It’s been a while since I’ve had anything to report in the design and creation area lately. Let’s just say it’s been a busy couple of months, with kind of a lull in creativity. In any case, things are back in full swing now, as I prepare for my fourth costuming project. This year my school is doing West Side Story, which happens to be my favorite musical, and one that I realized I have been costuming in my head without even realizing it. I am happy to report that today we had our first rehearsal, and everything went exceptionally well as far as the costumes go. My assistants and I cut out three different dresses and have them ready to sew, and I finally figured out how I am going to create crinolines for 10 – that’s right, you read that correctly – girls.
Maria and Anita are my main focus right now. I feel that if I can get their costumes out of the way and ready, then I can begin to tackle the seemingly impossible job of getting the other girls in dresses. That would be eight more Shark girls, and I think an equal amount of Jet girls. The Jet girls, however, are not getting the crinolines. One of the ways I am distinguishing groups is by having the Sharks in full skirts and the Jets in either A-line or pencil skirts. The other distinguishing factor is, of course, color. I am playing with colors this year, and I think I have it all worked out. I’m excited to see where this all goes.
I have finished most of Maria’s dress for the dance at the gym scene. It’s white, of course, because that’s what she complains about to Anita when she first appears, but also features a red sash (much like the movie version, though the actual design of the dress is different) to tie her to the Sharks. After she meets Tony, her clothes are pink, to show the influence of the Sharks bleeding out of her (in turn, Tony will have on a lighter shade of blue, whereas most of the Jets will be in darker shades). By the time they gather in the dress shop for “One Hand, One Heart,” they are both wearing shades of purple, to show that their former associations have faded, combined and have created something new. I have no idea if an audience is going to get this, but I hope they at least feel it in some way.
Anita’s dress for the dance at the gym is likely to be my masterpiece for this show. I’m planning something with chiffon and feathers, and that’s all I’m going to say about that for now!
Thankfully, a lot of our boys have clothes that work already, and so I can save money by having them wear their own jeans and shirts. Converse sneakers will abound. I still need to figure out what the background girls will wear when they’re not at the dance. Probably “Bye Bye Birdie”-esque capris and shell tops. We shall see.