Costumes often need alteration and we often have to build some of the costumes in-house.
The accessorizing of a costume is quite often more difficult and time consuming, than the basic dress or suit. There are boots and shoes, hats, scarves, corsets, cravats and ties. For Fiddler we needed black tall boots for all of the Russians (from a child’s size 6 to a men’s 14). The ladies needed lace up flat boots. All males needed a hat, whether a black Homburg or a wool cap. All females needed scarves or head coverings. We needed prayer shawls and tzitzits…
Our wonderful costumers and wardrobe personnel are never seen by the audience, but their work is essential to the success of a show
And when the show is over... wardrobe’s work continues. We have to dry clean and wash everything and then sort and inventory all the pieces before they are returned. Dry cleaning alone can easily run more than $1,000. Costs for Fiddler on the Roof are TBD as they are still in the school awaiting our return.
Set construction can be a large expense, too. For Fiddler on the Roof, we used reclaimed lumber that was donated or located by our volunteers. For safety, new lumber is used to create the underlying structure. All that weathered sheathing was then affixed to the set framing. After everything is ready, the painters come and give everything a “wash” to unify the look of the structures, floor and props.
Props, both set and personal, often present unique challenges, For Fiddler, we needed an antique sewing machine (that needed mounting on casters), a chuppa or wedding canopy, a dairyman’s cart and the cart needed antique milk cans. We needed a well (also on casters), a ¾ size bed frame, that needed mounting on casters, antique chairs, benches, long tables, small tables, books, bottles, a violin, mugs, glasses…. a 6 foot long necklace for the dream sequence.
Special services: Many times, in producing a show, there is a need to hire someone with a particular expertise if we do not have a volunteer. This is particularly important for safety when fights or weapons are involved. For Fiddler, we needed both a dance choreographer and a fight choreographer. (pictured - fight scene from Romeo & Juliet)
The Laramie Project required a total of 30 wireless microphones. Fifteen additional microphones were rented to supplement Haldane's system.
Show automation software, rented by the day, was used to manage the cues and automate settings for the large number of microphones.
Other common expenses include consumables such as fog fluid and dry ice for stage atmospherics as well as replacement lamps and parts for our lights. Lamps alone cost upwards of $14 a piece and with almost a hundred fixtures we replace quite a few.