‘Aladdin’ costumes key piece of the show’s ‘Disney magic’; now playing at Proctors in Schenectady (with 13 photos)

"Aladdin" wardrobe supervisor Meredith Scott with the show's colorful costumes earlier this week at Proctors.

"Aladdin" wardrobe supervisor Meredith Scott with the show's colorful costumes earlier this week at Proctors.

SCHENECTADY — As one might expect, there’s plenty of magic in Disney’s “Aladdin.”

There’s a genie granting wishes and a magic carpet ride. But there’s also plenty of magic going on behind the scenes when it comes to the shimmering costumes.

For one scene alone, there are 38 costume changes in under a minute. In another scene, the villain’s entire costume is transformed onstage.

“It’s called Disney magic, just like with the carpet and just like with Jafar’s demise, I can’t tell you [how],” said Meredith Scott, wardrobe supervisor for the show. “Disney is very, very good at the simple but effective trick.”

She first started working on “Aladdin” during another tour of the production four years ago, managing the large swath of 200-plus glittering and crystal-packed costumes. Scott noted that each iteration of the show has a few looks that are only seen in that show.

“There are costumes for this production that don’t exist anywhere else, which I think is really cool,” Scott said.

The costumes for the Broadway musical, which opened in 2014, were designed by Tony Award-winning designer Gregg Barnes. The hand-made costumes feature thousands of fabrics and trims from Morocco, Turkey, India, Uzbekistan, China, Tahiti, Japan, Guatemala and Mexico, among others.

For the current North American tour, which held technical rehearsals at Proctors earlier this fall, the set and other aspects of the show have been reimagined to fit more venues across the country and to streamline the production. The costumes were also reconsidered.

Scott met with Barnes over Zoom to discuss what worked and what didn’t about the costumes on the first national tour and what they could change on this one.

The costumes (13 photos)[masterslider id=”43″]

“I’ve never had that happen before where a designer [cares] about the person dealing with it on the road, which I thought was really great. [It] means Disney’s very invested in making sure that things continue to look nice, and they have the longevity,” Scott said.

“Everything is built, number one, to be a spectacle, but also to last and also to help tell the story. As cheesy as that sounds, it’s very true. They did so much research, especially with all the different fabrics and patterns and how they correspond with the set,” she noted.

There are 236 costumes in the show, most of which call to mind terms like opulent and sparkling, though those only scratch the surface.

One costume, featured in the popular “Friend Like Me” scene, has 8,644 crystal rhinestones.

Princess Jasmine’s wedding dress weighs a whopping 18 pounds because of all the beading. Her quintessential teal-colored outfit is nearly as glittering, with beading all down the side of the pants and a hand-beaded top.

“It’s so beautiful, even with some of the reimagined things to help make it easier to tour, none of the production value has been lost whatsoever. It’s still spectacular,” Scott said.

Beyond the clothing, the costumes include sparkling headpieces, which are changed out between just about every scene. There are also 77 pairs of custom-made LaDuca shoes in the show.

The costumes require constant care, repair and customization, especially during technical rehearsals.

“I have two stitchers working upstairs right now and that’s all they’ve been doing for all of tech is just stitching and doing alterations and repairs and projects for 12 hours a day for the last three weeks because things come from the costume shops basically done, but then we still have to do some rigging and things like that, that make things easier for us,” Scott said.

That includes sewing in small magnets to various costumes so that stay in place on stage but are easier to change out of during and in between scenes.

Scott said holding technical rehearsals at Proctors, followed by a week of previews and then another of shows has given the cast and crew a chance to set up well for the rest of the tour.

“Normally, we would just do a week of previews like we did here and then they would move. But it’s so nice that they have this additional week of shows to really solidify it in their minds and get a bunch of extra projects done before they have to make that first jump. It just sets them up for success,” Scott said.

“Aladdin” will be at Proctors until Sunday before heading on to Erie, Pennsylvania.

Facts and figures behind the magic:

  • There are 236 costumes in the show.
  • There are 77 pairs of custom-made shoes in the show.
  • During one performance, 38 costume changes take place in under one minute.
  • There are 8,644 crystal rhinestones on each gold finale costume in “Friend Like Me.”
  • 205 people in 18 different shops worked on the construction of the costumes.
  • There are 2,039 fabrics and trims from Morocco, Turkey, India, Uzbekistan, China, Tahiti, Japan, Guatemala, Mexico, France, Italy, England and Germany.

Disney’s “Aladdin”

WHEN: 1:30 p.m. and 8 p.m. Thursday, 8 p.m. Friday, 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday
WHERE: Proctors
TICKETS: $35-130


Categories: Entertainment, Life and Arts, Life and Arts, Schenectady

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