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home : columnists : columnists November 18, 2017

11/9/2017 4:00:00 AM
Costuming 'Guys & Dolls'
In Noblesville East Middle School’s “Guys & Dolls Jr.” fall musical, Miss Adelaide (Emma Howie) laments that she’s been engaged for 14 years to gambler Nathan Detroit (Ian McGrayel) as he tries to find cash to set up the biggest crap game in town while the authorities breathe down his neck. The show runs Friday-Sunday at Ivy Tech Community College.
In Noblesville East Middle School’s “Guys & Dolls Jr.” fall musical, Miss Adelaide (Emma Howie) laments that she’s been engaged for 14 years to gambler Nathan Detroit (Ian McGrayel) as he tries to find cash to set up the biggest crap game in town while the authorities breathe down his neck. The show runs Friday-Sunday at Ivy Tech Community College.
The Times photos by Betsy Reason
The Times photos by Betsy Reason

"Guys & Dolls Jr." Hot Box Girls sing during dress rehearsal for the Noblesville East Middle School fall musical, which runs Friday-Sunday at Ivy Tech Community College in Noblesville.

By Betsy Reason

I've been watching Noblesville East Middle School's "Guys & Dolls Jr." fall musical gradually come together.

This week is tech week for the show, which will be on stage this Friday-Sunday at Ivy Tech Community College in Noblesville.

While the crew has been busy creating the set, gathering props and assisting the 39-nine member cast backstage, it is another group of helpers who I want to offer my kudos.

It's the worker bees who create the costumes. And for any production, these folks are invaluable.

They search for costumes, make costumes and mend and alter costumes.

This year's show was easy to costume, I'm told -- much easier than NEMS's 2016 Disney's "Aladdin" -- because "Guys & Dolls Jr." costumes are all period clothing from the 1920s and 1930s.

For costume director Claire Hanrahan, the labor came in the form of shopping for suits, vests and jackets for boys, and for dresses, skirts and scarves for girls, and then lots of alterations. The only costumes sewn from scratch were tulle skirts for the Hot Box Girls performers. "It was a pretty nice and easy year, as far as making from scratch," she said.

At the beginning of rehearsals, Hanrahan sent out a costume list for each of the characters and a call-out for panama, boater and golf caps, and howlers and fedoras for boys, and '20s- and '30s-style dressy ladies hats, for girls.

"It's really mostly fun going to Goodwill (stores) and seeing what I can find," said Hanrahan, who talked to me this week after one of the four-hour rehearsals. She spent several hours of her spare time over the past 10 weeks in search of the perfect costumes for the cast.

"Guys & Dolls Jr." is her third show to handle costumes. "This year has gone a lot smoother than other years," said the 25-year-old, a NEMS eighth-grade science teacher, who participated in her high school drama department and in community theater growing up in Pleasant Plains, Ill. She and her mom always made her Halloween costume every year growing up. "I guess I enjoyed it more than I realize," said Hanrahan, who when the NEMS show needed a costumer, the veteran thespian eagerly stepped up when offered the position.

While cast members were responsible for providing their own character shoes, socks and undershirts, and slacks and other pieces, the school provided most of the costumes, either from its drama department costume shop or from shopping trips to Goodwill, paid out of school's show budget. "Right now, I'm only halfway through the budget," she said.

From trips to Goodwill, Hanrahan said, "It was mostly adult stuff that I had to alter, (particularly) lot of the suit jackets. There were zero child-size suit jackets."

She found a lot of women's suit jackets, and fortunately most of the cast playing the male gambler characters are actually female cast members. Of the male ensemble, only two are males.

Hanrahan had the most fun trying to make the gamblers costume "loud," pairing together mismatched pieces, such as floral ties, striped vests and checkered jackets in bright colors that make a statement.

"(For) Nathan Detroit's (Ian McGrayel) costume, it was interesting to find a jacket loud enough to be him."

"The real challenge this year has been alterations," Hanrahan said.

Noblesville's Moffett Craig -- who is grandmother of cast member Johnathan Baker, who plays Angie the Ox gambler -- not only provided some period hats but also boutonnieres from her family's downtown shop, Adriene's Flowers & Gifts, along with her seamstress abilities. Craig, who also sews alterations for show choir costumes, helped with the musical's costume alterations, along with volunteer Corinne Milburn, mom of cast members, Meredith and Morgan Milburn. The volunteer seamstresses were making alterations up until just moments before professional photos were taken on Saturday afternoon during a run-thru with full costumes, makeup and hair.

Hanrahan said he's pretty happy with all of the results. She said, "I'm really excited to see it all come together this weekend."

Showtimes are 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $5 for adults, $3 for students and are available online at https://nems-drama-club.ticketleap.com/guysanddollsjr/.

Also, happening this weekend, don't forget the Humane Society for Hamilton County is opening its new Trends for Trails Resale Boutique with a grand opening from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at 1109 S. 10th St., Noblesville. Visit www.hamiltonhumane.com/

Veterans Day activities, ceremonies and more are happening today through Saturday. Plus, Sheridan First Christian Church is having its annual chicken noodle dinner and cookie bazaar from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Saturday at the church, 107 W. Third St. Get your homemade cookies for $5 a pound.

And don't forget to pay your property taxes by Monday.

-Contact Betsy Reason at betsy@thetimes24-7.com.

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