On March 21, 2012, the NBC morning program Today presented a seven-minute segment hosted by Jenna Bush Hager and Sara Haines. The segment was filmed at Costume World’s Broadway Collection and represented over twelve-hours of taping at the facility in Florida.
While overall, the presentation was a very positive, up-beat look at costumes and an obviously amusing venue for these young women, it ignited a firestorm of controversy on the internet and social media sites over the apparent lack of respect by the show’s producers for the nature of the museum and the priceless wardrobes it houses. Comments like “sophomoric, giddy, farcical, and juvenile” crept into conversations of bloggers who took to the internet to vent their obvious displeasure over the casual manner in which the museum was being represented.
While we were very grateful for the exposure given to the museum by the Today Show, I wondered if this misconception was our own doing. It is true we were given little opportunity to provide artistic input on the scope of the project and for that reason, the NBC segment had a more light-hearted feel steered by an equally light-hearted host. It is also true that we currently present the museum more as a fun, exciting place to visit rather than an educational experience, so it is understandable that NBC’s producers chose the direction that they did even if it was not the image we wished to portray. This prompted me to step back and reconsider the true mission of the Broadway Collection and its responsibility to the legacy of Broadway theatre.
The purpose of the Broadway Collection is to honor the costume designer and enable each visitor to see beyond the individual costume to an appreciation of the process involved in bringing a Broadway show to the stage. With over one million pieces in the collection, the visitor can also see first-hand how artistry and design have evolved over the years. These two aspects make the Broadway Collection significant not only as an educational tool, but as a custodian for a vitally important aspect of our American culture.
Over the next months, my staff and I will be working together to re-focus the mission and purpose of the museum to find that happy medium between being a Disney-like amusement destination and a serious repository devoted to the history of the American musical theatre.
The Today show on NBC with Matt Lauer wearing the Martin Pakledinaz designed hat that Robert Ousley wore as Baptista in the 1999 revival of “Kiss me Kate”
Tomorrow morning on the Today show Costume World and The Broadway Collection will be featured along with several exquisite pieces from our collection. One of the items will be the top hat worn by the Coachman in Dracula.
There is little doubt that Catherine Zuber’s incredible costumes enhanced the ill-fated production of DRACULA-THE MUSICAL which opened at the Belasco Theatre in 2004. Despite its very successful debut at the La Jolla Playhouse, the Broadway production only saw 154 performances and endured mostly negative reviews including one memorable headline that read simply: “Dracula Sucks.”
A sadly interesting side-note to this story is that the show was produced by Dodger Costumes – the same company from which the bulk of this museum is derived – and the failure of Dracula threw them into bankruptcy forcing the liquidation their entire stock of costumes, props and set pieces. Dracula’s leather and mahogany chair, also featured in the museum, was in the production and part of the Dodger inventory. While the demise of Dodger was good for South Florida and those of us who can still enjoy their incredible inventory, the loss of this venerable company in New York is still being felt throughout the theatrical community.
What better way to kick off a blog then with an expose by the Today show. Jenna Bush Hager spent the day with us recently going behind the scenes of Costume World’s Broadway Collection. We are the world’s largest collection of costumes from the American musical theatre and a subject of a segment for NBC’s Today Show airing on Wednesday, March 21, 2012 during the 8:00 a.m. hour.
NBC’s Today Show correspondents JennaBushHagerand SaraHaines spent the day with Costume World Founder and CEOMarilynn A. Wick at the 20,000 square foot facility in Pompano Beach, Florida for a behind-the-scenes look at a costume empire that began with five Santa suits and grew to become the largest and most historic costume collection in the world. The mission of the Broadway Collection is to honor the costume designer and enable each visitor to see beyond the individual costume to an appreciation of the process involved in bringing a Broadway show to the stage.With over 1 million pieces in the collection, the visitor also can also see first-hand how artistry and design have changed over the years.These two aspects make the Broadway Collection significant not only as an educational tool, but as custodian for a vitally important aspect of our American culture.
Consider this blog as your official back stage pass to everything costume!