Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Hot picks: Wiz costumes

TribLIVE: 'burgh gets first peek

The costumes that brightened the NBC television broadcast of “The Wiz Live” last year will be on display starting Sept. 23 at the August Wilson Center, Downtown.

11 comments:

Jason Cohen said...

I really want to see this exhibit so freaking badly! The costumes for the “Wiz Live!” really took costuming characters to what I would consider to be the next level. I say this because not only did these costumes read extremely well during the live tv broadcast, but they were truly a work of art. The way the designer explored color within the elements of design was just incredible. Some of the garments I would even go as far to say that they were sculptural. To take this to the next level the clothes really reflected the characters in the story that wore them. Just look at the Wiz’s costume for example. She looked so sharp, put together and strong which is exactly who that character is. And also the Evaline’s dress made of zippers is genius. Also, the performers looked drop dead gorgeous in the costumes (which is always good)!

Michelle Li said...

I am in such utter awe of the work that Paul has produced for The Wiz. I'm still struggling to pick my jaw up from the hole in the floor that it just made. His work is just on another level-- the amount of detail and finesse that not only the real costumes have but the renderings as well is so admirable. I hope to one day be as good of an artist and designer as he is. This sort of work is EXACTLY the kind of costumes I want to be designing -- otherworldly, grand and lavish. To be able to flex the imagination and surpass the boundaries of ordinary life. Geez! I don't really know what to say but that I strive to be as great as him. I'm quite jealous that the costume majors went to meet him at the exhibition and were able to view it! I am really planning on going to see the exhibition downtown. What a wonderful display of sheer idea and talent....there's so much still to learn! Wow. Just...wow.

Delaney Johnson said...

From the moment that Susan announced this exhibit to our Basic Design class I have been intrigued and chomping at the bit to see these costumes! The pictures alone create awe in my mind as I wonder at the intricate detail work and overwhelming grandeur of the work. These pieces are more than clothe. They are works of art. I feel that is how all theatre design should be. All aspects of design should include form and function, but if we were only to focus on the form we would be no more then furniture makers or clothing manufacturers. Behind every thread stitch and every nail and every paint color and every lighting or sound cue there should be a vast network of thought and design. It is this worth ethic that created artist and individuals who don't just work for a show, but help to build it. This is who I want to be as a theatre artist. The Wiz is lucky to have a costume designer with his heart in the work and his mind in the construction. I too hope to see this amazing exhibit in the future.

evan Schild said...

Every year I get so excited to see the live tv musicals. The wiz was one of my favorites to watch. The costumes I think were one of the best parts I have to say. When Susan announced to our design class that she was working on the exhibit I got very excited. I was so intrigued on the whole process and I have so many questions I want to ask her. The costumes it self were extremely stunning to look at. The big thing I kept seeing is that it is coming to broadway! I really hope they keep the costume designs for the show. I know in tv they have more money to spend on things so I hope with the transfer they are able to keep the original design and they don't make a a lesser version of it because of money. I can't wait to see the exhibit and than see the show on broadway!

Benjamin King said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Benjamin King said...

I remember watching “The Wiz Live!” and being impressed overall, however I was amazed by the costumes. I didn’t know who did the costumes then but I immediately after the show looked up and saw that it was Paul Tazewell. I knew I recognized the name but I didn’t remember exactly what he had done. I then researched him and it came back to me that he was the costume designer for “Hamilton” and was a former professor here. There’s many wonderful things about this exhibit being in Pittsburgh. It shows that people that interact with Pittsburgh for a little, end up caring for a while. I saw on Facebook a photo of the costume department here at school with him at the exhibit. What an absolutely wonderful thing to do. The exhibit shows how those who have a history with CMU are willing to carry that tradition foreword even though they have moved on. Finally, it is just so awesome to have these costumes stop in Pittsburgh before they head to Broadway, specifically at the August Wilson Center. It all just feels so right.

Claire Krueger said...

I already knew about the open show and its on my TO-DO list but when I was scrolling looking for another article to read I saw the purple ensemble and knew what the article was about before I even read the headline.
In the article Tazewell says,
“I am so excited that people will have the rare opportunity to see my work in person at this exhibit, where they will see the fine craftsmanship and detail of these beautiful costumes up close.”
Man oh man does he mean it. I have seen a poster announcing the exhibit with a side view of one single costume and that one shoulder of fabric I saw made me want to cry it was absolutely stunning on a printed poster, a medium which rarely can capture thee beauty of a costume adequately. After seeing that poster I absolutely must go see the exhibit, this article only adds to my haste.

Natalia Kian said...

Normally, I find myself put off by costumes whose greatest achievement is their "wow factor." That is not the case now - Tazewell's designs exceed the meaning of "wow factor" as a whole. What could have easily been made distracting, loud, and, and excessive are instead perfectly crafted works of art which complement their respective characters and actors so precisely it is mystifying. With such big, grand designs, the pieces at hand could have easily ended up wearing their actors - rather than allowing their actors to wear them. What I believe prevents this from happening is the monochrome, subtly understated color choice. By assigning one specific color to each character, and choosing colors which in a smaller amount might even be considered muted, the structure of the design is balanced so as not to overpower the human being inside. More so, one gets a greater sense of the specific character they are meant to represent, allowing the audience to view the actor and the costume at once rather than having to shift focus between the two. I am dully awed by such careful craftsmanship not only of clothing but of concept, and hope to get up close and personal with these costumes as soon as I possibly can. No surprise, Tazewell has done it again.

Ruth Pace said...

The idea of costumes on display has challenged me in the past, as I feel I have such a need to see these pieces in performance to correctly perceive them. This being said, I feel that even though I can't see these pieces in action, I'd still be able to appreciate the amazing craftsmanship and artistry that goes into costumes of this merit. Simply seeing a few of the photos floating around the internet is enough for me to begin to appreciate all that I know went into these costumes.
In addition to the sheer existence of these masterworks, the fact that this exhibition is coming to the August Wilson center is significant. The Hill District, and greater Pittsburgh, is in the process of establishing itself as a cultural hub, as another article this week points out. Exhibitions like these play a role in helping cement the artistic brand of this city, one I am very glad to be a part of.

Tahirah Agbamuche said...

A fellow costume designer and I in my class squealed when we found out the Wiz Live! Costumes were arriving in Pittsburgh, and only Pittsburgh! How blessed are we...I recall viewing the production at home and being so entranced by the work of performers, designers, and directors alike, but the costumes left me breathless. I particularly adore Glinda’s masterpiece of fiber optic-cloud of fairy dust...I can’t put into words how excited I am to see Paul Tazwell’s work in person, there’s so much color, and texture, and character to his designs.

Jake Poser said...

I, like Natalia, usually have problems with costumes built for their "wow factor." Most shows on Broadway now cater to the uneducated theatergoer who enjoys the spectacle. Though sometimes the spectacle works, I find it more important to cater to the story being told on stage, and not the audience in the house. On the other hand, I am not the producer looking to make a profit. I digress... These costumes designed by Paul Tazewell are truly beautiful and I am excited to get up close and personal with them when I visit the exhibit, however, after having seen the production of The Wiz Live I understand that these costumes were some of the only spectacular parts. This live television musical was exactly that, a live filmed musical. However, it lacked an audience which made it seem more boring than I know the show to be. As it makes it's transition to the Broadway I am eager to see it revamped and in front of the audience. I am hoping people in the seats will give the performance the little boost of energy it definitely needed while being filmed. I also hope that as the production makes the transition the Cirque aspects of the production are given a more highlighted role as I feel it would really up the production value. I'm eager to see a Tazewell and McLane costume/scenic collaboration on stage. I sense some Tony's coming their way... How cool.. To win an Emmy and Tony for the same design. It'd be a first!

CMU School of Drama