Thursday, 9 August 2012

Back Stage at The London Palladium

I was very excited to be invited back stage at the London Palladium this week to take a look at the marvellous costumes designed for the cast of The Wizard of Oz.

I was enthralled to have a privileged visit to the exclusive dressing  room shared by the chorus cast of Emerald City and some of the Munchkins.

The dressing room was classic and quite compact with each performer having their own work space in front of their own light bulb surrounded mirror.

The beautiful costumes were neatly hung on rails in order, ready for donning before each show. Every emerald city outfit was unique to the other, cleverly designed and worn with bejewelled headdresses and spangled shoes.

The Munchkin clothes were all in various shades and patterns of the same blue with fascinating details like floral fabric covered buttons and lace cuffs.

In the wig department I met the talented ladies who spend hours each day preparing the many wigs that are used during each performance. The witch alone has 4 different wigs and each one takes quite a bashing during the show when she is up on her broomstick or wearing a hat. The wigs are painstakingly re-curled and styled to look pristine once again for the audiences.

The back stage crew were carrying out their daily check of the revolving stage and backdrops. There are a huge amount of stage movements in this show and the stage splits and slides smoothly and silently each time. The yellow brick road moves quite quickly and the stage is quite immense close up.

It was wonderful to see the scenery up close, Dorothy’s cabin, the poppy fields and the yellow brick road in particular. The props were great too and all strategically placed in readiness for the show.

The costume department was of particular interest to me of course and it was great to see the activity in a professionally run costume department. The washing machines were on, and the on going repairs that are necessary on a daily basis were all underway in readiness for the next show, ensuring that the costumes always look magnificent.

All the costumes are stunning and I was delighted to see Dorothy’s dress and the scarecrow. My particular favourite was one of the red guard coats which are quilted and heavy and can get extremely hot under the lights.

The London Palladium is a lovely theatre and is quite different when empty when you can see the dusky pink seating and ornate balconies.

The costumes are soon to be packed up and sent to Canada where The Wizard of Oz will be appearing next. The Wizard of Oz is only showing here in London for a few more weeks, so do book some tickets – it’s a fabulous show.

A big thank you to the cast of the London Palladium for my backstage tour – it was wonderful.

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