The Tony Award-winning musical, Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella, had a magical debut at The Lied Center for Performing Arts this past weekend. Nebraskans have the creators of South Pacific and The Sound of Music to thank for their delightful weekend full of musical tunes, articulate dancing and jaw-dropping costumes. Many of those are familiar with Disney’s Cinderella tale, but this contemporary performance gave a spin to showcasing how the creators imagined this happily ever after. With all the great aspects of Cinderella, the glass slipper, the charming prince and the masquerade ball, everyone got the chance to foster up magnificent memories from their childhood, leaving Nebraskans feeling nostalgic but wonderfully inspired as they exited the theatre.
Nebraska’s performing arts center employs a high standard of supporting the education and arts of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Located on UNL’s city campus, students have to opportunity to interact daily with the arts and attend events weekly with free tickets. With a long history of hosting the best of the best of national and international performing artists on their stage, the Lied has earned a reputation of being highly dedicated to entertaining and fostering education for the community of Nebraska. The Center largely emphasizes education of all students through the study of the arts and luckily for two UNL Textile, Merchandising and Fashion Design students, the opportunity arose to be connected to the artists of Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella.
With this unique education opportunity, an offer was made by the education outreach coordinator for the Lied Center to allow these two students a free ticket and twenty minutes after the show to have a Q&A with three members of the wardrobe department of the show. There must have been hundreds of pieces in this show, so being able to get a glimpse into the minds of the wardrobe department could have been a real treat. After questioning the department the students were also offered an exclusive backstage tour of the costumes. One garment in particular that would have been a dream to see up close was executed by the brilliant imagination of William Ivey Long. Cinderella’s servant dress was transformed right before the eyes of the audience into a twinkling, white ball gown. The act reminded me of the fiery dress transformation of Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, just with less fire and more spinning.
Without a doubt, this would have been the dream for upcoming student designers interested in history of costume, especially gowns in the 16th century. The performance overall was wonderfully entertaining and proved worthy for a night out on the town in Lincoln. If the show is coming to a college campus or town near you, find some friends or fashion students and go! Remember, wishes really do come true and you can be whoever you want to be, including a costume designer.