There are lots of jobs behind the scenes of Fresno Grand Opera’s “Les Miserables,” which is barreling toward its Jan. 17 opening at the Saroyan Theatre. As costumer, Maribel Sorensen has one of the most complicated. Let’s check in with guest Beehive blogger Valerie Salcedo to get the inside story.
Valerie: With a show as big as “Les Miserables,” there are a ton of costumes involved.
When I entered rehearsal the other day, I could not believe how many costumes I saw. I don’t believe I’ve ever seen this many costumes for a single show. Not only do we all have so many costumes but each costume has so many layers and pieces to it. I sat down with Maribel Sorensen who is our head costumer to get the scoop on exactly how much work a production like this can take.
Question: When did you start working in the costume department for Fresno Grand Opera?
I’ve been costuming for thirteen years. I began working with Fresno Grand Opera eight years ago.
How many costumes are there total for this production?
There are 230 complete costumes in this show.
Pictured: Andrew Varela as Javert in a Fresno Bee photo shoot by John Walker.
Where are these costumes from?
The costumes are from Kansas City.
How many hours a day are you working on costumes?
Since costumes arrived late I am pulling 12 hours a day. It’s a monumental task just to get everyone fitted. We haven’t even finished doing the mic pack fittings. We have to consider the extra bulk and placement of the mic packs. This is the first show Fresno Grand Opera has ever done where every single person has a microphone attached to them.
How many people are in the costume crew?
There are 3 people on my crew plus me. I get union wardrobe at the theater too. There are so many changes in the show that it still might not be enough help. We also have to accessorize people with jewelry, shoes, hats, gloves and specific socks. Each costume has at least 5 or more pieces to them. The performers will have to step up and help each other zip up dresses and tying aprons.
Who has the most difficult costume to put on? Which character?
So far Shawna Hamic’s (Madame Thenardier) wedding scene costume is the most difficult. There are just so many pieces to it. And she has a gigantic hoop!
Any interesting facts about costumes? How much sewing is going on? Anything you would like to add?
These costumes go through time period changes. In this show, many years go by and it’s mostly reflected in the upper class characters. We also have so many quick changes that we have to layer some costumes based on order of appearance on stage. The worst part for me is having to inventory each piece coming in. It’s not always fun recollecting costumes at the end of the show when they are “not so fresh” and count them all over again.
PREVIOUSLY ON THE BEEHIVE
14 Days More: Meet our guest bloggers
13 Days More: Meet Enjolras
12 Days More: Anatomy of a rehearsal in photos
11 Days More: What do cast members think of the movie version?