Cinderella: The Broadway Musical is a monster of a production. From the music to the costumes, and everything in between, this production will showcase some of the greatest artistry ever seen on the Renaissance stage. The cast, though, often gets the glory, and why shouldn’t they? These immensely talented actors, singers, and dancers are the face of the production and go out night after night to give it all for you.
But the silent heros are the production crew, and in honor of all of the magic, complexity, and truly, the “blood, sweat, and tears” they are putting into this production, the following five blogs will highlight this group of highly talented artists. First up is Linda Turske, the Renaissance costume designer.
Linda Turske has been a seamstress for over 40 years. And for her, working with the Renaissance is a perfect balance of creativity and technique.
Once a production is chosen, Linda’s first task is research. She does this months in advance of sewing the first stitch and finds her inspiration from Broadway, national, and regional productions. For Cinderella, she found a lot of inspiration from YouTube videos, (and spoiler alert – for our Spring production of Little Shop of Horrors, she has found a perfect representation of how Audrey II will be created.)
She then follows the research by sketching her cumulative ideas. Here are a few of her sketches with the resulting costume.
Notice in the drawing, the words “floral,” “overskirt orange” and “underskirt striped.” Now take a look at the picture. The main tone is redder in the picture, but the overall effect is exactly as she envisioned. And to match the step-sister’s gown is this wonderful wig!
The main outfit for Lord Pinkleton is this amazing original green and cream garment. It is almost identical to Linda’s drawing.
The knight outfit, which can be seen to the right in the Lord Pinkleton drawing, is made out of foam. It is one of the few costumes that Linda decided to buy online because it was such a great price.
The character Sebastian has a fantastic waistcoat.
Every female in the ensemble (10 in total) has at least four costume changes! They change from towns-people to ball, banquet, and wedding participants. And, some of the females play page-boys with trumpets who will wear satin and tunics. On November 2, they will hold a rehearsal called the “Costume Parade.” Michael Thomas (Artistic Director) and Linda will look at each costume under the stage lights and make notes for tweaks. Linda creates a schedule for this and the parade will start with the main characters in Act 1. While they change out of costume, the ensemble proceeds to the stage and then continue through their many wardrobe changes. Usually, it isn’t until Tech Week (the week before the show) that the cast will inform Linda of all of the “little” issues like a skirt they are tripping on, or a pant that is too tight. This makes her final weeks approaching the opening night quite hectic and she can easily do 10-12 hour days.
We are all waiting for the magical transformations Cinderella is known for! Linda’s designs will not disappoint. There are three transformations that happen within the show; Ella goes from rags to a ballgown, another outfit from pink to gold gown, and the transformation of the Fairy Godmother (Marie) from a senile old woman in a cape to her pretty-in-pink self. All of the transformations take place within seconds and will be a true triumph for not only Linda, but the cast, and the backstage wardrobe crew.
The easiest of the transformations is Marie’s transformation. She goes from this wonderful brown cape, to the lush pink ballgown!
For Ella’s pink gown to gold transformation, Linda created an ingenious “pocket” in the pink. For the scene, Ella shows up in the pink gown (with the gold gown on but tucked inside the pink), but it is similar to one of her step-sisters. In a fit of rage, the step-sister rips off the pink gown, and when Ella spins, the gold gown flows down her body and the pink is left on the stage.
The most dramatic of the transformations is when Ella changes from rags to riches in three seconds flat. This change will be done through the layering of the costumes and specially placed snaps that will easily release when pulled. The pictures at the right demonstrate the process for the rag outfit. Shortly after the transformation, Ella will run off stage where a team of wardrobe assistants will quickly pull on a petticoat and a new white skirt for the gown in seconds before Ella returns to the stage. Spoiler alert – the dream ball gown is not blue like the Disney production. In this production, it is white.
Will there be glass slippers?
Of course!!! There are two pair – one is for Caroline Grace Williams who is the lead as Ella, and the other pair is for her understudy, McKenna Stoffer.
To see Linda’s amazing artistry come see Cinderella: The Broadway Musical running from Nov 15-22 on the Renaissance stage. Or, watch at-home with the new streaming option, available at check-out.