The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, which is currently offering the exhibit In the Company of Harold Prince: Broadway Producer, Director, Collaborator, will celebrate the late, two-time Tony-winning costume designer Willa Kim this spring.
The Wondrous Willa Kim: Costume Designs for Actors and Dancers, which will be on exhibit May 20–October 10, will spotlight the career of Kim, who won Tonys for her costume designs for The Will Rogers Follies and Sophisticated Ladies.
Attendees can expect to view some of Kim's designs along with select costumes, most of which were made in New York-based costume houses. The exhibit will also include photographs and video clips from the Libraryʼs collections.
Regarded as one of the foremost designers for dance—with nearly 200 dance and ballet productions to her credit—Kim introduced the use of synthetic stretch fabrics and related dyeing techniques into costume design, innovations which remain influential today. Kim would not design costumes for actors or dancers without first watching the movements of the artists in rehearsals, so that her costumes both fit and moved in syncopation with their bodies.
Kim was also Tony-nominated for her costume designs for Goodtime Charley, Dancin’, Song and Dance, and Legs Diamond. Her final Broadway design credit was the 1995 musical adaptation of Victor/Victoria, starring Oscar winner Julie Andrews.
Curator Bobbi Owen will host an examination of the costumes on display in a conversation set for June 4.
The Library will also offer a plethora of theatre-related events in the coming months, including You Must Believe in Spring: Melissa Errico Presents Michel Legrand (March 12); The Musicals of Michael Friedman, featuring panelists Steve Cosson, Trip Cullman, Daniel Goldstein, and Alex Timbers with moderator Sarah Larson (March 25); Everything Was Possible: A Follies Celebration with Ted Chapin (March 26); Can & Able! The Resilience of the Gift, which brings together several differently-abled Black artists for an evening of new, multidisciplinary micro-commissions (April 13); the League of Professional Theatre Women: Oral History Project (May 4); and With Love, Tennessee: The Letters of Tennessee Williams and Cheryl Crawford (June 1).