Block 678: June 1, 2015


This is the 200th Crane I’ve done since moving to Portland almost a year ago. With the schedule and the full-time work, it’s strange that I’ve only been able to do 200 in the past ten and a half months!

Date: June 1, 2015

Crane: 678

Days Spent on Project: 832

Location: NW Portland, OR

Person I would have sent it to: When I agreed to work with Brad and Nicole on that production at Roseland in January 2014, I thought I was going to be the only wardrobe person there. After all, I was told the clothing needs were minimal. Everything had been worn before. The cast was the same. The costume changes weren’t anything big or quick.

And then I showed up to work on the first day.

And then the clothes showed up in boxes.

And then I saw what I really in the mood for.

One of the dancers was without a pair of pants. The lead female dancer, whose clothes were custom made, hadn’t yet tried on her dresses. They were unfinished. And they didn’t fit. The quick rigging was done with the tiniest of hooks (BRA HOOKS!?!?) and snaps (REALLY?!) and were so not easy to figure out.

So, within a matter of a half hour, I realized I needed to buy some pants, dance trunks for the ladies (really, if you’re putting dancers in dresses, how could you forget that?), bras (if you don’t build support in there, what did you think would happen?), and material to finish these custom made dresses.

Thank god I brought my sewing machine.

Nikole, god bless her, had the name of another designer/dresser in town that had been recommended to her “in case” any extra help was needed.

And that was how I met John D.

John was actually someone I “knew” in the city. He had reached out to me, via my website’s email a year or two prior (maybe it was 2011) when he first moved to the city and was looking for internships. I think I replied. He remembered my name.

Over the next 48 hours, John and I were a team. He went out shopping, while I had fittings at Roseland and tried to fix the things that didn’t work or fit and stay on. Later on, he and I ran the show, figured out the train wrecks were backstage and who needed help dressing and undressing and who could be left alone. The first run that night was a little messy but, by the next day, we were on top of our stuff and made some magic happen.

The next day, John and I went out for brunch. (How could we not; it was Sunday and we were near Hell’s Kitchen!?) He started talking about one show that he hoped would happen. He had been talking to some producers about designing clothes for the 50 Shades of Grey parody that was moving to a theater just off Times Square. Eventually, it all fell through for him and he did design those costumes. I think the show ran for a year and a half. (I never saw the show, but the pictures of the costume fittings and actors were… um… fun.)

John was young, but I really do think he’s got a good head for the work. People like him and enjoy having him around. I know, in the past year, he worked on the Broadway production of Honeymoon in Vegas (which debuted at Papermill) and he’s been trying to get a theater company started in Canada, where he was from.

He’s ambitious and I’d keep my eyes open for him.

Music I listened to while sewing: I’ve decided to continue listening to Florrie today. I’m liking it!

Thoughts/Feelings behind the block: I’m reading the book Outliers right now and I’m simultaneously fascinated and depressed by it.

I don’t disagree with anything that’s in the book because they’re all theories and ideas I’ve felt for a while. As a freelancer, seeing colleagues of mine unknowingly step onto a fast track to better shows and work and theaters, I’ve often thought that success was an idea that we don’t have the ability to control. Yes, you have to do the work. Yes, you have to log in the hours. Yes, you have to put yourself and your name and your work out there.

But, other factors do come into play.

How does it all compare to my life? Does it apply to my life?

I graduated from the Yale School of Drama back in 2006 and found work easily for a while. Then, the economy imploded back in 2008 and quickly saw an entire season’s worth of work evaporate into thin air. That fall of 2008, I was suddenly without work and without leads and without an idea what to do. I was dating Jimmy at the time, scrounging for any leads to work that would pay and kept running into dead ends. Eventually, it did turn around, but not until winter of 2009 when I found work at a college in upstate New York and then another college in Connecticut. (Strangely, things picked up crazily in the spring/summer of 2009 when Fela! announced that we’d be transferring to Broadway.)

So, has anyone else wondered what the Great Recession of 2008 meant for a generation of people? Does this mean the generation that come of age immediately afterwards will reap the benefits of The Rebound?

I can’t stop thinking about this book!

Anyway, back to work. I’m not doing anything important other than re-organization and cleaning, so I’m looking for distractions.


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