Web Crush Wednesdays: Operafantomet

jr9fangirls1111This week’s Web Crush comes to us from the Phandom (fans of The Phantom of the Opera) and is one of the most talented costume-makers I’ve ever seen. Anéa, who often goes by the username Operafantomet, has been making costumes for years. Her works include historical dress from periods such as the Renaissance, but the masterpieces with which I first fell in love were her The Phantom of the Opera recreations.

One of the dresses depicted above is a fan-made recreation. The other is an official stage costume. I defy you to identify which is which.

One of the dresses depicted above is a fan-made recreation. The other is an official stage costume. I defy you to identify which is which.

As you can see, Anéa’s costumes go above and beyond when recreating the official versions. She is not only knowledgeable of the costumes produced by the various workshops who make Phantom wardrobes, but she also truly understands and respects the vision of the original designer, Maria Björnson. As such, her costumes are not typically exact replicas of any one stage version (see here for an example of how widely costumes can vary over the course of Phantom‘s many years and many productions) but are instead her own creations based on what works best in the various stage versions and what the original costume sketches depicted.

I first came across Anéa’s costumes on a PhantomAnea Wishing Gownforum a few years ago and was absolutely floored by how incredibly well-made they were simply as garments, in addition to how brilliantly they captured the spirit of the actual stage costumes. I remember first seeing her version of the Wishing Gown (so named because it is the dress Christine wears during her big Act II number, “Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again“) and thinking that it was actually one of the official stage costumes. Through that forum I was led to her site, The Anéa Costumes, which documents her many costume-making endeavors with in-progress pictures and guidelines for other costumers looking to re-create similar projects.

Anéa is also very active on Facebook and Tumblr, where she joyfully shares her expert knowledge of Phantom costumes with the uneducated masses, such as myself. Through following her I have developed a much keener eye for detail and appreciation for costuming as an art form. Currently she is working on creating the gypsy costume that Meg Giry wears during the “Don Juan” scene of Phantom, so if you follow her today you can get a look at her process as it unfolds. I know I look forward to seeing this next artwork take shape.

Theatre Thursdays: Wicked News Round-Up

Despite being a huge Wicked fan (I mean, check the username) I don’t think I’ve posted about it at all here. However, having just seen the show again a couple weeks ago, I’ve been in a Wicked mood — so I’m gonna post some fun news that’s been going on for the show as it nears its tenth year on Broadway.

Willemijn Verkaik ElphabaWillemijn Verkaik will do a limited run as Elphaba on Broadway

Willemijn became a fast fan favorite when she opened the German production of Wicked and with her perfect witchy look and killer voice it’s not hard to understand why. On top of these great attributes Willemijn also brought her intense, passionate acting to the role. She went on to open the Dutch production of the show as well, getting to perform the show in her native language. Now this incredibly talented woman is going to get to make her Broadway debut and American audiences will get to experience firsthand what audiences in Stuttgart and Holland have already fallen in love with.

Enjoy Willemijn performing Elphaba’s signature “Defying Gravity” in all three languages in which she has performed/will perform the role:

More news under the cut!

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Theatre Thursdays: Seussical the (Flopped) Musical

Quite a while ago I had an idea for a series talking about my favorite Broadway flops. Being the brilliant wordsmith I am, I titled this series “A Few of My Favorite Flops”…get it? Like that song from The Sound of Music? But with the word “flop” instead of…eh, you get it. Anyway, I started with Carrie and that led into a lot more posts than I intended and I never went back to the series. Today I will be continuing “A Few of My Favorite Flops” with Seussical the Musical.

I performed in this show my freshman year of college and fell in love with it. The music and lyrics are by Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty who are honestly my favorite musical creators (Ragtime, Once on this Island, and Seussical are three of the most perfect cast recordings I own) and the original production was directed by Frank Galati. As you have probably guessed, the story is based on the works of Dr. Seuss with the main plot of the musical being comprised of the stories “Horton Hears a Who” and “Horton Hatches the Egg” so our protagonists are Horton the Elephant and Jojo (the son of Whoville’s mayor) with the Cat in the Hat serving as narrator. Other main players include Gertrude McFuzz, Mayzie LaBird, the Sour Kangaroo, and the Wickersham Brothers, with special appearances by notable Seussian characters such as the Grinch and Yertle the Turtle.

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