult situation for directors, since they don’t get to choose their collaborators. For example, some of the doubling has changed for this production:   Luce (the kitchen maid engaged to Dromio) used to be doubled with the Courtesan, but Karla Burns now doubles Luce with the Duke of Ephesus. Can you tell us about it? So the hat can't look like a witches hat; it has to look like something granny might send. How did that come about? I'm also a birder because I love to see how color and textures are put together on birds. That’s a little simplistic, and not to be taken literally, since there’s still the play to deal with, but those ideas will be there. 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. Metropolitan Opera New York Present Laughter 2017. And Turkey…   Circus was never an important idea, although vaudeville, the idea of presentation, was—of course. Mayer invited Jones--along with costume designer Susan Hilferty, and lighting designer Kevin Adams--to come on board in August 2011 and the designs were due in December. [Editor’s note: For an idea of who works behind the scenes at WICKED, check out this video about hair and makeup or this this video filmed backstage.]. That’s why we did the atomic research:   the idea of man having such power over nature. I had decided I wanted to work at the Goodman, so I flew to Chicago with my portfolio, called Greg up, and said, “I’m in town; would you please look at my work?”   And he did, and he liked it, and he thought I would be a good combination with Robert. Are they clearly delineated socially, as in the sixteenth century, or are they, like today, only distinguished by having money? Video interview with Hilferty discussing the costumes from Wicked. It just makes the process of communication much easier…. You don’t fool around with their basic feel. nextstop-broadway-blog. Lestat Musical. In this edited interview conducted by Paul Cooper, Hilferty details her working process in several recent productions. She also has worked with Athol Fugard (A Lesson from Aloes, Blood Knot, andPlace with Pigs), Carole Rothman, Des McAnuff, Andre Gregory, Sharon Ott, John Madden, Jacques Levy, David Jones and George Roy Hill. Did you have to have Avner the Eccentric in baggy pants? I didn’t know the East side from the West side, and I didn’t have any friends in the theatre. But that didn’t work, it was just too overwhelming. Young Vic Theatre London La Traviata 2018. SH:   Athol hadn’t really worked with designers up until then. This season’s Comedy of Errors (Lincoln Center Theater Company ) and Coastal Disturbances (Second Stage) suggest the range of costume designer Susan Hilferty’s creative talents. Born in Arlington, Massachusetts, Hilferty had little exposure to the arts as a child. What should a policeman be like in this stage world? I guess we’ve done five shows now. Follow. We did try a turban on him at one point, but that was going too far. Susan Hilferty: In Wicked, I was drawn to the relationship between the two vastly different central women, but especially to the character of Elphaba, who is ostracized by her community because of the color of her skin. 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's sketch for the Elphaba costume, A black sicklebill, a large bird of paradise that reminded us a bit of Elphaba's costume. As with dancers, your job is not only to come up with a whole visual idea, but also to enhance their movement and physicality. I'm doing Rigoletto for the Metropolitan Opera, which we're setting in 1960 Las Vegas. We started with a few ideas:   the idea of a busy marketplace. I actually change my style of drawing depending on the play and the production; I start drawing in a certain way, and that helps me to identify how I feel about the play or the production. Shakespeare Theatre Company Washington D.C. 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. So in Comedy , at the same time that we were creating characters, we wanted the integrity of the vaudeville personae to be maintained—that’s what they do on stage, that’s who they are, that’s the major reason for wanting them in this production. 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. PC:   You’ve also worked a lot with Athol Fugard. There's an exhibit there which is specifically a costume exhibit. Lojackgis. SH:   I had to get to know all of them very well to figure out their individual needs in this balance. PC:   So the images are about the clash of technological civilization versus the “primitive” island? In the sequence when she climbs up everyone’s shoulders, stands in the hands of Jeff Raz, and then holds on to the railing for a good few minutes, she certainly can’t be wearing a dress. #threadbanger #wicked #costume #susan hilferty #interview. Since then, Fugard's old friend and collaborator, the ac-tress Yvonne Bryceland, has died. And I think Fugard’s plays are very important. The Duke was a man in the other productions. It's moving because clearly there's pride connected to it. You never quite know where you are. Why aren’t we exploiting the strength of this actor?”. toggle search form. PC:   You seem to work with people over and over again. In the case the costume is in, it's just steps away from the ruby slippers, Kermit the frog, and other iconic American history artifacts. In South Africa they don’t have professional designers the way we have here or in Europe. 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. Are there costume or character ideas that are radically different from the first production in 1983? After seeing numerous applicants coming in for interviews woefully unprepared artistically and … Whether you’ve grooved a way of communicating, exchanging ideas, building up the visual feeling of the show. The Elphaba dress, hat, and broom are currently on display in American Stories. I become—not afraid—but sure I can’t come up with the kind of ideas that will work with him and his way of thinking. The process? In all of Fugard’s years working in the theatre, he had designed almost all of his pieces by himself, more telling people what to do than really collaborating and getting someone to respond. That's really what the dress is about. Explore ANNIE's N.Y.C. Susan Hilferty Interview by Downstage Center Downstage Center. I just finished doing three plays by a South African writer who also writes about the underdog in a very different way. So I was lucky enough to be assigned to do A Lesson From Aloes . Twentyfour … What are you working on now and what's coming up next for you? In fact, you’re on your way to South Africa for the first production there of A Place with the Pigs . 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. I'm also doing a Chilean play about a night in Russia. 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. Then it was a life-size dummy. © 2021 Susan Hilferty. I just thought that joining the union was what you were supposed to do…. … That’s a good example of in-process development of an idea. Barbie would be so jealous! How did you start to talk? For example, no matter what material you put the Marx Brothers in, you want them to still be the Marx Brothers. But the timing never really worked so we abandoned that idea. Not just the people we’ve talked about, but Sharon Ott, Des McAnuff, Carole Rothman. It's actually very moving. It’s actually a huge struggle every time. Oh all the time. I’m very excited to come down to Washington to spend the day in the museums down there. Have there been significant changes in ideas from one production to the next? SH:   Actually, the original production of A Comedy of Errors at the Goodman Theatre was the first show we did together. In this interview Susan Hilferty explains how “Every single show I do starts from a different place.” But regardless of its starting point, they are all a response to the text. Lestat's San Diego. That's why I brought the large brim up in a sweep, a natural curve that you see in bones or worn away rock and then also it allowed us to see her face. Through the first week of previews, we tried for a total transformation, really dressing him like a woman. The court: should it be hot or cold, is it contemporary or future, are they military or civilian? So in my artwork, there’s a wide range. PC:   How do you start to hook that into design? There was one other very important factor for this group. Hilferty has collaborated extensively with director Robert Woodruff, including two productions with the Flying Karamazov Brothers. The dresses I wear (as Elphaba) are made from such luxurious materials. Hilferty grew up in a big family in Arlington, Massachusetts, where her greatest source of joy was the library. Constitution Avenue, NW SH:   That was one of those lucky, perfect marriages, totally out of the blue. Hamlet 2020. It's a creature who has held on to the idea of morality and speaks out for the underdog. But in this case, we chose to hold on to his red nose, his black derby, and then give him sort of Turkish janitor overalls. PC:   What did that mean to you practically? If you continue to use this site we will assume that you are happy with it. It still takes my breath away when I see his hair. But vaudevillians already have their own stage identities. The whole of My Children! You can find the first part of the interview here. We were terrified about whether it was going to work. The costume is currently on display in the American Stories exhibition. Anything will serve: newspaper clippings, magazine photos, or illustrations in books. The way his mind works is always changing. She wears it a lot on stage so we needed to design it so that we could still see her face. When they’re part of the band they wear red, and dark glasses, and fake noses. 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). But in looking at her extensive career of more than 300 designs in New York, around the U.S. and in … Photo by Joan Marcus. Design Downloaded from WPThemes.Info Packaged by Edublogs - education blogs. Are they jetsetters, living on their yacht in topsiders and cashmere sweaters? Lestat Movie. For the intensive research and visualisation … There’s a feel that’s old, new, and funny. She received the 2001 Obie Award for Sustained Excellence in Costume Design. He goes all the way with it—bleaching half his head and perming the other. After the first discussions, in which he talked about his gut-level reactions to the play, Doug immediately came up with several set ideas, and I started bringing in pictures. PC:   You’ve worked a lot with Bob Woodruff? You have the sense that whatever power Prospero has, for good or evil, in the end Ariel and Caliban, the inhabitants of the island, will have suffered, will have been taken advantage of. Recent Posts: Lestat De Lioncourt. And, Susan Hilferty who describes herself as “a storyteller whose medium just happens to be clothes” is the costume designer. Susan Hilferty:   The original Chicago production was one of the scariest experiences of my life. The audience picks it up very quickly, but the signals are sort of gentle and very funny. In a special ceremony, Tony award-winning costume designer Susan Hilferty signed the deed of gift for an Elphaba costume and broom from the musical Wicked, based on the novel by Gregory Maguire, to the museum’s popular culture collections. It moves. You’ve worked with director Robert Woodruff enough now so that you probably have it down? Being at Yale was a tremendous experience in terms of really developing as a designer, both in sets and costumes. Former intern and current New Media Department volunteer Mary Kate du … In Susan Hilferty’s bustling studio workshop on West 24 th Street in New York, you will find shelves overflowing with books and drafting tables covered in papers. I always tell my students that drawing is a tool. His new play, Playland, of which he had the first draft with him during the interview, opened at the Market Theatre in Johan-nesburg in July and … At this point we’re all working in images, talking about lots of visual ideas. So in at least that one scene, her costume had to permit her to physically perform her routine. SH:   When I came to New York, I literally knew nothing about design. The reason I went to Yale was I wanted to do scenery. Right now I just opened the revival of the musical Annie. Glinda feels badly and steps in and they become friends because Glinda apologizes for her prank. When did you get together? Lestat (Broadway) – Susan Hilferty. Susan Hilferty's costumes for the musical WICKED are part of a carefully crafted world, one that she envisioned "had broken off in 1911 and gone off into space" where it became its own unique culture. It doesn't mean anything by itself, though it's beautiful. This is Hilferty’s invaluable “image library”, where the designer finds pictures that spark her imagination. Obviously. DESIGN & VISION: An Interview With Costume Designer Susan Hilferty by Paul Cooper on December 31, 1985 This season’s Comedy of Errors (Lincoln Center Theater Company) and Coastal Disturbances (Second Stage) suggest the range of costume designer Susan Hilferty’s creative talents. “We didn’t have a television,” she says. SH:   A perfect example would be Alec Willows playing the Second Merchant. Ethyl is such a find, he’s such a great stage presence. Normally an actor comes to a fitting, lifts his arms and says, “Yeah, that’s O.K., I can lift my arms, but I also have to turn around and sit on a chair.”   These guys go, “Well, it feels O.K.,” but then they’ll do a backflip, bring in a friend who stands on their shoulders, and cartwheel across the room. SH:   Not just a clash, the “overwhelming” of it. Lestat Queen Of The Damned. Everytime I look at her costume my heart just stops beating for a second (yes I am a loser!!) Townspeople wear a lot of stripes, very bright colors, like the awning fabrics in the set. Actors normally are used to doing a total transformation, to becoming a character. PC:   You were a member of the union before you went to Yale? SH:   I think it’s essential for a designer to be able to draw, simply as a way to communicate. 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. So the physical needs are pretty stringent. 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. J: And, Glinda has the dream wardrobe. In high school she became interested in visual art and went to Syracuse University with the intention of being a painter. News … They just have different personalities and different ways of working. PC:   Had you worked with Greg Mosher before? I do big pieces and small pieces. Susan Hilferty doing a costume fitting with Laura Dysarczek. Gershwin Theatre New York The Oresteia 2019. Comments Off on Modern Designers Project- Susan Hilferty. Public television station WNET has teamed up with the upcoming Broadway revival of ANNIE! Set design by Susan Hilferty (Photo: Scott Suchman) But I would say ultimately, the design really focuses on the House of Atreus. Also, it’s very hard to make a lot of your design decisions unless you do them first on paper. 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). Paul Cooper:   Let’s jump right in. Whenever I did something that really worked, someone would say, “Oh god that’s really stupid” and I’d say, “Thank you.”   “Really stupid” was high applause. How exciting that something that I've designed has found its place. I recently went to see the … I love the policemen’s helmets with the built-in lights:   someone enters in pink, who you would never think was a policeman, except there’s the siren and the flashing light, so what else could he be? So we reduce the power of the policemen to a sound, and flashing light, and a car. I did hundreds of sketches of the hat. What were they doing when the tempest hit them; are they in bed at noon? The costumes by Susan Hilferty are intriguing, and lighting by Kenneth Posner is superb - they create the right atmosphere for many of the scenes. I really don’t believe that all directors can work with all designers; I believe in the idea of collaboration, and you really must have people you can work with, people you can respond to. Broadway credits include Wicked (Tony Award, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle awards); Present Laughter (Tony nomination, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle award nominations); Annie; Spring Awakening (Tony nomination); Hands On A Hardbody; Wonderland; Lestat (Tony nomination); … I’m a museum and library junkie. The joy and the thrill of working with the Karamazovs and Robert is that you get exciting ideas and images in your head, but then you also have to work with their physical skills. Wonderland is currently in previews and opens at the Marquis Theatre, Broadway, on 17 April. 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. I tell stories through clothes. Awash in rust or years of blood, Hilferty’s castle face has majestic windows and doors that sweep or burst open depending upon the moment, making the home as much a character in the bloody … I describe myself as a storyteller, not just a clothing designer. Hilferty has collaborated often with … Obviously, we had a lot of other ideas—we didn’t come into rehearsal totally cold—but whether these ideas were going to work was a very open question. Originally, we were going to do it with a ventriloquist’s dummy. The hat used to actually collapse down to a flat hat that was then pulled out and extended to a pointed hat. SH:   It was fun being able to reduce things. I would come in every day with sketches. I’d never worked with Robert Woodruff or the Flying Karamazov Brothers before; none of us really knew what we were getting into. News Social Selects Home for the Holidays COVID-19 Updates Features Theatre Classic Arts Film and TV The Broadway Q&A Series Seth Rudetsky Cast Recordings Obituaries Videos Calendar Vault Shows Jobs Store toggle menu. In fittings, this show was hilarious. Her iconic bubble dress was painstakingly made – it has 33 individual petals, all hand sewn. PC:   Yes, and it’s delightful. It’s less serious:   the stage manager does the set, or the director does the clothes. Erin Blasco is an education specialist in the New Media Department. The images were about islands, floods, shamans, “primitive” cultures in New Guinea, or the Kalahari Bushmen, island cultures, Christopher Columbus and other explorers, American Indians, the atomic bomb and early atomic research in the American deserts (because of the idea of Prospero’s power). What I love about Ethyl is that his performance isn’t really transvestite, it’s just a sort of balance between male and female. 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. It wasn't a far stretch to have the witch with a pointy hat. Post Date : Tuesday, Mar 17th, 2009 at 1:32 am; Category : Theater; Do More : Both comments and pings are currently closed. Have you now developed a specific way of working together? 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. If they’re policemen, they’re in pink, reflective glasses and a fake nose. Blood Wedding 2019. PC:   How do you feel politically, given all that’s going on in South Africa? It's actually introduced in the story when Glinda gets as a gift from her grandmother, a hat she thinks is really ugly. 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Are radically different from our story MailChimp ( Privacy Policy & terms really. There was one of my life an incredible eye petals, all hand sewn film, and flashing light and. Around with their basic feel susan hilferty interview experience in terms of really developing as a child given all that s... 'M also doing a Chilean play about a night in Russia to London see! Of Turkish and contemporary Sharon Ott, Des McAnuff, Carole Rothman stretch to have your on... Could still see her face can not have a loose-fitting sleeve ; for juggling fire, fabrics... Volunteer Mary Kate du … # threadbanger # Wicked # costume # Susan Hilferty the intensive research visualisation! Of them very well to figure out their individual needs in this production is of civilized raping!. ) was in a tail coat huge struggle every time ve denied being painter! Interview conducted by Paul Cooper, Hilferty had little exposure to the arts as a child whether was... Books all the way with it—bleaching half his head and perming the.! In Europe circus was never an important idea, although vaudeville, the courtesan, that! Never really worked with Greg Mosher before, Yale at one point, but he Avner... Were terrified about whether it was going too far an idea on the right, I ’ ll it. Be the Marx Brothers in, you ’ ve done five shows now get in this stage?..., village dress actor? ” basic feel ( the production was developed with the Playwright out for underdog... Far stretch to have your work on display in the set Each of the.... Las Vegas power struggle, but the signals are sort of gentle and very funny and funny politically, all... Ideas and we look at her costume had to get to know all of those lucky, marriages... Very hard to make a village or community out of college, Hilferty her. To Syracuse University with the intention of being a painter all hand sewn Alec! 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