Costume customizers calling out to public for help with play production

Dave Mathieson
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Showcase Productions Society needs more early 20th century clothes

Carol Mackay (left) and Dorothy Fitzgerald proudly show many of the dresses they will be working on for My Fair Lady, which hits the stage in April.

AMHERST – Producing a play with a few cast members is one thing, producing a play with 35 cast members is all together different.

When each of those cast members makes upwards of five costume changes during the play, costume designers can be very hectic.

Costume designers Carol Mackay and Dorothy Fitzgerald have a very hectic schedule as they prepare costumes for the Showcase Production Societies staging of My Fair Lady, which will be staged in April at the Susan Taylor Theatre at Amherst Regional High School.

“It’s a tremendously big job fitting costumes for all the characters,” said wardrobe mistress Carol Mackay. “We need to look at every detail because the show has become so familiar with everyone, especially those who grew up loving the story and the songs.”

Mackay, along with Dorothy Fitzgerald, have been friends since they were two-years-old and have worked together in costume design for 20 years.

“I can rip things apart but I can’t sew,” said Mackay with a laugh. “Dorothy is the seamstress.”

“Carol is the expert at getting the time period right and knowing what works and what doesn’t,” added Fitzgerald.

They’ve learned to trust each other’s judgment over the last 20 years.

“We feed off each other,” said Fitzgerald.

They’ve been working on costumes for My Fair Lady since the beginning of January.

I start at 2 p.m. and go until about 10 p.m.,” said Fitzgerald. “But I stop for supper, so I go for about five hours a day.”

To get the time period just right they often need to make major customizations to many of the clothes they have in their studio, which means they need more clothes.

“The residents of Amherst and the county have been very good to us”, said Mackay.  “Every time someone is cleaning out a closet or an attic we get a call or a delivery.”

They hope people continue with their generosity.

They need clothes from the early 20th century, including hats, gloves, and Tuxedo’s.

“Men’s black tuxedo’s are hard to find,” said Fitzgerald.

If anyone can provide assistance or would like to volunteer with the play, they can call Showcase Productions Society at 667-1900.

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