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Julian Wiles, Founder and Producing Artistic Director
Marybeth Clark, Associate Artistic Director

April 17, 2009

The 400 Costumes for The Producers!

Filed under: Back Stage Blog — julianw @ 4:06 pm

by Barbara Young, Charleston Stage Costumer

When we decided on The Producers, I researched the original show costumes and was astounded to learn  they had more than a half million dollar budget and 6 months, as well as a huge staff to put together this mega show.  I wondered how on earth we could make this happen? In the original production, Roger Debris’s “ Chrysler building” dress alone cost 20,000 dollars!  That’s more than our entire yearly costume budget! 

And we only had about a month to build the costumes for the show with only a staff of TheatreWings High School Apprentices and our costume shop assistant, Barbara McGrath.

Of course I’ve never had a show go to stage without being fully dressed, so I put out the call for volunteers.  Many of the Resident Actors volunteered, as did others, including many family members!  So we began painting stripes on prison uniforms,  making a dozen identical Little Ol’ Lady costumes (complete with bloomers, pearls and hats ), not to mention, a brigade of storm troupers, hordes of Bavarian peasants and more! Altogether, there are over 400 costume pieces in this show!

I think my favorite, has to be Michael Lasris’s “Chrysler dress”.  Though we didn’t have $20,000, we found vintage trim for this spectacular costume piece, including a trim from a costume once worn by an early Miss America contestant! How fitting that it should grace the stage once more!




(Far Left:  Charleston Stage Resident Actor Michael Lasris as Roger Debris wearing the “Chrysler dress”)


(The Producers cast members wearing the Little Ol’ Lady costumes) 


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