This year, costume designer William Ivey Long racked up his 16th and 17th Tony Award nominations for Tootsie and Beetlejuice.
Both adaptations of 1980s films, the similarities between the two begin and end there. “Tootsie is an honest and true parable for today. Talk about diving in to the deep end of a socially complicated issue,” he says in the video above. “Beetlejuice is a fantasia on ghoulish behavior and family values.”
And his designs reflect those opposite ends of the spectrum. Long grounds Tootsie in 2019, and then dives into some fun (and technical) design creating a double look for Santino Fontana’s Michael Dorsey and Dorothy Michaels. His designs must combine flash with function as Fontana continuously quick-changes between his two onstage personae. Long also does double duty, costuming the world of Tootsie and the world of the musical-within-the-musical, Juliet’s Curse.
With Beetlejuice, Long riffs on the “show about death,” creating everything from the instantly recognizable striped suit for the titular demon to skeleton suits for the spooky ensemble to gloom-and-doom chic for Lydia and a softer-side-of-Sears style for the Maitlands.
Long talks about the two distinct styles and how he got his start in theatre at a young age in the video above.