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Interview: From Head to Toe - Everything HAIR

BroadwayWorld Sits Down with the Designers of HAIR at Circle Theatre.

Hair, running through September 25th at Circle Theatre in Grand Rapids, is a real blast to a very specific era - and we wanted to catch up with the crew in charge of putting together that look for this latest production. Below we're chatting with the design team!


Kelly Lucus
Co-Costume Designer

Tell us a little about yourself. How did you get started in costume design/hair and make up?

I kind of fell into it. Started helping out a friend and taught myself how to sew along the way. Worked with the Flat River Community Players in Greenville, Michigan for many years. Then got involved with Grand Rapids Civic Theatre, and learned much more working along with Bob Fowle. After a while, branched out and worked with Circle Theatre, Actors Theatre, Grand Rapids Community College, and Cornerstone College to name a few.

What has been the most rewarding part of working on Hair at Circle Theatre?

Good collaboration with the director. Jolene Frankey had a clear vision that she laid out for us, and was always ready and available to answer questions, and help us fulfill her vision.

What has been your favorite part of the design? What costumes/hair and make up are you particularly excited about the audience seeing?

Adding all the details, and deconstructing some of the pieces for Act One. We dyed several things for more texture and color. Added different patches and trims to help evoke the tribal hippie feel.

What was the biggest challenge to bringing this production design to life?

There's many things in Act One that I think will be nostalgic for the audience. We tried to stay true to the hippie vibe without making everyone a cliche' of the period. Then trying to reinterpret those looks for Act Two in a modern way was more of a challenge.

Interview: From Head to Toe - Everything HAIR

What's an unexpected hurdle you've had to overcome in the process of designing for this show?

Keeping the clothes easy to move in. There's a multitude of choreography and movement in the show. The cast had to be able to move freely and not get tangled up in layers or prohibited from moving because the clothes didn't allow it.

With a diverse cast like Hair, how did you navigate creating designs that not only fit the time period, but also stayed true to the cultural references and ideas of race for each actor?

Luckily there's lots of reference photos online to explore the looks and feels of the hippie movement. Act One is 1968, and luckily Woodstock was '69, which gives you lots to see. And since it was a diverse crowd, it wasn't hard to find what you were hoping to find.

What advice do you have for young costume and hair and make up designers who might find themselves working on a period specific show like Hair?

Research the period, but sometimes you have to cheat to make things work on the actors, for the choreography, for the budget, or for the director.

What is your favorite part of the production? What should audiences be getting excited about?

I actually really like the opening. Everyone will know the song. It's done big and hopefully it sucks you into the hippie world effortlessly.


Brandon Shafer
Hair & Make Up Designer

Tell us a little about yourself. How did you get started in costume design/hair and make up?

My name is Brandon Shafer and I am the hair and makeup Designer for Hair. I am currently a professional drag queen, Dymond Denae, and have been doing so for 19 years. This alone has given me an enormous background with stage makeup and hair design and because of this, I started at Circle theater a few years back when they needed assistance with makeup looks for Addams Family. Since then, I have designed the hair and makeup for multiple productions.

What has been the most rewarding part of working on Hair at Circle Theatre?

As with any production, the most rewarding part is witnessing the actors getting excited when they see the wigs for the first time and then seeing them come alive on stage.

Interview: From Head to Toe - Everything HAIR What has been your favorite part of the design? What costumes/hair and make up are you particularly excited about the audience seeing?

My favorite part is seeing it all together on stage. To see everything come together collectively is truly the best - I don't think that will ever get old and that's what I get excited for the most.

What was the biggest challenge to bringing this production design to life?

I feel like the constant challenges are making sure it all comes together in a cohesive manner, that it fits the period, makes sense to the audience and In most cases - it should look as real and natural as possible.

What's an unexpected hurdle you've had to overcome in the process of designing for this show?

I have to say, I didn't have any hurdles with this production. From having clear direction from the Director to an amazing, easy to work with cast, this was a delight to be a part of.

With a diverse cast like Hair, how did you navigate creating designs that not only fit the time period, but also stayed true to the cultural references and ideas of race for each actor?

This production allowed for most actors to use their own hair. Especially for the second act which is set more modern/current day. This freedom in design allowed for each personality to come through in the most appropriate and fun way! And of course there are some wigs in the show that are very iconic to the time period.

What advice do you have for young costume and hair and make up designers who might find themselves working on a period specific show like Hair?

Do your research! Be confident in your design, don't over think And HAVE FUN! To be a part of something like this can truly be a dream come true.

What is your favorite part of the production? What should audiences be getting excited about?

Oh my gosh, I have to only pick one?! The second act is fun, thought provoking and powerful! It truly is a masterpiece, thanks to the Director - Jolene for her vision and to the actors who so beautifully displayed it on stage.


Bill Dunckel
Co-Costume Designer

Tell us a little about yourself. How did you get started in costume design/hair and make up?

I started costuming in high school...my first play as a freshman and we had to get our own costumes for "OUR TOWN." Luckily, I had a great suit from my grandfather. After that, I got involved with my local theater, helping on costumes and was eventually asked to be in charge of the costume department.

Interview: From Head to Toe - Everything HAIR

What has been the most rewarding part of working on Hair at Circle Theatre?

My most rewarding part is the collaboration with my co-designer. We are really good at bouncing ideas off each other and collaborating on design ideas.

What has been your favorite part of the design? What costumes/hair and make up are you particularly excited about the audience seeing?

I think my favorite part of this show was creating a "modern" version of the hippie costumes we pulled together for the first act. The director wanted to move the whole second act into modern times (2021) since so many of the issues from the show are still being tackled today. We were able to create the look and feel of the first act in a totally new way!

What was the biggest challenge to bringing this production design to life?

I wouldn't call it a big challenge, but how do we put our own mark on a well known show? How do we bring the director's vision along with our ideas to create a new experience for our audience and actors.

What's an unexpected hurdle you've had to overcome in the process of designing for this show?

Not getting tied down to the stereotypical "hippie/flower power" costume. These are real people and portraying them through real clothing as opposed to a costume.

With a diverse cast like Hair, how did you navigate creating designs that not only fit the time period, but also stayed true to the cultural references and ideas of race for each actor?

Some of our costume designs were influenced by each actor, but I think we really paid close attention to the hairstyles of the actors, so that as we progressed into Act 2, their modern hairstyles helped to tell the modern version we were trying to achieve.

What advice do you have for young costume and hair and make up designers who might find themselves working on a period specific show like Hair?

Do your research on period pieces...and use those as inspiration and a jumping off spot. For this show, we did look at other productions, but also other relevant things that were happening in the time period...like Woodstock for example.

What is your favorite part of the production? What should audiences be getting excited about?

I think all the small little things we brought to the different scenes. A hat, or a jacket or a hoop skirt to help tell the story without a full blown costume change.

Interview: From Head to Toe - Everything HAIR


For tickets, visit: https://circletheatre.org/



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