It's almost Tonys Weekend!!
As I’m getting more and more hyped for this year's Tonys, I’ve been going down the rabibit hole of Youtube a bit, excitedly searching for show clips for the musicals.
I stumbled across the Tootsie show clips, and in particular, they had posted the Curtain Call.
So I watched, and out comes Santino Fontana as Michael Dorsey, and my first reaction is…
...he doesn’t come out as Dorothy in the curtain call????
But then he suddenly disappears down a trap as the rest of the cast keeps dancing and I go..
He's gonna have a quick change.
And then n what feels like TEN SECONDS, arising from the same trap is Dorothy!!!
I scream out,
“THE MAGIC OF THEATRE IS SOOOO GOOD!”
It wasn't ten seconds but that's the magic! It FELT like it.
So here we had a guy in button down shirt, jacket, jeans, shoes do a FULL CHANGE of WIG, MAKEUP, DRESS AND SHOES seemingly instantaneously
So I finished watching it and, of course, went back to study it like a Zapruder film.
If you want to watch the video, it’s here.
At around 1:22, he goes down the trap.
And at around 1:55 he comes back up the trap...as Dorothy!
So 33 seconds to do all THAT.
Now, I’m counting it as 1:55, even though it could be even a bit shorter because he needs to be set on the trap and the trap needs to be cleared of the changers.
So, let’s call it an even 30 seconds.
Quick changes are, like auditioning, both and art form and a science.
But most of all, quick changes are a dance.
A well choreographed, step by step, moment by moment dance.
There may be 5 or 6 or even more people helping the performer get changed.
There is a specific order in which things get done and one does not go on to the next step before the first step is done.
Clothes are rigged to come off and on in a flash. No buttons thank you very much.
There’s usually one person/team for clothes, one for make up, one for shoes, and one for wigs.
Someone usually has a small flashlight in their mouth.
Sometimes, everyone :)
Costume changes are REHEARSED just like dance numbers.
I remember when I played Molly Brown in the National Tour of the Unsinkable Molly Brown - I had more quick changes than I can count. One was a full wig and make up change in 11 seconds.
It takes a village.
It's actually very similar to a pit crew at a NASCAR race.
Changing tires and gassing up in mere seconds - every team member has their role and their timing.
And when I think of racing tires and Broadway, I think of Starlight Express :)
To celebrate these amazing feats of theatrical magic, here are some more of my favorite quick changes - each video is only around 2 minutes:
- Beautiful the Musical - Note the first one is full wig, jewelry and costume in 17 seconds! Ugh, I die at the mastery.
- A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder - DO YOU SEE THE ENTIRE SUIT THEY SLIP ON HIM??? Shirt, tie, vest, jacket, overcoat??? Dead. In under 30 seconds.
- Kelli O’Hara in the King and I at the Tonys - I love this one the most because of the split screen, the LAYERS she calmly takes off, and the fact that this is NOT A NORMAL COSTUME CHANGE IN THE SHOW. Meaning they had to practice it for JUST this moment. Count the number of people helping her. Just breathtaking.
And for the actors reading this, note how LITTLE time they have to "get into character" before they go on again. It's instantaneous!
I wonder if we’ll see any quick changes on this year’s Tonys! Only 3 days till we find out!
Shall we dance,
PS - if you haven’t yet clicked on “get notifications” on our Facebook Page, you may miss out on some of the best Tonys commentary you’ll read. I’ll be liveblogging this Sunday :) Do we have a date?