Wild and wonderful costumes for The Wiz

First Stage Children's Theater opens The Wiz this Friday, March 5th at the Todd Wehr Theater in Milwaukee.  The production team, consisting of Director Tony Horne, Scenic Designer Collette Pollard, Costume Designer Debbie Baer, and Lighting Designer Jason Fassl began work six months earlier, meeting to discuss the concept of the production.  They agreed that Oz must be a place like no other, a place of the imagination that seems oddly familiar, while full of surprises at every turn. All costumes, sets, props create magic through innovative stagecraft and bold theatricality. 

Take the munchkins.  The production team felt that they might be inspired by the tropical flowers of the West Indies – bright and colorful. Maybe they take their cue from coral or sea creatures. When they are not moving, you might not even know they have human attributes – they might look like fanciful foliage or flowers or rocks.  They are round and jovial.

Here is a photo of a munchkin headdress being assembled.  Costumer Anna Marie Coronado supplied the idea to use zipties for the hats and Costumer Courtney Jones stitched the zipties.  One hundred of them.  Per munchkin.  There are five munchkins.

Here are the munchkin bodies.

Here is Ms. Jones modeling the completed costume.

In a show that is already exuberant and joyful, Ms. Baer's designs add spirit, wonder, and magic to the production.

Photos of Courtney Jones taken by Mithra Ballesteros, First Stage Children's Theater.

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