Stitching together the musical

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Patrick Broderick, senior and costumes co-captain, work to add a piece of fabric to a hat.

julia kuhn, bear facts features writer

Every day after school, one sophomore spends long hours toiling in the dark basement of the PAC, sewing, pinning, measuring, and designing. Her hard work will come alive under the bright lights of LZHS productions like The Drowsy Chaperone this spring.

“We definitely put in a lot of work. I am normally working everyday after school until 5:30pm, but closer to the show I stay until 6:30pm,” Hannah Spoerlein, sophomore and co-captain of costumes, said. “During tech week I’m there until8pmor until we get everything done. There are a lot of late nights in costumes.”

According to Spoerlein, there are about 15 to 20 people in costumes for the upcoming spring musical, The Drowsy Chaperone, all with different responsibilities. As a co-captain, she has more responsibility to handle.

“I make sure everything gets done on time, take notes on what we need, and figure out what needs to be done. The captain and co-captains are assigned at the beginning of a show. The positions are based on experience and how well you work with others,” Spoerlein said. “When I was named co-captain, I was very excited and also nervous at first. It’s a big job, but I know I’m up for it. I hope I can do my best at it.”

Spoerlein is only a sophomore, but she has a lot of experience in costumes.

“This is my fifth show on costumes. I’ve worked on Alice in Wonderland, Sound of Music, Our Town, Suessical Jr., and now Drowsy Chaperone,” Spoerlein said. “My favorite show was Suessical because in elementary school I was in a production of Suessical, and I have a lot of great memories with that show.”

In the weeks and months before show-time, Spoerlein and the costume crew focuses on what needs to be done to create the costumes for the show.

“For the costumes, we sometimes rent them from other production companies like Marriot Lincolnshire or other schools. We also rely on thrift stores like Goodwill and Savers to buy clothes and then alter them for the show,” Spoerlein said. “We also get patterns and fabrics from JoAnn Fabrics if we make the costumes.”

Even once the costumes are made, the costumes crew still has jobs that must be done. One such job is quick changer, who helps actors change quickly in between scenes. Spoerlein first experienced the stress of this job in The Sound of Music last year.

“The most challenging show for me, personally, was The Sound of Music, because it was the first time I was a quick changer,” Spoerlein said. “I was assigned the three oldest Von Trapp girls, so when they came off stage I had to help them all change really quickly before they went back on. There was a lot of high stress situations, but over time I’ve gotten used to it.”

As Spoerlein says, after multiple shows working on costumes, she knows what to expect. But there are still unpredictable moments that can happen backstage.

“For Suessical, I was the quick changer for the Cat in the Hat. I have asthma, so we have a rule that no one can spray Axe [cologne] on their costumes, but he did. When I was helping him change, I had an asthma attack backstage,” Spoerlein said. “But still I quick changed him three more times, because, you know, the show must go on. Well, after the show he gave me three bags of candy to apologize, and I was ok. There are definitely unexpected moments working on the shows that you would never see if you are only in the audience.”

Spoerlein was first interested in performing in productions at LZHS, but after auditioning multiple times to no avail, she got involved in costumes and never looked back.

“I first auditioned for the play last year when I was a freshman, and also for Alice in Wonderland. I didn’t make the cast, but I still wanted to be involved in the show, so I wanted to try costume crew,” Spoerlein said. “I fell in love with it. I love the people, the clothes, and we just have so much fun. I love working with everyone and it’s great getting to hang out with each other everyday after school doing what we love to do.”

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