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Costume designer helps bring show to stage

Julia Adams bends over a sewing machine, putting the finishing touches on a brown velvet jacket. Its not yet 9 a.m. and back-stage at the Anderson Center is deserted, but shes at home in the cos-tume shop, surrounded by spools of thread, dressmakers mannequins, scissors and racks of clothing.

Adams, 22, of Windsor, is a senior theatre major who learned to sew at age 7. Shes also the costume designer for the production of Pippin that opens Friday, Nov. 11, in the Watters Theater.

“I really pushed to get this show because its one of my favorite musicals,” she said. “It was really a good opportunity for me.”

Adams has coordinated the creation of about 50 costumes for the 21 cast mem-bers, a project she began researching last summer. Some are skimpy; others have floor-length skirts. Influences range from video games to Frankish styles.

Shes not often alone in the costume shop; in addition to two student assistant directors, she works with Barbara Wolfe, her adviser and an associate pro

fessor in the Theatre Department. Theatre majors and minors are also required to put in time in the shop.

Wolfe said Adams experience level is what sets her apart. She has worked on a relatively large number of shows for someone her age, Wolfe said, and thats a huge advantage in a field that allows people to draw on all of their life experiences. Adams also has stayed organized and kept a cool head as the pressure to get the show ready mounts.

“Everything you do in the theater is about organization,” said Wolfe, who noted that more than 100 people are involved in staging Pippin. “If those 100 people dont work in concert you dont have a show.”

When Adams isnt working on Pippin, shes busy planning her May wedding — including making her own gown — and taking on other costume projects for groups such as the Society for Creative Anachronism.

“Sewing is my way to relax,” she said, “so when I dont have at least three projects going I feel a little lost.”
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Last Updated: 10/14/08