Wednesday, January 22, 2014

From Sketch to Stage: Wicked Costumes Come to Life

Detailed costumes bring characters to life on stage. Audiences will see this firsthand at the when Wicked returns Feb. 12 through March 2. Each stitch, sequin and layer of fabric melds together to bring personality and drama to the Broadway blockbuster. Costume designer Susan Hilferty used the Clock of the Time Dragon — discussed in Gregory Maguire’s book on which the musical is based and reflected in Wicked’s Proscenium set — as inspiration when developing her Tony Award®-winning designs.

Clock of the Time Dragon

Wicked was all about literally creating a world,” Hilferty has said. “As a costume designer, I’m creating everything. What is it like in this land of Oz? I created a culture so that I know how to develop what are ultimately the clothing ideas.”

She toyed with putting sleeves upside down, turning items sideways and twisting others. Hilferty refers to this process as “riffing,” which basically is like a jazz musician taking a note or an idea and playing with it to see what can be developed. This included adding clock pieces and gears to ensembles to create a retro feel.

To create the vision for Glinda, Hilferty used the sky, stars and clouds as inspiration. Audiences will see the details of Glinda’s ballgown, including sparkling sequins, as she glides across the stage.

Glinda in Emerald City
Glinda’s Ballgown
Elphaba’s “rough and ready” exterior is harder by comparison. Hilferty envisioned her coming from the center of the Earth. Forty yards of fabric are used in the character’s costume, including 12 yards of layered fabrics in the corset alone. It takes one stitcher two weeks to make the creation.

Elphaba in Act II
More than 7,000 fabrics were used in Wicked to handcraft the distinctive looks. They were created, printed, manufactured, mixed, dyed and more for just the right touches. Ribbon was manipulated, beads were added, pleats fashioned and gathering sewn to create decorative details that come to life as actors and actresses move about the stage. Costumes are made to withstand eight performances a week. 

Peer behind the curtain of Wicked’s wardrobe with more costume sketches below. 

Oz Female
Oz Male

Dr. Dillamond
Morrible in Oz
Morrible in Act II

See Hilferty’s amazing costumes come together onstage! Wicked tickets are on sale now and start at $49. Tickets can be purchased online through the ticket office, in person or by calling (920) 730-3760. Tickets also can be purchased through Ticketmaster online or by calling (800) 982-2787.

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