Costuming 'Hedwig and the Angry Inch' [Fashion]

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The story of Hedwig is a tale as old as time: girly-boy from East Berlin meets American G.I., undergoes a sex-change to marry him, moves to the states and crashes headlong into infamy as a song stylist and ex-lover (or perhaps, alter-ego) of a popular rockstar. So, maybe the story isn't that common, but it's certainly intriguing; When I was offered the opportunity to dress this punk rock starlet, I just couldn't say no.

With the expert aid of director Mike Brooks, I formulated a costume plot that would take Hedwig from nightclub queen to raving maniacal diva in just 90 minutes. We decided to take the show's original three costumes and double the number of changes. Scott Anthony, playing the role of Hedwig, masterfully improvised his part to include our new complications. The result has been a show with an entirely new facet of entertainment and depth.

Equally important to the character's look is the wig and makeup work, performed during this production by Bridget Witzke. She also took influence from previous productions, but applied her own style and technique. Between her styling and Scott Anthony's superb performance, the result is a new life given to a character that is not only believable, but relate-able -- even loveable.

The greatest part of theater costuming, in my experience, is the opportunity to usher along the story and emotion of a play through the appearance of the actors and actresses. Fashion can be so much more than clothing, given the chance. Perhaps the second greatest part, though, is standing in the produce section of your local Kroger stuffing tomatoes into a bra to find the 'right fit'.



There's still time to catch Hedwig's tour; We're at the Alley Theater (1205 East Washington Street) May 14 & 15, and 21 & 22. Tickets can be purchased online at TheAlleyTheater.org.

Photo: Courtesy of Scott Slusher
About Rachel French
I'm an independent fashion designer (www.venomiss.com), photographer, and all-around art lover. I also design costumes for productions at the Alley Theater, and have worked in wardrobe for Actors Theatre and The Louisville Ballet.
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