April 22, 2013

Costuming a Circus …


Wow. I feel like a new woman now that the play is over! What an enormous amount of work!

The musical “Barnum” is the story of PT Barnum and how he came to be a part of the Barnum and Bailey Circus. We had a cast of eighty to dress with THREE costume changes per student (not including the leads, who each had four or five changes). That amounted to about three hundred costumes.

It should be said that fitting teenage girls to three costumes a piece is a work of torture for many reasons, most of which have to do with hormones.

Here are Hannie B’s three costume changes. I wanted to share some of my other favorites, but didn’t want to have to ask permission from parents to put their kids pictures on my blog.

This first costume is for a number called Black and White. The entire cast is in black and white. There isn’t a stitch of color on the stage during the number. The dancing and song in this number are my favorite! Plus Hannie B. is right up front for the number.

I picked out this bodice from an old prom dress for Hannie B. She fell in love with the ruffles. We attached it to a black tank and used some of her leggings from home to bring in the white and put this outfit over the top.


Next up is Hannie B’s “New Circus” costume. The costumes for this number needed to sparkle, shine and have lots of wacky color. This magenta tutu with black trim was a great fit. We made a hair bow to match it and then added wacky socks and bright shoes from Target.


The entire cast had amazing costumes for this number. We picked them from a collection the director had. The stage just lit up with sequins, color and smiles. It made me feel great to see the kids feel so good about their costumes.


Hannie B’s last costume was for the “Old Circus”. This number could have color, but no sparkle. We outfitted the entire cast AND THEN my girl came up all dismayed because I had skipped over her and she had no costume.  We searched through the bins of costumes and found this darling polka dot jumper. 


It needed straps, so I took it home, added some gross grain ribbon in red and included a fun belt in the same blue but with contrast trim in a bandana pattern. Hannie B picked out the red and white socks and polka dot bow herself.  Even though all of the patterns are different, they work together and definitely scream CIRCUS!

This was Hannie B’s favorite costume. You can’t tell though, can you?


So, there it is. The past three months of my life in six photos.  A lot of hard work. But really, and I’m not being biased, the show was UNBELIEVEABLE. Like not Middle School level. One mom even told me it was better than West Side Story which was just down the street at a local high school. Yay!

A few quick observations:

  • Yes, my daughter has a Jersey Shore face tan line. Short of covering her entire arms, shoulders, neck and décolletage with foundation, it couldn’t be avoided. She is just SO WHITE.
  • False eyelashes are the bomb diggety. I want some.
  • My daughter is beautiful.
  • Every girl had to wear a nude leotard under all her costumes – you know – to keep things modest!


Aiketa said...

I really like all of Hannie B.'s costumes! They are so great and I think I agree with her. The last one is my fav too. It's so vintage circus!!!

It sure sounds like it was such an incredible show. I wish I could have seen it. Though your description of different scenes, I imagined what was going on and in my head it was fantastic. And you say actual audience said that too.

So, congratulations to all the team that made it all possible!!! And to you and Hannie B.!

Pinspot said...

Hello adorable Hannie B! Love that girl!

The Queen Vee said...

She is spunkalicious, pretty as can be and and sparkling star on stage. loved all three of Hannie B's costumes. Her black and white was my FAV in that scene but you can tell she's loving the old time circus look and and so am I.

I couldn't believe this show was put on by a gaggle of middle schoolers, it was amazing.

You Ms Dragonfly are amazing too because you put in about a zillion hours on the costumes with fittings, washing, mending, hanging up and dressing all of those kids...it makes my head spin and reminds me of my work days at Nordstroms.

I say you are both *ROCKStArS*

Sue said...

FABOOOO! Did you or PhotoBro take any pics of the performance?

The Queen Vee said...

I'm obviously having a love affair with the word and, and then completely forgetting the word 'a." Just translate my comment the best you can.

Apis Melliflora said...

If I had to pick a show to costume, Barnum would be it! Yay to you for all your hard work and the many, many hours you devoted to this musical. I'm with Hannie B: old school Circus all the way!