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The Liar: Featuring Sara Richardson

Sara RichardsonAs part of our Meet the Cast of The Liar Blog Series, let us introduce you to Sara Richardson:

ROLE: Lucrece, Clarice’s best friend

DESCRIPTION LINES OF LUCRECE IN THE PLAY:

I’m deserving of a first-class mate
As other women. Yet I stand and wait.
Because I’m silent–all right, call it nervous–
Most men just never see beneath my surface.

CAST QUESTION:

What aspect of playing Lucrece will most challenge you?

Lucrece is quiet at first, which can be challenging; but David Ives gives us a lot of fun clues about her later in the script to build upon. Fun friendship rivalries, colorful descriptions comparing her unflatteringly to sea creatures, a clear bookish bent and self-professed as ‘nervous,’ we are given a lot to play with in terms of character. These hints allowed us to find ways of showing her more ill at ease qualities in action–always fun in a farce, especially one with such playfully designed elements (thanks designers Eli, Abbee, Rebecca and director Doug!)! A challenge in a farce is also always to find the honesty in the midst of the absurd so finding Lucrece’s real sense of longing and unrequited love deep down, before making it laughable, is important.

It is a gift to get to play someone who experiences such terribly awkward moments and has to live through them in front of everyone–painfully, earnestly and repeatedly. I love it!

CAST BACKGROUND:

Park Square Debut Representative Theatre Jungle Theater: The Night Alive; Mu Performing Arts: You for Me for You; Pillsbury House Theatre: Buzzer; Torch Theater: Boeing Boeing; Theatre Novi Most: Rehearsing Failure; Gremlin Theatre/Provincetown Tennessee Williams Theater Festival: A Lovely Sunday for Creve Coeur Film Rough Tender; Per Bianca (Cannes shorts 2011) Training Ècole Jacques Lecoq Other Sara-Richardson.com

Shanan Custer, Sara Richardson, India Gurley and Sha' Cage in a rehearsal. (Photograph by Connie Shaver)

Shanan Custer, Sara Richardson, India Gurley and Sha’ Cage in a rehearsal.
(Photograph by Connie Shaver)

Area Premiere of The Liar - Park Square Theatre’s Proscenium Stage – September 9 to October 2

 

The Liar: Featuring JuCoby Johnson

As part of our Meet the Cast of The Liar Blog Series, let us introduce you to JuCoby Johnson:

johnson-jucoby-color

ROLES: Alcippe, Clarice’s secret fiancé

DESCRIPTIVE LINES ABOUT ALCIPPE IN THE PLAY:

(Said by Clarice about Alcippe)

So let him spew. My lover’s lava’s nothing new.
Two years now we’ve been secretly engaged–
And he’s the one who’s chronically enraged?
Oh, very well.

CAST QUESTION:

You have done a lot of Shakespeare.  How difficult is the wordplay in The Liar in comparison?  (For example, you have one line that starts with:  “O faithless, fickle, fraudulent play.”)

The wordplay in The Liar is very similar to that used in Shakespeare. I would say that the biggest similarity is the speed in which the language has to go in order for the jokes to land. If you can get the language to be fast and light while still holding onto the clarity, you’ve won half the battle. Within that lies the biggest difficulty. If it’s all fast and light, but lacking in clarity, the audience gets sick of it very quickly. You have to find a way to tell the story clearly and crisply at a faster pace than may seem comfortable. It takes a lot of trust in your fellow actors and a strong familiarity with the text.

CAST BACKGROUND:

Park Square Debut Representative Theatre Ten Thousand Things: Dear World; Mu Performing Arts: You for Me for You; New Epic Theater: The Normal Heart; Great River Shakespeare Festival: As You Like It Training B.F.A., Acting, University of Minnesota/Guthrie Theater Actor Training Program Upcoming Projects Ten Thousand Things: Pericles; Theater Latté Da: Six Degrees of Separation

JuCoby Johnson with Sha' Cage in a rehearsal. (Photograph by Connie Shaver)

JuCoby Johnson with Sha’ Cage in a rehearsal.
(Photograph by Connie Shaver)

Area Premiere of The Liar – Park Square Theatre’s Proscenium Stage – September 9 to October 2

The Liar: Featuring India Gurley

As part of the Meet the Cast of The Liar Blog Series, let us introduce you to India Gurley:

India Gurley

ROLE: Clarice, a young lady of Paris

DESCRIPTIVE LINE ABOUT CLARICE IN THE PLAY:

But this Clarice of yours.  Obese, obscene?
Some find her quite the glamorous gamine.

CAST QUESTION:

Clarice’s repartee with Dorante and Alcippe is very funny throughout the play.  As an actor, how do you keep your composure and not laugh out loud in such scenes?

Not laughing at the outrageously funny scenes between Clarice, Dorante and Alcippe is going to be a huge challenge! Especially because I am the type of person to break very easily.

One of the things that is helpful for me is to remember that, when you’re in a comedy, what makes it funny is that these situations are very real for the characters. Their reactions and truthful need to get what they want are what make it so funny and engaging for the audience. It also helps that we rehearse the show for three weeks, so I can prepare myself for something especially funny coming up in the show.

What’s great about doing comedies is that it is always a blast to go to rehearsal everyday and laugh and create hilarious characterizations. Hopefully, I can keep it together on stage!

CAST BACKGROUND:

Park Square Debut Representative Theatre Hudson Valley Shakespeare: A Midsummer Night’s Dream; Victory Gardens Theater: The House That Will Not Stand; Milwaukee Repertory Theater: The Color Purple; Guthrie Theater: Abe Lincoln and Uncle Tom in the White House; Ten Thousand Things: Measure for Measure Training B.F.A., Acting, University of Minnesota/Guthrie Theater Actor Training Program Upcoming Projects The Hypocrites (Chicago): Wit

India Gurley with JuCoby Johnson in a rehearsal. (Photograph by Connie Shaver)

India Gurley with JuCoby Johnson in a rehearsal.
(Photograph by Connie Shaver)

Area Premiere of The Liar – Park Square Theatre’s Proscenium Stage – September 9 to October 2

Park Square’s 2016-2017 Casting Announcement

Season Features Area Premieres, New Commissions, and Old Favorites

Saint Paul, Minn., August 10, 2016 — Park Square Theatre is ramping up for its 2016-2017 theatre season, which features two world premiere adaptations, the regional premieres of critically acclaimed comedies and dramas, and the return of audience and family favorites. The season is a showcase of the Twin Cities diversity and talent.

 

The season begins on the Proscenium Stage on September 9 with David Ives’s smash hit comedy The Liar. Cliton (Zach Curtis) can’t tell a lie, but his master Dorante (Sha’ Cage) can’t tell the truth. Dorante is in hot pursuit of one woman, but thinks she is another, which leads to amazing mix-ups and breathtakingly intricate lies. Sharp and saucy modern language adds zest to this sparkling urbane romance. Doug Scholz-Carlson will direct the uproarious comedy, which will also feature India Gurley, Rex Isom Jr., JuCoby Johnson, Michael Ooms, and Sara Richardson, with music performed by Don Livingston. The production team includes Rebecca Bernstein (Costume Designer), Mike P. Kittel (Lighting Designer), Eli Schlatter (Scenic Designer), and Abbee Warmboe (Properties Designer). (Sept 9 – Oct 2, 2016)

 

The opening show on the Andy Boss Thrust Stage, scheduled to start on September 23, 2016, will be the area premiere of Will Eno’s The Realistic Joneses. Meet Bob (JC Cutler) and Jennifer (Angela Timberman) and their new neighbors, John (Eric “Pogi” Sumangil) and Pony (Jane Froiland), two suburban couples who have even more in common than their identical homes and their shared last names. As their relationships begin to irrevocably intertwine, the Joneses must decide between their idyllic fantasies and their imperfect realities. Joel Sass will direct and design the set. The production team includes Cole Bylander (Costume Designer), Mike P. Kittel (Lighting Designer), C Andrew Mayer (Sound Designer), and Abbee Warmboe (Properties Designer). (Sept 23 – 0ct 16, 2016)

 

The season continues on the Boss Stage October 28 – November 20, 2016 with Lorraine Hansberry’s groundbreaking and inspirational A Raisin in the Sun, directed by Warren C. Bowles. This fiercely moving portrait of a family living and struggling on Chicago’s South Side in the 1950s was the first play written by an African-American woman to be produced on Broadway. The Washington Post hails it as “one of a handful of great American plays – it belongs in the inner circle, along with Death of a Salesman, Long Day’s Journey Into Night and The Glass Menagerie.” The play will star Greta Oglesby as the matriarch Lena and Darius Dotch as her son Walter Lee. The cast also includes Aimee K. Bryant, Robert Gardner, Neal Hazard, Theo Langason, and Am’Ber Montgomery. The production team includes Lance Brockman (Set Designer), Mike P. Kittel (Lighting Designer), and Evan Middlesworth (Sound Designer).

 

On the Proscenium Stage, the crowd-pleasing holiday slot in the line-up is the return of The Soul of Gershwin: The Musical Journey of an American Klezmer, created and written by Joseph Vass with music by George Gershwin and lyrics by Ira Gershwin and DuBose Heyward. Back by popular demand, this soulful play takes you back to early 1900s New York City— a creative melding of different cultures that created our distinctive “American Songbook.” George Gershwin himself (Michael Paul Levin), joined by three stunning singers (Maud Hixson, Geoffrey Jones, and Maggie Burton) and a fantastic Klezmer band, reveals the folk songs, blues, jazz, Yiddish theatre, cantor chants, and opera woven into songs like I Got Rhythm and Embraceable You. Peter Moore will direct. The production team includes Dean Holztman (Set Designer), Jacob M. Davis (Sound Designer), Mike P. Kittel (Lighting Designer), and Jason Resler (Costume Designer). (December 2-31, 2016)

 

Rodgers & Hammerstein’s classic musical Flower Drum Song comes to the Proscenium Stage January 20 – February 19, 2017. Set in San Francisco’s Chinatown in the late fifties, Flower Drum Song is a funny and moving story which explores what it means to be an American and touches the history of every person whose forbearers once arrived as strangers to these shores. The new, fully revised version includes David Henry Hwang’s Tony Award-nominated text. The co-production with Mu Performing Arts celebrates Mu’s 25th season anniversary and will be directed by Mu’s Artistic Director Randy Reyes. Flower Drum Song is in auditions at this writing—watch for a special announcement! The production team includes Andrew Fleser (Music Director, Conductor, & Arrangements), Penelope Freeh (Choreographer), Mina Kinukawa (Set Designer), Andrea M. Gross (Costume Designer), Jacob M. Davis (Sound Designer), Mike Kittle (Lighting Designer), Abbee Warmboe (Prop Designer).

 

Last season’s smash hit world premiere Nina Simone: Four Women returns to the Andy Boss Thrust Stage February 7-26, 2017. Back by popular demand and with added music, Christina Ham’s play, directed again by Faye M. Price, stars Regina Marie Williams as the legendary singer. Writing Mississippi Goddam in a bombed Birmingham church, Simone meets three strong women bound by tragic circumstance. Together, they sing their truth and rise triumphant. Aimee K. Bryant and Traci Allen Shannon round out the cast. The production teams include Trevor D. Bowen (Costume Designer), Lance Brockman (Set Designer), Patricia Brown (Choreographer), Jacob Davis (Sound Designer), Sanford Moore (Musical Director), Mike Wangen (Lighting Designer), and Sadie Ward (Properties Designer).

 

The season continues on the Andy Boss Thrust Stage with a world premiere commissioned adaptation of Macbeth by Jef Hall-Flavin. Shakespeare’s great tragedy explores the darkest corners of the human heart as the ambitious Macbeth (Jason Rojas) schemes and murders his way to the throne. Filled with raw ambition and greed that seems ripped from the headlines, the cast also includes Garry Geiken and Gabriele Angieri. The casting and production team assignments continue at this writing. (March 17 – April 9, 2017)

 

The area premiere of The (curious case of the) Watson Intelligence will take place on the Proscenium Stage April 7-30, 2017. Madeline George’s comic drama was a finalist for the 2014 Pulitzer Prize. Four Watsons: trusty sidekick to Sherlock Holmes; loyal engineer who built Bell’s first telephone; unstoppable super-computer that became reigning “Jeopardy” champ; amiable techno-dweeb just looking for love. This brilliantly witty, time-jumping, loving tribute is dedicated to the people – and machines – upon which we depend. Leah Cooper will direct the cast which includes H. Adam Harris, Kathryn Fumie, and Paul de Cordova. The production team includes Lance Brockman (Set Designer), Kathy Kohb (Costume Designer), Katharine Horowitz (Sound Designer), and Mike Kittle (Lighting Designer).

 

David Hare’s modern classic Amy’s View continues the season on the Proscenium Stage May 12 – June 4, 2017, directed by Gary Gisselman and starring Linda Kelsey. Everyone has a different view. Amy’s view is that love conquers all. In 1979 Amy (Tracey Maloney) visits her mother, the West End actress Esme Allen, with a big favor to ask and a brash new boyfriend in tow. When the pair meet, Amy will find the views she holds so dear are painfully tested as she has to decide what’s worth fighting for. What none of them can know is that the events of that day will set in motion a chain reaction which will dramatically change their lives forever. The production team includes Joseph Stanley (Set Designer), Aaron Chvatal (Costume Designer), and Mike P. Kittel (Lighting Designer).

 

Park Square’s 42nd season concludes on the Proscenium Stage with Might As Well Be Dead: A Nero Wolfe Mystery by Joseph Goodrich, who penned Park Square’s 2011 Hitchcockian thriller Panic and record-setting The Red Box. Peter Moore will direct the adaptation of the novel by Rex Stout. Eleven years ago, wealthy Nebraska businessman James Herrold unjustly threw his only son, Paul, out of the family business. Now he wants Nero Wolfe to find Paul so he can make amends. But what if the young man doesn’t want to be found? And what if he’s the same Paul Herrold on trial for murder? This case draws the great detective (E.J. Subkoviak) and his devoted sidekick (Sam Pearson) into a web of deceit, one that even the master sleuth may regret taking on. Michael Paul Levin will reprise his characterization of Inspector Cramer. The production team includes Elena Giannetti (Assistant Director), Rick Polenek (Set Designer), Mike P. Kittel (Lighting Designer), A. Emily Heaney (Costume Desigenr), Anita Kelling (Sound Designer), and Abbee Warmboe (Prop Designer). Might As Well Be Dead is a world premiere commission by our Mystery Writers Producers’ Club. (June 16 – July 30, 2017)

 

The full calendar of sixteen projects includes the returns of A Midsummer Night’s Dream and The House on Mango Street, expected to play to more than 30,000 students. Signe V. Harriday will be making her Park Square Theatre directing debut with The House on Mango Street, which will offer two public performances October 21 and 22, 2016. The cast includes Atquetzali Quiroz and Hope Cervantes as younger and older Esperanza, respectively, as well as Paulino Brener, Charisma Pruitt, Guillermo Rodriguez, and Pedro R. Bayon. The production team includes Annie Cady (Costume Designer), Christopher Kit Mayer (Set Designer), and Mike P. Kittel (Lighting Designer).

 

All shows will be in Park Square’s two theatre performance spaces in the Historic Hamm Building, 408 St. Peter Street, downtown Saint Paul. Shows, dates and artists are subject to change.

Season tickets are on sale now and available at 651.291.7005 or online at www.parksquaretheatre.org. Packages begin at $99 and can be expanded to include all 15 shows in the season, including productions by our partners Sandbox Theater, Theatre Pro Rata, and Girl Friday Productions, plus the three productions in the education series. Single tickets are on sale now.

 

THE 2016-17 SEASON

The Liar by David Ives (Comedy, Area Premiere), directed by Doug Scholz-Carlson. Sparkling urbane romance with sharp and saucy modern language. (Proscenium Stage, Sep 9 – Oct 2, 2016)

The Realistic Joneses by Will Eno (Comedy/Drama, Area Premiere), directed by Joel Sass. Two suburban couples between idyllic fantasies and imperfect realities. (Andy Boss Thrust Stage, Sept 23 – Oct 16, 2016)

The House on Mango Street (drama) by Sandra Cisneros, adapted by Amy Ludwig, directed by Signe V. Harriday who will be making her Park Square Theatre directing debut. This series of vignettes – sometimes heartbreaking, sometimes deeply joyous – reveal a young Latina growing up in Chicago. (Proscenium Stage, public dates Oct 21 – 22, full run Oct 11 – Nov 4, 2016)

A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry (Drama), directed by Warren C. Bowles. America’s landmark drama about hope, change, and the future. (Andy Boss Thrust Stage, Oct 28 – Nov 20, 2016)

The Soul of Gershwin: The Musical Journey of an American Klezmer, created and written by Joseph Vass. Music and Lyrics by George Gershwin and Ira Gershwin with additional Lyrics from Porgy and Bess by DuBose Heyward, (Musical) directed by Peter Moore. A creative melding of different cultures that created our distinctive “American Songbook.” (Proscenium Stage, Dec 2 – 31, 2016)

Big Money
Produced by Sandbox Theatre
World Premiere Created by the Sandbox Theatre Ensemble; Led by Derek Lee Miller

The ever-innovative ensemble will devise another world premiere story told with imagination and plenty of movement, this time based on the life of Michael Larson, who cracked the code of the 1980s game show “Press Your Luck.” (Andy Boss Thrust Stage, Jan 12 – 28, 2017)

Flower Drum Song, with music by Richard Rodgers; lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II, revised book by David Henry Hwang (Comedy Musical), directed by Randy Reyes, co-produced with Mu Performing Arts.

The history of every person whose forbearers once arrived as strangers to these shores. (Proscenium Stage, Jan 20 – Feb 19, 2017)

Nina Simone: Four Women written by Christina Ham (Play with Music), directed by Faye M. Price. Regina Marie Williams returns as the one and only Nina Simone who broke barriers and rules in this honest and heart-filled exploration of life, music and beauty. (Andy Boss Thrust Stage, Feb 7 – 26, 2017)

Macbeth by William Shakespeare (Drama) adapted and directed by Jef Hall-Flavin. The great tragedy explores the darkest corners of the human heart as the ambitious Macbeth schemes and murders his way to the throne. (Andy Boss Thrust Stage, Mar 17 – Apr 9, 2017)

The (curious case of the) Watson Intelligence by Madeleine George (Comedy/Drama, Area Premiere), directed by Leah Cooper. Brilliantly witty, time-jumping tribute dedicated to the people – and machines – upon which we depend. (Proscenium Stage, Apr 7 – 30, 2017)

Amy’s View by David Hare (Drama, Regional Premiere) directed by Gary Gisselman. The smallest events can set in motion a chain reaction that can dramatically change lives forever. (Proscenium Stage, May 12 – Jun 4, 2017)

Up: The Man in the Flying Chair
Produced by Theatre Pro Rata

By Bridget Carpenter; Directed by Carin Bratlie Wethern20 years ago Walter Griffin attached 45 helium-filled weather balloons to a lawn chair and found himself 16,000 feet above the world. Today he’s furiously holding onto his dreams and the faded memory of that glorious day, doing everything he can to keep his feet from touching the ground. (Andy Boss Thrust Stage, May 24 – Jun 11, 2017)

Might As Well Be Dead: A Nero Wolfe Mystery by Joseph Goodrich, adapted from the Novel by Rex Stout (Mystery, World Premiere Commission by our Mystery Writers Producers’ Club), directed by Peter Moore. The great detective and his devoted sidekick are drawn into a dangerous web of deceit. (Proscenium Stage, Jun 16 – Jul 30, 2017)

Idiot’s Delight
Produced by Girl Friday Productions
By Robert E. Sherwood; Directed by Craig Johnson

Winner of the 1936 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, Idiot’s Delight is a romantic commentary on greed, idealism, love, and the grim realities of war. An eccentric assortment of characters are stranded together in a European mountaintop resort at the outbreak of war, including a munitions magnate, his mysterious Russian mistress, and an American song and dance man with his chorine companions “Les Blondes.” Girl Friday Productions brings its signature large ensemble cast to this dramatic comedy with musical accents, set in a world on the brink. (Andy Boss Thrust Stage, Jun 29 – Jul 23, 2017)

 

# # #

The Program That Mary Built

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Before I’d become an usher for Park Square Theatre’s Education Program in 2014 and even as a season ticket subscriber about a dozen years ago, I had not known that Park Square Theatre has a robust and award-winning education program that now serves up to 32,000 students per year, one of the nation’s largest teen theatre audiences.  Our program not only provides outreach to school communities throughout Minnesota but even into parts of Wisconsin and as far as Iowa and the Dakotas.

Park Square Theatre’s Education Program was founded in 1994 by Mary Finnerty, who has also served as the theatre’s Director of Education for over 20 years.  Its creation story has the stuff of show business legend:  Artistic Director Richard Cook offers Finnerty a plum gig to direct Equus.  She has to decline because she’s having a baby in September and plans to leave Theater to find “a real job.”  A flabbergasted Cook watches Finnerty depart but quickly regains enough composure to stop her with a clearing of his throat, then a return of his capacity to speak.  Hadn’t Finnerty once been a teacher?  (Yes, she’d taught English and Theater for nine years, earned a Master’s degree in Directing, plus started and managed a community theater.)  Would Finnerty consider creating an education program for Park Square Theatre?  One that would impact the lives of so many youths, most certainly exposing some to their first theater experience ever?

Ultimately, Richard moves Equus to the spring so Finnerty can still direct what proves to be an enormously successful production. And she is hired as part-time Education Director.  The rest is history.

Finnerty has built Park Square’s Education Program brick by brick, laying a strong foundation with her organizational know-how, fearless experimentation and wisdom to not go it alone.  During her first year as Director of Education, she reached out to other teachers to help her design programs and study guides to be relevant and effective for teachers as well as students.  The Educator Advisory Board was thus born, initially with four teachers.  Today, the Board has grown to 18.

Just within the second year of its inception, Park Square’s Education Program had already attracted an astonishing 3,100–and by 1999, 18,000–middle and senior high school students.  For over two decades, the program has continued to steadily grow in audience and scope of service, with offerings of Immersion Days filled with workshops as varied as Improv to Stage Makeup, Build A Moment presentations for glimpses into collaborative stagecraft and post-show discussions with directors and actors, excited to spark young audiences.

Park Square’s Education Program also prides itself in offering what we call An Evening of Theatre During the Day, treating our young patrons just like our evening audience but at a lower cost, with ticketed seating by professional ushers, an unabridged playbill and, of course, the exact same production seen by evening audiences.  Teachers are even invited to an annual Teacher’s Night Out, an event designed by teachers for teachers to get a special insider’s look at the Education Program.

Middle and high school teachers bring their students to Park Square Theatre–many year after year–because they find the Education Program’s offerings to be uniquely tailored to their needs.  Because they are created with the help of highly committed teachers, the study guide for each play is so carefully designed to be age-appropriate, thematically relevant and user friendly.  The plays themselves, from such classics as The Diary of Anne Frank and Macbeth to newer offerings like My Children! My Africa! and Flower Drum Song, are also chosen to engage a wide spectrum of audiences.

It literally took my working for Park Square as a daytime usher and personally witnessing the response of school groups to discover and appreciate the priceless jewel of the Education Program that lays within the treasure chest that is Park Square Theatre itself.  Throughout this upcoming season, I look forward to unveiling to you the many facets of this precious gem–a program built by a teacher, with the help of teachers, for both teachers and, most importantly, their students.

TEST: Costumes 101: Before and During the Show

In theatre, as in real life, how one dresses reveals a lot about a person.  This summer, I asked Megan West, Park Square Theatre’s Production Manager, to tell me how costuming is handled from start to finish.  So she did!

Park Square hires a designer to create costumes for each play. Before meeting the cast, the costume designer has already done much character research to consider appropriate wardrobes to help create the characters’ identities.  S/he puts together a “collage book” for each character, consisting of fabric swatches to determine what colors, hues and textures to use, pictures from fashion publications or ads, online images and whatever else may seem indicative of the character.  All the while, s/he is also consulting with the play’s director to discuss what really works.

The costume designer also attends production meetings to collaborate with the set and lighting designers.  For instance, the set designer may know not to get a red sofa if costumes will be in red, or the costume designer may know not to create green costumes if a set will be designed using green tones.  The lighting designer also needs to know about chosen color-schemes to create effective lighting.

The actors will have been measured and had fittings as part of the costuming process, which gives them some idea as to what they will wear.  Not until technical rehearsals happen will the actors start wearing the costumes.  It is the time for them to get a sense of how it feels to move with the costumes on as well as to practice how to quickly change in and out of costumes.  The actors, in fact, have their wardrobe organized and labeled on a rack in the dressing room as well as provided with a list of their costumes.  Everything is organized to help the play run smoothly.

Not all costumes need to be “created from scratch.”  That is actually an expensive process so, more often than not, clothing is purchased from stores, usually on discount or used.  Clothing and accessories can also be rented at low cost–a dollar per week for jewelry, $3 per week for pants, $4 for coats.  Actors may even own personal pieces appropriate for the play, which the theatre pays them rent to use.

The designer’s job is not yet over even after the show has opened.  Audience reactions in the preview performances can influence costume changes.  For instance, if an orange dress causes laughter in a serious scene, then the designer must change the dress.  Or does a tank top on an heiress, for example, look cheap and shabby on stage when it shouldn’t?

Costumes must be kept clean throughout the play’s run, too.  Park Square has a  part-time wardrobe staff member who keeps track of laundering schedules and repair lists so a hired laundress knows what and when to wash in-house or dry-clean and what needs mending.  In general, clothing is washed every other performance, but articles that touch skin, such as underclothing and slips, must be laundered after each performance.  A helpful “trick of the trade” is to spray vodka on clothes as a disinfectant.  Once the play ends, everything gets a final wash.

When I have watched actors in performances, I was unaware of all that is involved in the costuming process.  So much meticulous attention to detail is necessary to design or acquire the right costumes and to maintain and organize them.  So much hidden work goes into creating magic on the stage.

              Calendar Girls Costumes          Calendar Girls Costumes

Some Costumes for Calendar Girls

 

(Look out for the upcoming blog, “Costumes 102: After the Show.”)

 

TEST: Mina Kobayashi: May’s Front of House Employee of the Month

TEST: Mina Kobayashi: May's Front of House Employee of the Month
Mina in the Ticket Office

Mina in the Ticket Office

Mina Kobayashi moved to Minnesota in August 2015 and began working at Park Square Theatre’s ticket office in September.  In May, Kobayashi was named Park Square’s Front of House Employee of the Month in honor of her terrific work.

As Kobayashi’s skills increased, so did her responsibilities as part of the Front of House staff.  She was put on the Subscription Team to serve season package holders as well as sent to promote Park Square at “Hello Saint Paul Welcome Hat” events at the Minnesota History Center.  The latter is a bimonthly gathering to welcome new community members to St. Paul and introduce them to local businesses and organizations.

Kobayashi, whose home is in New York City, graduated from Colby College in Waterville, Maine, in May 2015.  She majored in Anthropology and East Asian Studies.  While looking for work in the event planning or development fields, Kobayashi applied for a one-year AmeriCorps-VISTA positon in the Twin Cities national headquarters of College Possible.  College Possible is a nonprofit organization that helps low-income students get a college education, and she became their Individual Giving VISTA.   Kobayashi herself had gone to college with the support of the Posse Foundation, an organization which helps public high school students gain access to a college education, and saw the opportunity to pay it forward through her work with College Possible.

Kobayashi has enjoyed the opportunity to work for Park Square Theatre and support its mission this past season.  However, her yearlong term at College Possible is about to end, and Kobayashi has decided to rejoin family and friends in New York City.  She retains an interest in pursuing development positions for nonprofit organizations.

Thank you, Mina Kobayashi, for all your hard work on behalf of Park Square Theatre.  You will be missed, and we wish you the best of luck!

Marketing Coordinator Alicia Pedersen and Mina Kobayashi promote Park Square Theatre at Minnesota History Center's "Nine Nights of Music"

Mina with Marketing Coordinator Alicia Pedersen at Minnesota History Center’s “Nine Nights of Music”

 

 

TEST: Costumes 102: After the Show

TEST: Costumes 102: After the Show

In a previous blog, “Costumes 101: Before and During the Show,” Production Manager Megan West revealed how costumes are created or acquired and handled before and during the show.  But what happens to them after the play is over?

Park Square Theatre has minimal space for costume storage, and outside storage is expensive so very little is kept after a play is done.  Rented items are returned, actors may purchase costumes, and leftovers are donated.  Only very specific items that may be reused, such as Nero Wolfe’s yellow pajamas, and common stock that are often needed, such as white dress shirts, tailcoats, some shoes, wig heads and petticoats (great to wear during rehearsals if actors need to get used to the motion of full skirts), are stored.  During the summer, West goes through the labeled and well-organized bins again to look for overstock that can go.  Her rule for shoes:  If the lid no longer fits on the bin, then get rid of something.

     Costumes in Storage           Costumes Storage

Costumes in Storage

 The exception to the “toss rule” has been a collection of at least a dozen boxes of vintage wear by deceased costume designer Jack Edwards, whose career spanned over 50 years, taking him from Broadway to the Guthrie Theater.  Restoration cost for these handmade and sometimes fragile items would be costly, but thus far no person or organization has been interested in taking them as a donation to archive or use for educational purposes.  Every item in each box has been catalogued (numbered, photographed, and indexed).

Megan West with dress by designer Jack Edwards

Megan West with dress by designer Jack Edwards

The costume storage area is kept as orderly as possible with everything in its place, ready to be used for yet another show.

 

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