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Broadway babies: seven young dancers step into our top costume picks from musicals past and present and salute the performers who made their roles famous.

In the world of Broadway, glamour and spectacle count. It is the costume designer's job to reflect a show's era and story and to signal the personality of each character with a signature look-whether it's sexy, demure, vulnerable, or hot-tempered. "The dress practically made the character," says Broadway icon Chita Rivera of her eye-catching lavender outfit in the original West Side Story. Broadway shows are the inspiration for many winning routines and the choice of costume can tip the balance in your favor. DANCE MAGAZINE went in search of the hottest versions of Broadway favorites and picked 18 that are homages to popular shows. We also talked to some of the biggest names on Broadway about how they felt wearing costumes from a handful of those shows. Says Sutton Foster, who got her break dancing in Thoroughly Modern Millie, of her fun-loving flapper ensemble, "It's really amazing how powerful a costume can be in transforming you." Modeling our finds are students from Broadway Dance Center and New York City Dance Alliance.

CHITA RIVERA: Anita, West Side Story "It was a very simple dress but you felt like it came to life every time you pulled up the skirt. Because of all the layers underneath I really had to learn to respect and wear the costume. It has a life of its own and you have work with it in rehearsals and learn how to perform in it."

SUTTON FOSTER: Millie, Thoroughly Modern Millie "In the 1920s there weren't corsets or tight pants. The show's costumes were truly reflective of the times, in which women were beginning to let loose. They were raising hemlines, taking control of their bodies. It was awesome. And the costumes were pretty comfortable and freeing."

DAVID BEACH: Harry Bright, Mamma Mia "In the final scene I wear platform boots. I had to really practice in them so I wouldn't fall over. My other costume I just had to make sure didn't get wrinkled. It's hard to pretend it's a normal day when you are wearing spandex and platform boots so I start to feel the performance energy right away."

JOEL GREY: Mr. Cellophane. Chicago "My suit was copied from a suit I actually wore. I'd had it for about 15 years. But it was the gloves, the simplest of props, that were the most important--they alluded to vaudeville."

DEBORAH YATES: The girl in the yellow dress, Contact "The dress needed to show she was in charge and sexy. Costume designer William Ivy Long kept working with it and I remember putting it on and thinking, 'This is it, I feel like a woman." It would never be something that I would wear in real life: it's not a forgiving dress. You're really putting your body and sensuality on display. But it was as if I stepped into her character as I stepped into the dress."

1&2 Leo's Dancewear:

At The Hop (guy)

At The Hop (girl)


3 Algy Performance Collection:

7-0601 Orange Blossom


4 Curtain Call Costumes:

J9865 Chicago

W8018 Blond Wig


5 Eurotard:

46604 Crop Top

86902 Petal Skirt

86904 Four Rows Satin Hip Skirt

86926 Ankle Bracelet

86924 Necklace


6 Curtain Call Costumes:

J7811 Hot Dot


7 Wolff Fording & Company:

5419T Stretch Knit T-Shirt

5080P Big Man on Campus--Pants

5419 Leader of the Pack--Jacket


8 Wolff Fording & Company:

5869 Toot, Toot, Tootsie


9 Curtain Call Costumes:

87923 Long Sleeve Shirt

B7476 Straight Leg Pants


10 Wolff Fording & Company:

5778 Speakeasy--Shirt & Pants

5778J Speakeasy--Jacket *


* with W35 Gloves

by Curtain Call Costumes

11 Liberts:

8010 Red Dress


12 Cicci Dance Supplies:

This Is It


13 Kelle Company:

8377 Some Like It Hot


14 Body Wrappers

7641 Skirt

7646 Leotard


15 Art Stone/The Competitor:

6D 618 Men's Suit


16 Star Styled Dancing Supplies:



17 Costume Gallery:

Pink Ladies 668


18 Weissman's Designs for Dance:

3039 Leotard and Tail


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No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2005, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

Article Details
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Author:Maxwell, Kristin
Publication:Dance Magazine
Date:Oct 1, 2005
Previous Article:Wheels welcome.
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