Recreating the Past: Sewing Sousa

Recently, a commission request came through my inbox from a director I know from a prior theatre show.  The mission, should I choose to accept it? Recreate this jacket ensemble (or the spirit of this jacket ensemble) of Philip Sousa:

I love projects like this. It gives me a chance to stretch my pattern creation muscles and also really delve into the history of the piece to recreate it in a historically accurate fashion.

This isn’t the first time I’ve tackled a project like this.  This director is also the one I worked with to reproduce the costumes for the 1903 Operetta of The Wizard of Oz.  The blog article that covers this project can be found here.

So, needless to say, though puppet class has ended, I will still be sewing and busy! Here’s to historical creations: Huzzah!

I’m Off to See the Wizard

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.

This gem of early American musical theatre was nearly lost to us, but luckily, through the efforts of historians, enough details were kept that in the summer of 2010, the Canton Comic Opera Company produced the first performance of this wonderful musical in over 80 years. You can watch this great video montage of posters and advertisements of the original show.

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.