What do you do as the Costume Director?
As Costume Director I oversee the daily operation of the Costume Shop, Hair & Makeup department, and Wardrobe Department. This includes dealings with budgets, calendars, schedules, maintenance within the space, hiring for position openings and overhire, allocation for each production, and acting as the shop representative at all relevant meetings.
In addition to this, I work closely with each Costume Designer to ensure that their design vision for the show is met while maintaining budget and time limitations. I facilitate the transfer of build specifications and organizational information from the Costume Designer to the rest of the Costume Department staff.
What is your favorite part of the job?
My favorite part of the job will always be the people in the shop that come together and make it happen. They are all so different and each brings something special to the group.
How did you start working in theater?
I began studying theatre in college. I spent a good amount of time onstage, but volunteered in the costume shop. It grew from that and by the time I completed my Bachelor’s, I had decided to pursue costuming. I first worked as Costume Designer for the Louisiana State University Opera.
What is your favorite Dallas Theater Center production and why?
I only have a few years of knowledge to select from, but at this moment my favorite is Real Women Have Curves. It’s simply an amazing story. I’m typically drawn into shows with a huge heart. We also had a wonderful experience with the costume designer and the actors. Beautiful costumes were made for that show.
Cast members of Real Women Have Curves, photo by Karen Almond.
You’ve spearheaded the charge for Dallas Theater Center to make and donate thousands of masks in the community. Can you tell us how that happened?
Initially, I opposed the idea of homemade masks. I felt they weren’t safe enough and I did not jump on the bandwagon. But after a few weeks of reading on the subject and speaking with a few medical professional friends, I changed my mind. We were already working from home at that point, so it was a matter of getting a few patterns together, distributing fabrics and supplies, and sewing. The group has been creating them ever since and we’ve currently made about 2300 masks and 100 surgical caps. They have been distributed all over the DFW area.
You’re also leading a how-to video series on mask making. And you have a Q&A coming up next month. Are you excited? How do you like teaching?
Excited AND scared! (Musical theatre nerds will get that). You know, I used to teach at the university level, and there I discovered that I do not like lecturing. If I’m teaching, I prefer it to be in a hands-on situation. I learn better in that scenario. That might explain why I prefer it. Learn more about the Production Classroom.
You’re designing costumes for the entire upcoming season at Dallas Theater Center. Where do you get started?
The best place to start is with a script! This is the sole place that has the information needed to present any show.
Is there a movie or TV show that people should check out for their costumes or designs?
There are so many! How could I list them all? But I’ll try to keep it under 50 suggestions.
For History – Memoirs of a Geisha, Titanic, or Elizabeth.
For Fantasy – Star Wars, The Hunger Games, Labyrinth, Black Panther, Stargate, or Lord of the Rings.
For Character – Silence of the Lambs, Far from Heaven, Clueless, The Crying Game, The Golden Girls.
I could go on, and on, and on…
You have an amazing voice. Did you ever consider working in radio or other performance art?
Thank you! I’ve never really considered radio, but in college I did study acting and vocal performance. I’ve played a part in many musicals like Cinderella’s Prince in Into the Woods, Charlie Brown in You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown, and last seen onstage in 2011 as Jud Fry in Oklahoma.
What is your favorite thing to do while sheltering in place?
I am an avid gamer. Right now I mostly play World of Warcraft and over the years I’ve been in and out of Dungeons & Dragons groups. I’m also a part of a new DFW Wearables group where we all challenge and inspire each other to sew clothing for ourselves. I’m nearly done with a new shirt!
Do you have any advice for people who don’t want to go onstage, but would like to be involved in the theater?
There are so many different avenues available! At Dallas Theater Center, Public Works Dallas is a great way to get your feet wet. Call or email us! We’re super nice! Outside of Dallas Theater Center, reach out to those smaller, local groups. Often a small company needs a loving volunteer base to thrive! You can learn about what happens beyond the stage and give them the help they need all at the same time.
You email dance breaks to staff sometimes. What’s your favorite tune to dance to?
My musical taste is all over the place from Opera to Opeth and most things in between. My current Spotify go-to is “Once in a While”, by Rosegarden Funeral Party. They’re a post-punk Dallas band!
Is there anything I haven’t asked you about that you like to talk about?
The best character in the Marvel Universe is Dazzler. Fight me.
Also, support local business! Support local artists! Follow the Dallas Theater Center Costume Mavens on Instagram – @dtccostumeshop