Creating costumes for dazzling musical productions is difficult enough without having to contend with a shortage of essential items like elastic and thread.
It is just one of the many challenges related to COVID that Hamilton Australia’s fellow costume partner, Jude Loxley, is taking in stride.
“The things we will take for granted, [like] sending supplies and fabrics and samples of physical costumes around the world, is indeed complicated, “he said.
“If you buy elastic from our supplier they ask if it’s for masks because if so, they’re trying to push people to a different product so they can keep what we need available.”
And with over 100 yards of lace per dress, every spool counts.
“We are lacking in things we never thought we would have … [like] elastic, thread, very basic stuff, “he says.
“So it’s really amazing to see how much has gone into this build because of the things we challenged to get.”
Despite this, 65 costume production teams have produced the goods, creating more than 500 period outfits, filled with handmade shoes and accessories.
Not missing a single historical detail, a special “Hamilton cloth” has even been created to allow the dancers to wear an elastic material that looks like a traditional woven moleskin.
On the part of the wig, COVID has created a similar hurdle.
The team painstakingly crafted more than 30 wigs – each taking more than 60 hours to complete – designed especially for each player.
“I had to import all my hair from Rome and the UK and some supplies in the United States so shipping was difficult,” said hair and wig associate Kylie Clarke.
“A lot of people work off-site for me in production, so there must be some challenges.”
For bespoke music shoe maker Jodie Morrison, taking measurements against FaceTime has been a cute but necessary solution.
“We are only halfway through but we may have made 100 [pairs of shoes] already and there are about 35 hours per pair, so we’re busy, “he said.
A pandemic means seeking more supplies locally, including kangaroo skins from Queensland.
No setback proved too great for the talented costume production team.
“It is really very exciting, especially in these times with COVID, just to be able to continue working in our industry and be able to deliver a great show to the audience,” said Loxley.
“I feel honored to be a part of it.”
Outside the clothing workshops, planning is under way to ensure the musical can appear on stage against the backdrop of COVID-19.
The production has been granted an exemption from the NSW Government which will allow it to screen up to 75 percent of audience capacity when it opens at Sydney’s Lyric Theater in March, due to the venue’s own COVID protocol.
Producer Michael Cassel says keeping the company and audience safe is priority number one.
“We have to be ready to adapt and I think certainly what we have seen over the last few weeks along with climate change, we have to be ready to be able to implement new plans and procedures and be agile,” he said.