Tony Walton

Celebrating Tony Walton!

I’ve recently read a wonderful book about the amazing stage and film designer (of both costumes and sets), stage director, and illustrator Tony Walton, and I wanted to share both the book and some thoughts about a few of his design projects with you. Title: The Designs of Tony Walton Author: Delbert Unruh   Publisher: Syracuse, NY: USITT (United States Institute for Theatre Technology), 2012.

A Costume Post for Halloween

How do you dress a mouse? Well, if the mouse isn’t a real one, that’s actually not difficult. Personally, I wouldn’t want to try dressing a real one. What is a trickier question is how do you dress a person to look like a mouse? Tony Walton faces just such a challenge in doing the costume design for the upcoming musical production The Great American Mousical. Fortunately, Tony has imagination and creativity beyond that of most people. He has decades of experience in costume design and set design. (The sets for Mousical will be tricky, too, with the changes in perspective between mouse and people theatre, and between mouse theatre and various locations in New York City.) I can’t help wondering what he’ll do with the costumes. Will the mice have ears and tails, or will the audience simply have to imagine they do? If they do, how will that be achieved? When speaking of mice, I almost hate to mention another production that involved animals, but in Cats, the actors were fabulously fantastically feline. I suspect the actors also spent a very long time having their makeup applied prior to every performance. Will Tony go that route? As you can see from the photos on my post about Stages Theatre Company’s production of Llama Llama Red Pajama, they went a fairly low-tech route in creating their llamas, but one still knew they were llamas! Masks, or headdresses and facepainting, a la The Lion King on Broadway, are also possibilities. ~~ I hope everyone in the cast and crew of Mousical is safe, and that they are able to get back to work doing what they love to do. ~~ If you were designing costumes for this production, how would you achieve mousehood?     TICKET INFORMATION:   All being well,  The Great American Mousical will be on stage at the Norma Terris Theatre, Chester, Connecticut, from November 8 to December 2, 2012. Tickets may be purchased by phoning the Box Office, 1-860-873-8668. THIS IS THE LAST POST BEFORE THE GIVEAWAY: As with all the Wednesday Mousical posts this month, any comment on this post will be entered into a random draw to be held November 7th for one of three copies of Julie’s and Emma’s middle grade novel The Great American Mousical. (Full disclosure: these are remaindered copies, and have a small mark on the lower edge of the pages, which doesn’t interfere with readability at all. They are hardcover copies.)

Waiting in the Wings — From Children’s Books to Musicals

Many successful children’s books have received a new life as stage musicals. Peter Pan has been soaring across stages on Broadway and beyond since Mary Martin first enticed Wendy and her brothers to Never Never Land. Mary Poppins began as a movie musical, written by the Sherman brothers, but has found a happy home on the stage as well. I suspect it will stay on the stage somewhere for a very long time… at least until the wind changes, and then it will be off to grace another stage and other hearts. Anne of Green Gables just closed its 48th season at the Charlottetown Festival, and is a staple on stages across Canada and elsewhere. Even picture books can become stage musicals, as Jennifer Kirkeby told us in this post about Llama, Llama, Red Pajama. There are, of course, many more. Another children’s book is about to join the ranks of these musicals, with opening night on November 8th, 2012. I’ve been teasing you about what it might be during September. Click the magic words to find out what it is…

Tony Walton — Wednesday Worthy

In our society, some actor’s names are household words. Most people can name a film director or two (or more). Some playwrights and screenwriters are known by name. Quick — name a set designer. Or a costume designer. (Without looking at the title of this post!) Unless you keenly study film credits or the small print of theatre programs, you’re not as likely to be able to name someone in those lines of work, yet they are essential to a good movie or a successful play. As this article in The Princeton Review states, “the set is a silent supporting actor,” and the set designer must have knowledge enhanced by research and combined with artistic vision to bring that “silent supporting actor” to life. Costume design, too, is an exacting art that does so much more than simply ensure that an actor on stage or screen is wearing clothing appropriate to the period of the piece. Arts Alive points out that costuming can give the audience information about “a character’s occupation, social status, gender, age, sense of style and tendencies towards conformity or individualism.” And so, as we go behind the scenes in set and costume design, I’d like to introduce you to Tony Walton, who is arguably one of the best in the field.

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