Category Archives: costumes

What I Like About DreamWrights by Nora (and Kimberly)

in DreamWrights' Emerald Cast production of 'The Wizard of Oz' archive view
Munchkin Nora (center)

At seven years old, Nora McIntyre is one of the youngest member of the cast of The Wizard of Oz. She plays the part of a munchkin and while she looks quite young, she always seems to know what is expected of her and where she needs to be.  Her mom, Kimberly, explains, “Nora has always been our independent child.  She is usually the one that takes initiative and is a real go-getter.  I think that’s what makes theater a good fit for her. Auditioning was completely her idea.”

But, her story, like many others, didn’t start here. She auditioned last December for The Secret Garden and was disappointed to not make it. Kimberly recalls, “She was very young and didn’t understand how the whole process worked at that time.”

nora-writing
A story Nora wrote about getting the call
nora-writing-2

But she persevered and tried out again. Kimberly remembers the day Nora found out she made the cast. “We happened to be grocery shopping that afternoon, and I had already set her up to be disappointed that she might not get a call because it was already after 12:00 noon.  We were in the canned fruit and soup aisle when she got the call.  When she got off the phone, she was jumping up and down in the middle of the aisles and calling all of our relatives.  To say she was excited would probably be an understatement!”

201611-wizard-nora-drawings-1

Nora will tell you herself how excited she is to be in this production. When asked what she likes best, she says, “I like being myself and being a munchkin and getting all creative and acting.  It amazes me by seeing the characters and the action and making the people that are doing it come to life.” She says she particularly likes the costumes and might want to work on costume crew when she’s old enough.

As for Kimberly and her husband, Jason, they say that even though they were both new to theatre, the experience has been enlightening and positive. And when they got to see Nora on opening weekend, they were  proud to see her self-confidence translate onto the stage.  Kimberly says, “She appeared so comfortable and self-assured; as if she had done that her whole life rather than being her first show.  She fit right into the cast and didn’t appear to be a “newbie” to the entire production.  I know that we look forward to seeing her on stage again.”

201611-wizard-nora-drawings-2

Looking back on Nora’s experience, Kimberly reflects, “”It means a lot to our family because now that Nora has found theater at DreamWrights both of our children have found something that they are very passionate about. Nora has been very responsible in remembering her materials for rehearsals.  She would practice and read her script on her own in her room.  She also took a lot of responsibility for making sure that her schoolwork was still done even with all the late rehearsals. She never argued about any rehearsals and was as excited to go to the final rehearsals as she was the first. I know that we felt extremely busy, but it was worth it to see how motivated Nora was during the entire process.”

Nora McIntyre attends second grade at Red Lion’s Larry J. Macaluso Elementary School. In 2014, when she became old enough, she started attending summer camps at DreamWrights.  Her first camp was The Wide Mouthed Frog . She also attended Disney KIDS production camps: The Jungle Book and 101 Dalmatians. She absolutely loved all the camps and couldn’t wait to be old enough to try out for a big production. Nora plans on trying out again for Babe, the Sheep-Pig. But before that, you can see Nora on stage in The Wizard of Oz this final weekend.

The Wizard of Oz is a Family Affair

billy-munchkin
Billy (center) as a munchkin at age 11

This holiday season, DreamWrights invites families to enjoy The Wizard of Oz. And what’s better than watching this iconic adventure story with your family? Bringing the story to life with your family! Many DreamWrights crew and cast members are working to stage this show along with family members. It is a wonderful way to spend quality together time during the busy holiday season.

Billy Ferrell, who plays the Cowardly Lion remembers, “I have loved the Wizard of Oz since I was a child. I was fortunate to perform as a munchkin when I was 11 years old, and it has been a dream of mine to perform in it again since then. I never could have imagined performing in it alongside my daughters. We are making lifelong memories together.” The Ferrell girls can be seen onstage, Elizabeth and Rebecca as snowflakes and Julia as a Jitterbug.

201611-ferrell-wizard-of-oz
Billy Ferrell with his daughters

Like Billy and his three daughters, DreamWrights productions often draw talent from multiple generations of families. Families cooperating together as peers is a hallmark of DreamWrights. Guest Director Jaci Keagy explains, “This was my first experience working with a multi-generational cast and I LOVED it!” She adds, “Some are on stage, some are off, but everyone contributes to the show, and no one has to stay home!”

Billy agrees, “Where else can parents and children participate in activities together as peers? It’s an amazing experience to be a part of a creative process along-side my kids — to see them interact with other kids and adults and vice versa. The creative process of making a live theatrical production happen is valuable, but the life lessons and social experience are invaluable!”

20161129-dw-fraser-6
The Fraser Family

Kristen and Scott Fraser are in the show with their three kids. William and Anna are on costume crew while Sophie is on stage with her parents. Kristen says, “DreamWrights is the one place where my family can collaborate to create something great. This place is a second home to us.”

Fifteen year old Anna says that she is the envy of many of her friends, “My friends talk to me about this a lot. They will say, ‘Wow, I wish my family did these kinds of things together like your family does’ and ‘You guys are so lucky.’” Sixteen year old William agrees that doing a show all together is a great family experience. In fact, the Frasers have done so many shows together as a family at DreamWrights they can’t agree on exactly how many it has been. Twelve? Fourteen? But all agree when Sophie, a wise young lady of eleven, declares, “DreamWrights is the most amazing thing I ever do. It is the most fun.”

We invite you to see the Frasers and Ferrells in The Wizard of Oz. It runs December 2, 3, 9, 10, 16, and 17 at 6:30pm and December 3, 4, 10, 11, 17, and 18 at 2:30pm. Tickets may be purchased online or by calling 717-848-8623.

And why not join the fun yourself by rounding up your own family and auditioning for our next show, Babe, the Sheep-Pig?! Auditions will be held December 13 or 14 at 6:00pm. No prior experience necessary.

Critter Crew

20161116-dw-critter-crew-13
Bethany Mortorff (seated center) surrounded by the Critter Crew.

Have you seen the adorable handmade critters that are for sale at DreamWrights during the shows? They are created under the direction of Bethany Mortorff. You might say she heads up the DreamWrights “Critter Crew.”

It all began when she joined the costume crew in spring of 2015 for Tom Sawyer Sings. She remembers, “Rebecca [Eastman] taught me to sew and at the end of the show I made some of the turtle patterns she had. I just assumed making critters was something she did for every show so when I came back for the next show, I said, ‘What are we going to make’ and she said, ‘I don’t know.’”

20161116-dw-critter-crew-6

That’s when Bethany began designing concepts and patterns for critters beyond turtles. She started making mouse patterns and crafting cute stuffed mice but when she realized there weren’t going to be lobby sales for The Mouse that Roared, she started designing for Seussical. It took off from there.

For Seussical she made elephants and giraffes and other characters that were in the show. “I just started experimenting and making things up.” The popularity of the Seussical critters caught on quickly. They completely sold out in the first several days.

Bethany expects the critters she’s currently making for The Wizard of Oz to sell quickly as well. “I started designing the patterns months ago because I knew this show was coming. I’ve been trying to have them ready to go so that when the show came along it would be easier to make them.”

20161116-dw-critter-crew-10

Many of the patterns are her own, including the popular Ozian tree which has gotten a lot of attention and interest from the cast and crew. Bethany explains, “I wasn’t planning to make trees until they had people show up and get cast as trees then decide they didn’t want to be a tree and dropped out. I thought, for the people who are excited to be a tree, I’m going to make them a tree! And they got popular!”

Participating for the first time at DreamWrights, Andrea Mariano has found her way onto Bethany’s Critter Crew. Her three kids Julianna, Mason, and Taryn hold positions on the costume, lights, and props crews respectively (10 year old Mason will be operating the follow spot!). After dropping her kids off, Andrea decided to stick around and help out. She laughs, “Last week I showed up and Bob [McCleary] handed me a power drill. I had high heeled boots on. So now I just sneak up the back to the costume shop.” She says she feels more at home with scissors and fabric than with power tools and wood.

Although Bethany has made a big impact in the costume shop, she’s been on stage twice: Anne of Green Gables and The Adventures of Peter Rabbit. She says with a chuckle, “Every now and then they let me out of the costume shop but mostly I reside somewhere up here.”

Be sure to check out the Critter Crew’s creations for sale in the lobby before, during, and after The Wizard of Oz shows. Prices range from $5 – $25 each, while supplies last.

The Proverbial Fly on the Wall

20161109-wizard-costumes-12

If you’ve done a show at DreamWrights, you probably know Rebecca Eastman, the costumer. Many people, especially the kids, think she lives in the costume shop. Some days she feels like she does. But because she’s a normal fixture behind the sewing machine or under a garment with needle and thread, she blends right in and is privy to many a green room conversation. As the crew and cast create the splendor and magic of The Wizard of Oz, Rebecca shares some of the magnificent things that have caught her ear.

I’m a tree!!! I’ve never been a tree before! How cool is that?!”

“WE GET UMBRELLAS!!!”

20161019-wizard-of-oz-munchkins-4

Question: “I wonder what the poppies do?”
Answer: “WE HAVE UMBRELLAS AND WE DANCE!!

“Mom, I’m so excited! I am the MAYOR!”

Rebecca working on monkey wings turns around to see herself surrounded by a sea of three foot tall munchkin eyes, all open really wide.
Rebecca: “May I help you? Does Andrew need you for practice?”
Munchkin: “Not right now. We like to watch.”
Rebecca: “That’s ok. Just listen for Andrew. You can come do costumes when you are 10.”
Munchkins: “YAY!!”

From a parent passing through the green room during singing rehearsal: “Wow! They sound good already!”

Monkey wings!!! And weird hair! Which one is mine? Can I try them on?

Lion: “I feel like I am in my jammies. SO soft.”
Rebecca thinks to herself: Wait until the stage lights come on!

“Monkey jackets are cool!”

While jumping up and down: “Can’t wait can’t wait can’t wait! This is soooo much fun!

Whether you’re a tree or a munchkin, a costumer or on props, there is fun and excitement to be found in every part of staging a production. Just ask Rebecca.

Never Too Old for Halloween

img_08143

Last week, with the help of her daughters and a beautiful dress from DreamWrights, 101 year old Rebecca Woodward’s fairy tale came true. It all began with a discussion about Halloween. Rebecca announced to her daughters that she wanted to dress up like Cinderella and participate in the Halloween party at her senior living community. Rebecca’s daughters set into motion to make Rebecca’s wish come true. Daughter Faye Kroh turned to DreamWrights for wardrobe help. She explains, “The gown DreamWrights provided to Mother was a perfect fit. We topped it off with a lacy scarf, long satin gloves, jewelry, sparkly slippers, a blonde wig, and of course, a tiara! She truly looked royal.”

img_0828

When the Activities Director at her assisted living residence got wind of Rebecca’s plan, he decided to dress up as Prince Charming. During the Halloween party, Rebecca’s daughter, Linda Dyson, played “Someday My Prince Will Come” on the piano as the couple danced. They even took first prize in the costume contest. The staff and residents loved it!

Faye says that at 101 years old, her mother’s memory is failing. “She may not even carry this memory into the future, but for the moment, she felt young, beautiful, and very special.” It gave Faye and Linda a lot of satisfaction to see their beautiful mother so happy.

Cinderella reminds us, “A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes.” Isn’t it wonderful when dreams really do come true?!

Designing Young Men

Sewing costumes in the theatre is not where you might expect to find boys. But eleven year old Daniel Perkins and thirteen year old Gianmarco Febres love the skills and experiences they are gaining while working on costume crew. Both of these bright and capable boys are putting their talents to work creating costumes for The Adventures of Peter Rabbit.

20160920-dw-boys-in-costuming-14
Daniel Perkins (back) and Gianmarco Febres (front)

Gianmarco says he likes costumes equally to acting on stage. He was first on stage in 2013 for The Legend of Sleepy Hollow but he gave costuming a try earlier this year for Young King Arthur. He enjoyed it so much he’s doing it again now for The Adventures of Peter Rabbit. “I never thought about costumes that much until I actually got into costumes and then I realized it is really fun. Ironically I’m making a vest for my friend, and last time I made an apron thing for the same friend.”

This is Daniel’s first show in costumes but his second show at DreamWrights. He was previously on stage for The Secret Garden but now that he’s discovered how much fun costume crew is, he says he prefers it. “I would choose costumes over acting because actors have to memorize lines, blocking, and do quick costume changes. In costume crew you just have fun making the costumes.”

20160920-dw-boys-in-costuming-17
Daniel sewing a costume

Daniel discloses that another reason he loves costume crew is because he likes being in charge of what the actors look like. “Even though many people think the actors are the best, the backstage crew honestly is. If it weren’t for the crew, the actors wouldn’t have anything. So that’s why I wanted to do costumes.”

Gianmarco says that thanks to his work in costumes he has discovered that he really likes to iron. “I like the heat of the iron best. I though t it was more complicated than it looks.” When asked about his favorite part of costume crew, Daniel emphatically answers, “Sewing! That is honestly my favorite part!” He credits DreamWrights and The Adventures of Peter Rabbit for teaching him this valuable skill. He explains, “Because now that I know how to sew, doors have opened up to me with opportunity. In school we had to make a costume for a project but now that I know how to sew it made it a lot easier.”

20160920-dw-boys-in-costuming-32
Gianmarco working on the lining for his friend’s costume

Both boys agree that they enjoy theatre because it brings people together. Daniel says, “All these people you’ve never known before now you’re best friends.” Gianmarco adds, “What I like about it is that it connects the community. DreamWrights is a place that spawns more friendships than just in school and neighborhoods.”

Daniel recommends costume crew to anyone. “For someone who is hesitant about going into costumes, it might seem weird at first. But with all the skills you learn, later on you’ll appreciate that you learned them.”

Local Celebrities Pass Hats and Pour Sips for DreamWrights’ Capital Campaign

On Thursday, September 22 from 5pm – 7pm, local celebrities Mayor Kim Bracey and DreamWrights Executive Director, Ann Davis will be serving up drinks and fun at the Holy Hound Taproom. Proceeds will benefit the DreamWrights Capital Campaign.

Ann Davis, Executive Director sports a hat
Ann Davis, Executive Director sports a hat

As its six month capital campaign wraps up, DreamWrights hopes to raise some more cash and community awareness. Mayor Bracey whole-heartedly supports the effort.  “DreamWrights has been an important member of the York community for twenty years. They have done a wonderful job of educating kids through theater, and I’m excited that the Capital Campaign will allow them to expand their reach not only to more children and families, but also to more diverse groups that are underserved by the Arts in York currently, like millennials and retirees, and the African-American and Hispanic communities.”

Ann Davis and the DreamWrights community are anxious for the Center for Community Arts to take its next step. Davis explains, “The work made possible by this campaign will complement, not replace the capital improvements made more than ten years ago. This campaign will allow DreamWrights to make the investments necessary to increase the reach and range of our programming, and to revitalize our historic building.”

20160907-dreamwrights-ann-davis-hats-at-holy-hound-18

Mayor Bracey says that DreamWrights, as well as many other businesses in the city, is in the midst of a renaissance. “Empty storefronts have been replaced by thriving boutique shops and restaurants, and chain link fences around construction sites have become the norm, rather than the exception. The city is rebuilding and retooling. But we need more than just the downtown to thrive. And DreamWrights has the potential to be the sort of anchor for the Avenues and West End neighborhoods that the Strand Capital is for the downtown. DreamWrights’ Capital Campaign allows it to truly become a center for community arts, and a sense of ‘community’ leads to cleaner and safer streets, a better education for our children, and economic development.”

To make the celebrity happy hour more fun, costume hats will be available for donors to try-on and model.  Photos are encouraged to be posted to social media and tagged with #DWHats to raise awareness and show community support. The DreamWrights Hats at the Hound event will be held on Thursday, September 22 from 5pm – 7pm at the Holy Hound Taproom in downtown, York, PA.

About DreamWrights’ Capital Campaign

On July 1, DreamWrights kicked off the public phase of its $2.5 million Capital Campaign. This campaign will allow DreamWrights to make the investments necessary to increase the reach of its special programs and provide accessibility to all. The capital project will achieve two strategic goals: to grow programs and audience and to revitalize our landmark, historic building. Community support is essential in helping DreamWrights reach its $2.5 million goal.

The Art of the Theatrical Haunted House

dreamfrights-color

This fall at DreamWrights, hands-on classes will teach a variety of spooky theatre elements and techniques, including scene design, costume design, and special effects. Students will create the actual components for the first ever “DreamFrights” Haunted House held October 28 and 29. Classes are also offered for haunted makeup and freaky food fare.

In the scene design workshop, participants will create scary scenes through faux painting, set decorating, props creation, and special wall treatments. Costume design workshop participants will craft textile-based scene decorations as well as creepy costumes like hooded capes, goblins, ghosts and other clever creatures. For those interested in special effects, participants will construct sound and lighting cues for each scene and pathway and will utilize spooky background noises like a stormy night, haunted woods, bats, spiders and snakes.  In the Haunted Makeup class, learn to turn great looking people into creepy ghosts, ghouls, skeletons and zombies. The Freaky Food Fare workshop will explore ideas and creativity for making autumn and Halloween inspired food.

For the younger crowd, the Mini Musical: How to be a Pirate will bring out your inner scallywag through story and song. This workshop will culminate with a musical performance at the DreamFrights Haunted House on Saturday, October 29 at 2:30 pm.

All workshops run four Saturday mornings: October 1, 8, 15 and 22 from 9:00am-12:00pm and one Wednesday evening, October 26 6:00pm-8:00pm (with the exception of the Mini Musical). All workshops culminate with the DreamFrights Haunted House on October 28 and 29 where students will receive free admittance to the DreamFrights haunted house. More information can be found at http://www.dreamwrights.org/education/fall-2016-classes.

About DreamFrights Haunted House

On October 28th and 29th DreamWrights opens the doors of DreamFrights – its first ever Haunted House fundraiser. A team of creative minds are stewing up a theatrically frightful event that has modified fright factor levels from mild to menacing. Tickets are $10 per person and are available online at http://www.dreamwrights.org/fund-raising-event/special-events through October 27th at 4pm or at the door. Drop in any time Friday, Oct. 28th 7:00-9:00 pm (Menacing) or Saturday, Oct. 29 2:00-4:00 pm (Mild), 4:30-6:30 pm (Medium), 7:00-9:00 pm (Menacing). Suggested fear level guidelines: Mild – under age 7, Medium – 12 and under, Menacing – 13 and up.

Sew in the Family

File Jan 12, 8 45 20 AM
Cali Fife with great grandmother, Romaine Coeyman

Romaine Coeyman and her great-granddaughter, Cali Fife, were been born more than 70 years apart, but surprisingly, they have a lot more in common than just DNA. They both share the love of sewing and creating. And what’s more, they have done much of their craft in the exact same place, but more than 50 years apart.

Romaine Coeyman began working in the William Bernstein Sewing Factory in 1960, soon after the birth of her son. “I liked the job because I got to set sleeves. I loved that!” Coeyman remembers.

She says she always enjoyed sewing and the friendships she made at work. “I always think of [my work] around Christmas time.” She remembers setting tables up and having a potluck lunch to celebrate the season. “It was really jolly at Christmas time.” Coeyman mostly worked on the second floor in the sewing area where she sewed night gowns. She has fond memories of her days at the sewing factory.

These days, the Bernstein Sewing Factory building is occupied by DreamWrights Youth and Family Theatre, where many kids, like fifteen year old Cali Fife, fell in love with designing for the performing arts. Fife used to dance but she quickly realized that she loved the costumes more than the spotlight. She found her comfort zone creating costumes at DreamWrights, working in the second floor sewing area, exactly where her great-grandmother worked decades previously.

Cali Fife Bag
Cute bag created by Fife

Fife enjoys creating with fabric and has made many friends through her craft, just like her great-grandmother. She enjoys the collaborative nature of sewing and designing, and in fact, even has her own online shop called Cali Ann, where she creates cool scarves, clever pouches, cute bags, and even the occasional custom costume.

Although the space is much different than what she remembers, Coeyman is amazed at the transformation of the building from a sewing factory to a theatre space. “I love it! I think it is amazing!” And when asked what she thinks about her great-granddaughter sewing and creating, just like she herself did more than a half century ago, Coeyman sums it up simply, “That’s nice. She really loves it too.”