Behind the Curtain: Interview With Adrienne Littlefield - Dresser on MOULIN ROUGE!
Due to the global health emergency, Broadway theaters have found their bright lights dimmed and their houses dark for the first time in history. As the world works together to stop the spread of COVID-19, the theater industry has been put on hold indefinitely - theaters around the world have closed their doors in compliance with social distancing rules, and Broadway has been shut down in full since March 13. The Broadway shutdown has impacted the lives of all who work in theater industry, who are now facing uncertain and unprecedented circumstances.
In our Behind the Curtain interview series, we are speaking with Broadway musicians, stage managers, ushers, bartenders, and more, talking about how they are handling the current circumstances, and discussing the impact that the shutdown has had on the Broadway community.
Today, our Behind the Curtain interview is with Adrienne Littlefield, a Dresser on Moulin Rouge!
What is your job title? Tell me a little bit about what you do within the theater industry and how long you've been doing it for.
I work backstage as a Dresser. I help actors prepare for the show and make sure their costumes are where they need to be for fast changes during the show. I assist with quick changes backstage, and troubleshoot any costume related problems that could interfere with the performance. I also maintain costumes during daytime hours, whether it be sewing on a new button, parching a hole, or gluing the sole back on a dance shoe. I've been on a wardrobe team since I was probably 15 years old. I love being backstage.
What were you working on when the shutdown was put in place?
When the shutdown happened I was working on Moulin Rouge! The Musical, which is an absolute sartorial delight. The costumes are fun and flashy and heavily embellished. It's also a very tightly choreographed show, so the quick changes are challenging and high stakes.
How do you feel that people in the theater community have come together during this time?
I think people in the community have been wonderfully supportive of one another during the shutdown. I have friends and colleagues doing virtual group journaling sessions, mass video chat happy hours, and streamed dance classes. Also, many people in the wardrobe union (Local 746) are making masks and other protective equipment out of their homes.
What ways have you found to best deal with the current circumstances?
I myself have been spending a lot of time cooking and even more time doing dishes. I finally finished a needlepoint pillow I'd been working on for two years. And, as they say about the cobbler's children, I've been doing my own costume maintenance. For once my winter coats all have buttons and my torn sleeves are all patched!
How do you think this will change the world of theater going forward?
I really can't imagine how this pandemic will change theater moving forward. We could live stream a performance to a huge absent audience while the house sits empty. But I'm not sure that would be as satisfying an experience. I hope that audiences will still want to come to theaters, sit in old plush seats and watch singing and dancing and pretending.