June 12th, 2008

macropuppets!

Costume discussion: The Lion King

First, some context which may seem self-centered, but is also relevant:

I've got a couple of really exciting gigs starting up in the next few days! I'll be working Saturdays doing millinery assistance at the Brooklyn studio of Cha-Cha's House of Ill Repute, helping produce their fall line of hats. I'll also be working at Parsons-Meares, one of the big Broadway shops, on costumes for DreamWorks' Shrek: The Musical, which will premiere in Seattle before moving to Broadway in the fall.

I'm predicting that i won't be allowed to post anything about the Shrek costumes because of confidentiality clauses relating to an as-yet-unpremiered show, but I might be able to do a post or two on what we're doing at Cha-Cha's, maybe an interview with the lead designer or a preview of the line or something.

Today's post though is about The Lion King, which i saw last Saturday at the Minskoff Theatre in Times Square.

Not only is it a tour de force of innovative, fantastic costume and production design, but The Lion King is also commendable for how "open source" a lot of its costuming actually is. Julie Taymor's book, The Lion King: Pride Rock on Broadway contains a wealth of information on how the costumes and macropuppet elements were constructed--not only her design renderings, but drafts and diagrams created by the artisans who built them, materials and technique descriptions, photos of mockups, you name it. After poring over the pages on the construction of the articulated mask mechanism for Scar while developing our Fox in The Little Prince, it was exciting to see the real thing in action. Even more exciting was the lobby display of Scar's costume (among others), which patrons were allowed to photograph!

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