A Little Further Back in Time…


Hello, m’dears! ๐Ÿ™‚
I am still moving backwards in my attempt to catch up with the whirlwind of past months.
November was Insane. (Good insane, but still…) After much ado and drama—this time mostly among the directors and adults—(sheesh!) we decided that the fall musical would be “Cats”. This was a high risk choice, in that it is such a period piece, some of the music so overdone yet very difficult, and it had the potential of being a Terribly Bad Embarrassing Fail especially at an amateur high school level.
There was much eye-rolling and discouragement from other music directors around town, objections from parents (“Our son is a senior, this would have been his last high school musical, and he will not be in a cat-suit on stage. Therefore, we are not writing the $2,500 check we were planning on giving the theatre department this year.”)
Yes, really.
A few talented music students protested that it was a really dumb choice and chose to skip try-outs for the musical. Much to my disappointment, anti-“Cats” snark was spread from a few of my graduated costumers to my younger, more impressionable core crew, and the whole thing seemed doomed from the start.
I have to admit that my instant reaction to doing “Cats” involved some dismay at the thought of the quintessential spandex and fur costumes. BUT. That was short-lived. The director had something different in mind for this musical. She is a genius and I trusted her vision for whatever this piece would be. Without changing any of the music, she wanted to bring the show into a more current concept—modeled on kind of an “American Idol So You Think You’ve Got Talent" contest among the cats. The winner (of course Grizzabella) is awarded the final prize of going to the “Heavyside Layer.”
“So how about no airbrushed spandex?” I asked the director hopefully, “No fake fur?” She looked at me with dancing eyes “We are not held to those costume concepts in the contract. You can do what ever you want!” So then, of course, my head exploded. Dance-able Artwear…layers of lightweight t-shirt fabrics-maybe shredded and slashed…yet using anthropomorphic head-pieces and make-up…..*ping-ping-ping* went my brain!
We posted these preliminary sketches on our call-board before try-outs, which helped clue-in those auditioning that this concept was not to be quite the same circa 1980’s production.

Despite the mini-boycott of a few of our more seasoned musical theatre students, we cast a younger group of wonderful and talented actor/singers.
28 students signed up to be on the costume crew. TWENTY EIGHT! I gave them my preliminary “Ms. Kari Rules”, thinking that it would scare about a third of them off. But O, brave souls–they proved to be a fearless and tenacious bunch. And much to my delight, extremely talented! I divided them into three teams and off we went.
Some of the above sketches were fully realized, but the rest of the costumes were a combination of happy accidents, team collaboration and total brilliance. I spent most of my time honing and polishing the wild and wonderful ideas that were coming to life, making sure we stayed with our color palette, and helping to figure out How.
Here’s a bit of what we did.

<img height=”360″ alt=”” width=”257″ src=”http://pics.opendiary.com/C100974//Costumeseven.jpg&#8221; />
By show week, the combination of extraordinary talents—an outstanding orchestra, spot-on voices, spectacular choreography, whimsical costumes, perfect lighting, and exacting direction all totaled Magic. Audiences shot to their feet in wild applause and shouts, emails poured in, articles appeared in the newspaper, and the awe-struck nay-sayers happily Ate Their Words. Heh!
The musical was a Triumph.


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March 12, 2011

These costumes are a stroke of genius, making the cast appear contemporary, without losing the spirit of the musical. But then, we’ve come to expect the very best from Kari the Konsummate Kostumerยฎ, and your creations, with the inspiration and input from your fledgling costumers, always surprise and delight us! And although the oldsters perhaps need to be declawed and set aside, I love the (c)attitude shown by the performers! *Appaws!!!* =^.n.^=

March 12, 2011

Whoa!! These costumes are S-P-E-C-T-A-C-U-L-A-R, Ms. Kari!! It’s not only the director who is a genuis, you know – three cheers and hip,hip,hoorays to you! : ) Would have loved to have seen the production……..

March 12, 2011

Wow! I am in love with those costumes! You rocked CATS!

March 12, 2011

How wonderfully things turned out! And you did it without selling your soul for a measly $2500. ๐Ÿ™‚ Good, too, that some of the younger, lesser-known hopefuls got their chance to sparkle, too!

you never cease to amaze me, Kari. Your creative vision is amazing. truly amazing. great work, and such a happy ending!

March 12, 2011

The costumes are, as always, utterly spectacular. And if I may say so, better than the originals.

March 12, 2011

Wow! I love the costumes! Would have enjoyed seeing the production. Love the creativity that you always seem to evoke for these kids!

March 12, 2011

…with you involved…there was NO doubt in my mind that the show would be a triumph! Glad you were able to prove the naysayers WRONG! The costumes are fabulous…of course!

March 12, 2011

I just sang “Dance-able Artweaaaaaaar!” in my head. Because I am crazypants. XD These turned out fabulous, but of course!

March 12, 2011

of course it was!! Cats with class. Brava. *purrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr*

March 13, 2011


March 13, 2011


March 14, 2011

RYE: You’re so lucky to have a good theater department in your school with almost professional grade structuring. When I went to high school, it was sort of an afterthought, tacked on to the English teacher’s other duties and it showed. RYN: Thanks, it’s a pleasure to meet you!

March 14, 2011

Fabulous costumes! Wonderful!

Cats??? If the play captures true cat life then the kids in those creatively awsome custumes would crawl under sofas, sashay past past the stage ignoring all, sleep through the play and hop up on window sills. There would be no unity or co-operation amoung cat members beautifully decked out in awsome costumes and of course a giant litter box. Only Kari and staff can make it worth watching. BRO

March 18, 2011

You are so talented it’s amazing. RYN: Thank you very much. My kids are not funny anymore, sadly. Now they’re just all pimply, angsty and lurchy.

Woot! Awesome ๐Ÿ™‚

March 30, 2011

RYN: Thank you thank you! I really appreciate the support, advice and encouragement. I’m getting great help from a physio and a massage therapist right now. I’d say I’m 75% better than I was but I still have some rough days. I tried chiro before that and it didn’t help much so I moved on and so far, so good. Thanks for the suggestions about taking some Katie & Mommy time. >>

March 30, 2011

You’re absolutely right, and Brad is totally supportive of that. It’s just a matter of finding something we can do together and some time for it. But we had a little play together tonight after supper and even that was nice. I know it will get easier. And your encouragement makes a big difference – thank you so much! ๐Ÿ™‚

April 3, 2011

Gorgeous !!!

April 13, 2011

There’s so much energy in the pictures, I would have loveddddd to see the performance. You all did a terrific job!!!! Congratulations, M’am!!

April 16, 2011

Ryn: Thanks! Herons are very popular around here! In fact, it’s the official bird of Seattle. ๐Ÿ™‚ http://community.seattletimes.nwsource.com/archive/?date=20030318&slug=citybird18m0 There was also a VERY detailed close-up of a heron with a vole in its beak, published the very day you left your note. http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/picturethis/2014773629_bird14blog.html

April 17, 2011

Those costumes were fantastic! I do love CATS. I love the overdone music and the costumes. I saw it on Broadway once and once locally in a traveling Broadway production. And I love the way the kids looked, the freedom to do what you wanted. Fantastic!

June 12, 2011

People should learn to always say to you to do what you want….because the results are always spectacular! Bravo!

ryn: despite the rampant magazine abuse, my relationship with my parents is not adversarial. that said, we do push. we push hard. that does create tension, disagreement, uncertainty. but it comes from a place of love and deep understanding of who we all are – what it means to be part of this ‘whackadoo’ (brother’s word) family.

September 7, 2011

amazing, all of it!