Stagedoor Manor Unveils New Massive, State-of-the-Art Costume Shop
When you're the world's premier performing arts summer camp, what do you do when you need to fit 900 kids for multiple costumes each as part of 42 full-production shows each year? You build a state-of-the-art costume shop to house the more than 17,000 hanging costumes and countless accessories, providing each actor with his or her own Broadway-like experience for fittings and styling.
This winter, Stagedoor Manor, the world-renown theater summer camp, took a giant leap to revolutionize its theatric training by creating a 4,750 square foot dream shop for their nine designers and costume builders-that's bigger than an NBA basketball court! The space is also decked with eight dressing and changing rooms, enough to allow for individual attention for fitting each costume to each performer.
"The average musical with a cast of 25 performers will have five costumes each," said Todd Roberts, Head of Costumes at Stagedoor Manor. "Stars of the show could have double that number. That means one show could require over 180 costumes. Remember I said 'average'. I would say shows like The Producers and Spamalot shatter the average!"
In addition to the thousands of costumes, including many previously worn in actual Broadway shows, Roberts estimates that the new costume shop will house over 1,000 pairs of shoes, organized by size, style, period and dancing specialty-including tap and ballet.
When it comes to wigs, The Producers holds the record at Stagedoor with 49, but there are millions of variations of headwear once hats, scarves, and other accessories are included. To put the finishing touches on a look, accessories are necessary-and Stagedoor has two full-sized closets housing nothing but jewelry and gloves!
The new Stagedoor sewing and craft room is triple the size of the old area, with spacious cutting tables replacing the cramped space where the entire design staff had to take turns sorting jobs. With 14 new shows every three weeks, each designer will be producing two shows at a time, all the while keeping the next session in mind as well.
"It's so exciting, but also daunting!" said Cindy Samuelson, Stagedoor owner/producer, as she looks to the completion of the program's latest growth. "We're so proud of our stagecraft, our actors deserve the best we can give them. We try to add to and improve our campus every year. Considering the sheer volume of work the costume shop produces every summer, we were happy we could give them a state-of-the-art space in which to work."
Over the course of each summer, Stagedoor produces 42 full scale shows, in eight theaters, in nine weeks with 840 kids, which works out to about 2,000 costumes each session. Campers visit Stagedoor each summer from around the world to practice and perfect theater skills, while also looking amazing in those costumes.