Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Funny Girl Costumes - Step One: Inspiration

The Cassidy Theatre in Parma Heights is putting on a production of Funny Girl and I have been retained to design and build the costumes. Now if you clicked on that link, you'll have noticed that the show opens February 8.  A February 8 opening means a dress rehearsal on February 3 which means I have approximately 3 weeks to costume this production.  Now if you are not familiar with Funny Girl (either the stage show or the movie starring Barbara Streisand) you may not know what a massive undertaking I have just... undertook.

This is not a small show.  There are 20 actors in the cast, most of whom play multiple roles.  The narrative spans nearly 20 years from Fanny Brice's humble beginnings in show business in 1908 to the collapse of her marriage to Nick Arnstein in 1927.  Finally, most of the show takes place in and around the Zeigfeld Follies so these are not just period costumes but period SHOWGIRL costumes.  I have a sneaky suspicion that my bedazzler is going to get quite a workout!

In any case, my first step in costuming a show is to conduct research.  I not only research the source material (in this case I read a good deal about the actual Fanny Brice as well as carefully reading and notating the script and re-watching the film) but gather visual research and inpirational images.  In the past I have created paper collages from images I sourced online.  This time however I am joining modern day and utilizing Pinterest.  I've created a Pinterest board where I've "pinned" a large number of pictures that I find relevent to this project.

In creating this board I've pulled a large number of images including photos of Fanny Brice,

photos of Barbara Streisand as Fanny Brice,

images of well dressed "gangster" types,

pictures of dresses from the 1910's,

and 1920's,

images showing the uniforms of WWI,

and (of course) photographs of those beautiful Zeigfeld girls!

Meanwhile I've also taken the measurements of most of my cast, started sketching design ideas, and begun pulling garments from the available stock so I can assess what I will need to build, borrow, or buy.

1 comment:

  1. Wow - I am flabbergasted. I read part three of this and then came back to part one and wow. Awesome pics - I love seeing how people dressed historically. I'm going to read part two and then three again.