A Day in a Life of a Costume Mum


I find it interesting, as I study the deep and meaningful sides of life, that I will often ‘channel’ my mother these days.

Of course I wouldn’t tell her that because she is dynamite already and knowing that many of my successes are due to my “channeling” will just reinforce her knowledge that while we don’t say it often enough, we do think she is pretty terrific!

So when I was asked to “do the costumes” for the school musical, I didn’t blink an eye….but then I was given the script, written by Flossy’s English teacher who, as you could imagine, has a true gift for words, imagination, embellishment, and extravagance!

Sitting with my note pad, I started to notate costumes and props for the show - 18 songs from 18 different Broadway - linked through an old world Hat and Alterations shop - cast of characters stopped in to pick up their hat - sing their song and then return to “their world”…phew!

I realized that if we were going to do this, that we would just have to go the whole way! ie. everyone would need a hat!(channeling Karenne here).

Plus if this was only going to be performed once (twice actually) then we would have to follow the motto of Do it once and Do it well. ie. surround my self with great people… (channeling Papa here).

Navigating the costume cupboard was our first challenge…I had a team of girls willing to go “costume diving” in what could only be described as an extravagant pile of outfits, hats, shoes, and jackets, from Great Aunt Merle and Grandma Flo!

Then I did the smart thing and bribed all my art girls with cakes from Martines Fine Bake Shoppe and in return they got to spend quality time together creating fabulous and outlandish hats.

NYC Metro Girls

A few more afternoons of quality sewing and hat making on my part with Max ‘helping’ and we were good to go.


Rehearsals every afternoon with a couple of weekends thrown into the mix, ensured a unified cast.


Of course there would have been no show if we hadn’t surrounded ourselves with some equally as talented people capable of creating magical sets, designing and managing the lights and sounds…

unified cast

Watching faculty and student working side by side was a delight.

behindscenes Hearing the students comment that it was “awesome” to be sitting on the floor painting with their teacher, brought home to me the special bond these girls have with their teachers and indeed with each other.IMG_3372

Hats – check
Costumes – check
Sets – check
Cast photo - check


We took over the math teacher’s classroom as only 25 teenage girls can and amazingly we only lost one hat in the whole show!

We did each other’s hair and we signed the official cast poster.


We were ready!

Aunt Evelyn and niece Sarah set the place and time. IMG_3418

What was to follow was a wonderful, colorful, musical, comical, serious, divine, uplifting experience.

We were transported back to places in time through the magical solo’s -


We roared with delight at the song and toe tapping tap dance of the Millie Ensemble -

…how cool are those cloches!

The Showboat Ensemble looked like they could have been on a paddle steamer traveling down the Mississippi River -

But while it is true that every single performer stole the show, Glinda and Elphaba stole my heart.

Flossy and Catherine were magnificent. The joy they shared performing this piece was evident. Lighting crew ensured a very green finale and this one mum had a very proud mum moment.

But what would it be, if it were not for our friends to celebrate this wonderful moment in the (green) spotlight. Flossy was surrounded by school friends, her long time (and magnificently talented in her own right) friend Jess and of course the beautiful Little Red, and her friend. Little Red was in awe of the entire event and thrilled to take home a hat from the show (they were lucky to know someone in high places!)

Yet when it is all said and done.
When the bobby pins and hair nets are put away for another year. When the classroom is put back into some semblance of order.
When the costume mosh pit has a few more boxes and bags added.
There were really only three little words that said it all to this costume mum -

Thanks Mrs McClelland.

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