Few people can say that they created a Tony award-winning costume, but Laura Charles can.
Charles, who honed her costume design skills as a Goshen College theater major, lives in New York City and works for a shop called Tricorne that produces costumes for Broadway shows. As a costume draper, Charles takes designers’ sketches and turns them into actual garments.
Last year, Charles had the honor of creating Cinderella’s ball gown for the 2013 Broadway revival of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella. In June, William Ivey Long, the costume designer for Cinderella, won the prestigious Tony Award for best costume design of a musical.
For the Tony Award ceremony, Long asked Charles to make an even more complicated version of the gown just for that evening, one that would instantly transform from rags to a voluminous ball gown. (See video).
“It was quite a challenge to create such a complicated dress for a one-time performance,” Charles said. “Usually a costume like that would go through weeks of rehearsals and preview performances to fine-tune it.”
Other Broadway shows that Charles has worked for include The Color Purple, Anything Goes and Motown. Though she learned to sew before attending Goshen College, she believes the Umble Center costume shop gave her the space she needed to experiment with costume design.
– By Ariel Ropp ’13