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Apr 04

5 Facts About Broadway Costumes You Didn’t Know

Costumes are one of the best things about Broadway shows. While they may seem insignificant, they are actually a huge part of setting the scene. The colors, styles, and shape can describe a character in a second. When your eyes scan over Elle Woods in that super girly, white-with-pink-accent designer dress you know immediately just whom you’re about to deal with. While we subconsciously notice the costumes of our favorite characters, there are small details we don’t notice, but it’d be really cool if we did! Here are 5 different things we don’t notice about costumes, but it makes us appreciate them so much more!

1. Shrek the Musical

Shrek is every child’s favorite ogre. When it was developed into a stage show, the costume designers knew it’d be a challenge bringing Shrek to life. However, they did an amazing and mind blowing job! The Shrek costume is made of layer upon layer of different materials designed to look like actual ogre skin. The head itself took Brian D’Arcy James an hour and a half to put on with help! All that time in the makeup chair can’t be fun, and we really appreciate all that work!

2. Priscilla: Queen of the Desert

The most stunning costumes often include bright colors and fabulous sparkles and it’s not surprising that Priscilla won the Tony Award for Best Costuming in a Musical because the amount of color and glitter is astounding. Not only glitter, but feathers, sequins, wigs, and even flip-flops. Yes, flip-flops were used a decoration for dresses in the show! There is so much glitter; the costumes used about two to three pounds of glitter a month! You might think, eh, two to three pounds? That’s not much. Think about an individual piece of glitter. You can barely see it. Think about a handful of glitter. That’s probably a few ounces. You can figure it out from there. That is a LOT of glitter! I’d hate having to be the guy to sweep off the stage after a performance.

3. Wicked

One of the most popular musicals of all time is highly praised for its music, sets, and costumes. The costumes are so detailed, there are incredible details you couldn’t even see if you wanted to unless you were half a foot away from the costume. For example, the Oz guards uniforms that appear when “witch hunting” have buttons up the front. If you looked closely those buttons have the word Oz on them. It’s such a small detail that nobody would notice. It just goes to show how much work the costumes put in to make costumes look realistic and accurate. Can you imagine piecing together 40 yards of fabric by hand to create Elphabas Act 2 dress specially made for each Elphaba? Every time a new Elphie comes into the show, the costumers get to work creating a piece of art.

4. Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark

Recently, this show closed after years of backlash and criticism for the safety hazards and accidents that occurred. The fantastic costumes were, unfortunately, overlooked. The Green Goblin alone was an astounding masterpiece. But something that is incredible is a detail in the Spider-Man costume that nearly nobody knows. If you take spider and human DNA and mix it together, you get a unique pattern. That pattern is printed across the Spider-Man costume in blue. People took the time to incorporate this onto the suit! This comic book on stage took the costumes of Peter Parker and other characters that don’t fight or produce crime and added black lines across the stomach and back, creating the impression of wrinkles on a comic book characters t-shirt. They also did this over the set and props!

5. Next to Normal

One of the most magnificent yet simple musicals out there, Next to Normal, also has some incredible little known facts about it. The musical is about a modern day, typical (okay, maybe not so typical) family. Their costumes are just average costumes. T-shirt and jeans, hoodies and jeans, sneakers and flats. Nothing too exciting. But when you look at the colors, you’ll notice a unique pattern. Natalie and Diana seem to wear similar colors while Dan and Henry wear similar colors. This is because Henry and Natalie are the younger version of Diana and Dan. Several points throughout the musical there are clear parallels between Henry and Dan, Natalie and Diana. The costumes prove it further.

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