Magazine article Stage Directions

Prombibs

Magazine article Stage Directions

Prombibs

Article excerpt

Costume designer Vanessa Leuck has had a prolific career, working on productions at regional theatres like the Capital Repertory Theatre and The Philadelphia Theatre, Off-Broadway productions including Disenchanted! and Little House on the Ferry, and assisting on The Little Mermaid on Broadway, Disney On Ice, Disney Live and five productions of Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Circus. She is also drawn to smallerfare like Pope! An Epic Musical at this past summer's New York Musical Theatre Festival. The show, written by Justin Moran and directed by Peter Flynn, is a comedic clash between a younger, idealistic Pope and the more cynical, manipulative rival who seeks to dethrone him.

Leuck faced a few challenges while working on Pope!: she had already committed to another NYMF production; had only one month to get this one in shape for opening night; and needed to work with a modest budget. She had one assistant and two wardrobe crew, and they spent two to three weeks pulling all the costumes together. "I used the TDF Costume Collection, which is a wonderful facility that does a special price for NYMF," recalls Leuck. "It was amazing. We were able to rent a little bit more than half of the show. I knew we didn't have time to build all the clerical costumes, so we rented them and then did alterations and decorating and mixed in modern stuff. There was the challenge of time and budget and getting the desired aesthetic and design on stage. There was a lot of quick problemsolving and we benefited from having a very good team."

The most striking solution for Pope! was the use of "prom bibs." At one point in the show, there is a fast scene change between a current day convent and a flashback at a prom in which three female characters' nuns habits have to instantaneously change into prom outfits.

"Not only was it the way that Justin wrote the show, but Peter the director said it needed to happen in one second when the audience-all of the sudden-is transported to this prom. …

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