It All Started With One Red Dress!
One evening I was sitting home alone on the couch with my laptop open, and an email popped in. It asked me what I would charge to make a red satin dress, sort of 1950s style, with a rough sketch attached. I thought little about it but sent back a quick estimate.
A few seconds later, the producer emailed back, accepted and said he would like to bring the performer by my house to be measured.
When they showed up at my front door, several things struck me. The producer turned out to be a very young man, dazzlingly good looking, with an Australian accent. He offered to pay me IN ADVANCE (how often does that happen?) and asked if I could also make two other dresses for his show called "Piano Man," based on the music of Barry Manilow, Elton John, and Billy Joel.
His name is Ethan Walker, and he has gone on to be a very successful theatrical producer, with shows in both Australia and the US. The performer is the gorgeous Sophia Monica.
This meeting began not only a lasting friendship but a wonderfully rewarding experience for me. (Not so much for Ethan, for whom the cost of mounting a brand new show on The Strip in Las Vegas would cause him massive losses). But I loved it. And my participation grew and grew.
First, I made the red satin dress, as it was needed right away for a photo session for the poster. And then the requests kept coming. And I kept saying yes. Would I also make the red lace mini dresses with red feathers? (me: yes) What about the purple and cream gowns for the finale (me: OK). Could I help fit the boys in their colorful tuxes? (me: of course!). And then, "can you create the yellow showgirl costume for Sophia for the song "Copacabana?" Me: whoa, I don't have the skills or training to make such a costume with an elaborate backpack and head-dress.
But fortunately, I had the talents of my good friend Wendy Eberhardt-Petrick, who is Carnegie-Mellon-trained and a brilliant craft-person and designer in her own right. She knew what feathers to order and how to build them onto the wireframe. I think I did the sparkly bra and g-string, I don't remember. And look how amazing it turned out!
The four talented singers were brilliant, the five-piece live band wailed, the visuals were colorful, but it was Christmas time. The audiences just did not come fast enough. So sad.