Singin' in the.... costumes!

Monday, June 25TH 2018

WELL HELLO THERE!The sun is beaming today, but we’re still dreaming about rain! Welcome back to the Sound Ideas backstage notes blog. This week we’re taking a look at our costume design for our upcoming production of Singin’ in the Rain at Norwich Playhouse!

Here at Sound Ideas we take great pleasure in our lavish and detailed production designs that we adopt for each of our full-scale musicals. This show is no exception and will feature a completely bespoke wardrobe! Today, Designer and Director, Dan Smith talks us through some of his favourite items and how we’re preparing for the daily thunderstorm on stage!


How authentic are the costumes in Singin’ in the Rain?

The funny thing about Singin’ in the Rain is that in many ways, it has shaped our perceptions of 1920s fashion. We see the decade as the roaring 20s, known for its ornate jewellery, vividly-coloured flapper dresses and gentlemanly styles, which doesn’t necessarily reflect reality. Walter Plunkett’s original designs prove that a costume designer really does have the power to influence pop culture for decades to come.

I’ve taken on this approach in my designs, taking the vivid-clours and exaggerated silhouettes to create the idea of the roaring 20s. The show features classic ‘20s styles, like dropped waist and flapper dresses, pleated skirts, geometric patterns, knitted jumpers, fur collars and high-waisted trousers.

Surely it’s all going to get ruined in the rain!?

Well yes, there are around 30 costumes that will get drenched every single show, but we’re pretty prepared for that! The hardest sequence in the show is actually the finale, a cast of 20 sing the title number in a downpour of rain wearing waistcoats, flat fronted trousers, dress shirts, bow ties and hats! I’m making duplicates of each of the hats, because they wont take heat well – but the waistcoats and trousers purposefully don’t have interfacing in them so they can be tumble dried!


What’s the biggest challenge?

There’s almost 150 costumes in this show and there isn’t really anywhere where it’s possible to make things simpler – and besides, I love a challenge! The Broadway Ballet is a particular tricky section as the stage has to explode with colour and costumes still have to be easy to move in. I’m making an 8-piece rainbow set of exaggerated fringed shift dresses for each of the girls, married with colour matched waistcoats for the boys. It’s a lot of work, but boy do they swish!

What’s your favourite piece in the show?

I’ve really loved making Lina’s costumes. She has around 8 or 9 changes and in true movie star style, she can never wear the same thing twice! I’ve made a couple of really heavily encrusted evening dresses that scream elegance – but you’ll have to buy a ticket to see those ones!

You can see

Singin’ in the Rain
Norwich Playhouse

August 22nd-25th, nightly at 7:30pm
September 23rd, 25th and 26th: 2:30pm