Dear Playbill readers,
I write to you from deep within the preview process of my new show, Through the Night. This isn’t my first time going through this process, but I’m always blown away by the amount of work and thought that goes into mounting a show. The level of detail is mind-boggling, and I am working with a team who is deeply committed to getting these details right.
The past few days have been all about costuming. Now, Through the Night is a solo show. It’s just me up there. And I don’t have any costume changes. So when I say “costuming” I am talking about one, single costume.
Up until last week, I had been wearing a very light grey shirt and very light grey casual pants. It’s pretty simple stuff, and I thought it was working just fine. But my producer, Daryl Roth, is a woman of fine taste, and wanted it to feel a little dressier. Now, there are three things you need to know about Daryl for this story to make sense. First: Daryl is a very hands-on producer. Second: Daryl is also the producer of Love, Loss, and What I Wore, a show all about clothing. Third, and most important: she has great taste.
So, the next thing I know Daryl and Charles Randolph-Wright, our director, are taking a taxi to 5th Avenue to hit up every men’s store within a five-block radius in order to find me a few new wardrobe options. When they come back, shopping bags in tow, I have an all-new costume: dressier pants, still in light grey, and a sweater, also in light grey. Well, the pants were too long, but otherwise fit beautifully, so we shortened them. Then they were too short when I put my shoes on, so we had them lengthened again. Then the sweater sleeves were getting in my way, since I was used to a short-sleeve shirt, so we made some adjustments and ended up with a great costume that everyone seems happy with (especially me).
Well, I have to admit that I didn’t quite understand what all of this fussing over my costume was about, but I suppose if you are only going to have one costume in your show, you better make it right.
Finally, I got the chance to perform in my new, approved costume. When the show ended, an older woman, maybe in her mid-70’s, was waiting for me outside the stage door. As I approached her, I could see she had tears in her eyes. When she began to speak, she broke into sobs. “I saw everyone I have ever known on that stage,” she told me. It was clear from her reaction that we did something right. I don’t know how much my new costume affected her experience, but I do know that when theater works it’s because all the millions of tiny little details come together and create something magical. As this woman, through her tears, tried to articulate what the show meant to her, I was suddenly very grateful to be working with a group of people who care so passionately about my pants.