I’m sure many of you are familiar with The Wizard of Oz. But did you know that in addition to the wonderful book series, there was a musical that predated the famous movie where Judy Garland sang us “Over the Rainbow?” Indeed there was! The 1902-1903 Operetta of Wizard of Oz was hugely popular in its day, and performances of it sold out across the country for multiple years.
Now, why am I waxing poetic about this rare musical? Well, I had the great opportunity of not only being cast in the production, but I also was commissioned to recreate the costumes for the Tin Man, the Scarecrow, and the Poppies for the show. Talk about a wonderful creative challenge that was exciting and intimidating!
Here is photo gallery that shows my process of creating these wonderful costumes. Also, you can go to the online gallery of the photos from the show to see the other costumes that were built or rented by others to create our 1903 version of The Wizard of Oz.
Creating the poppies was a different challenge. First I needed to design a hat that would look like a poppy from the top but still allow the actresses to hear and see.
Then I needed to figure out how to create it in fabric.
I know: You’re thinking “Poppy centers aren’t yellow! They’re black!” I agree. However, the reference photos from the original show depicted yellow centers, so that’s what we went with. We are all about preserving historical accuracy!
And then once I had the pattern figured out… I had to make 20 of them. So… 6 petals, times 20 poppies… Let’s just say there were a LOT of petals.
The final poppy field of hats.
Once the hats were done, I needed to make 20 capes with leafy vines attached. Again, this project got overwhelming so I was more focused on creation that capturing the process.
One of the final costumes.
The only record I had to go on was a poster from the original show that showed the Tin Man. I got to work sketching the components of the costume.
Here are my costume sketches for the Tin Man. Each piece had to be sketched, designed, pattern created, and custom measured to fit the actor portraying the Tin Man.
Me, trying on the costume just for fun.
Here it is! Although he looks like a steamroller got him, the costume actually turned out really well.
Our wonderful actors for the Scarecrow and the Tin Man, modelling their costumes that I created.
The Scarecrow was created so quickly I didn’t have time to take photos of it.