Have you ever heard the expression, “It takes a village”?  Well, it takes at least a neighborhood to put costumes on the cast of Bells Are Ringing.

Close-up of Bells Are Ringing costume pieces.

Most people who go to see a play or musical the size of Bells would be shocked to find out how many people are involved in bringing the production to life.  Lighting, scene design and construction, props, management, and costumes are just some of the many specialty areas that make up a production team.

At Oakland University, students and faculty work hand-in-hand to design and implement all of these design areas.  Bells Are Ringing requires a very large collection of costumes – all of which must ‘fit’ into the late 1950’s.  Every actor in the production has multiple costumes – more than 100 costume pieces fill up racks and racks of clothes to make it all happen.

Each costume piece is carefully planned.  For some productions, OU can pull costumes from its large costume shop.  Bells Are Ringing required a variety of costume sources to achieve the right effect.  Some were pulled from the OU shop, but many were purchased, rented, or hand-sewn by students and faculty on-site.  The crew also selects and manages belts, shoes, jewelry, hats, coats and any number of other clothing-related items.

The job doesn’t end on opening night: It just begins.

Throughout the production, costumes must be cleaned and repaired – often, every day.  The costume crew is often at the theatre for hours after a performance, preparing costumes for the next day.  And, there is usually someone on-hand during performances to handle ‘costume malfunctions.’

Bells Are Ringing requires many actors to make quick costume changes backstage.  In this case, one or two ‘dressers’ from the costume crew provide vital assistance.  The actor exists the stage, stands in place, and is assisted with removing one costume – and putting the other costume on.  Actors and dressers practice these quick-changes in order to make sure the actor gets back on stage on time – and fully-dressed!

Check out the vBlog below, showing some of the costume discussions for Bells Are Ringing.


Bells Are Ringing has a costume crew of 18 OU students and faculty members.  All students majoring in theatre at OU are required to support productions as crew members, when they are not onstage as actors.  Here is the crew of talented people bringing you the costumes for Bells Are Ringing:

Mary Gietzen [ OU student ]
Costume Designer

Donna Buckley
Costume Shop Supervisor

Leslie Littell
Costume Faculty

Shari Bennett and Carrie Delancey
Costume Shop Costumers: [ Pattern design, Cutting and Fittings ]

Willow Lupa, Rachel Beuchele, Lauren Wainwright, Susanna Allen, OU Students
Costume Shop Stitchers

Ashley Ault, Sarah Buckley, Even Heucker, Laura Eagan, Chris Neville [ OU Students ]
Costume Shop Assistants: [ Inventory, Pulling Items, Labeling Items, Trimmings etc… ]

Ashley Rozanski, Allie McCaw, Emily Taplin, Allison Huber [ OU Students ]
Dressers:  [ Assist actors in dressing and making quick backstage costume changes ]

Bells Are Ringing

Saturday, February 12, 2011

TIcket Information and Performance Details on TerpTheatre’s Website

Comments are closed, but trackbacks and pingbacks are open.