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Costume News Theatre

The Most Impressive Costume Changes in Broadway’s History.

New York New York it’s a wonderful town! And if you’re a musical theatre fanatic it doesn’t get much more iconic than Broadway for toe-tapping showstopping musical magic.

Despite the amount of money poured into producing ever impressive spectaculars to delight MT fan’s and visitors to the Big Apple alike, it is still the humble costume change that seems to impress audiences the most, particularly when the change is a quick one.

Maybe it is the shock factor, maybe it is the skill, but for whatever reason, the costume change can be just as much of a showstopper as Idina Menzel belting out a song about sticking her middle finger up to the laws of physics. (Wicked’s Defying Gravity for those of you who are not familiar with MT references…come on guys catch up!)

So what are the most iconic costume changes in Broadway history? Luckily US theatre publication Playbill put together the 10 Most Iconic Costume Changes in Broadway History to settle the score.

So with no further ado, here are the 10 most iconic costume moments on Broadway…

1.) Cinderella dresses for the ball in Roger and Hammerstein’s Cinderella.

With a wave of the fairy godmother’s wand, Cinderella spins to reveal a beutiful ball gown. Having worn rags literally seconds before how was this iconic Broadway costume moment achieved? Mostly through the clever use of reversable panels in the fabric apparently.


2.) Into the Woods – The witch changes from old to young.

Tony-nominated Ann-Hould Ward designed the original Broadway production of Into the Woods. It’s not until near the end of Act I that we see the witch go from stereotype old hag to a youthful beauty in seconds. A moment in Broadway costume history that never fails to wow audiences.


3.) Elle’s change in Omigod – Legally Blonde

In the first rendition of ‘Omigod’ Elle finds the perfect engagement outfit with the help of her friends, changing into it in an instant whilst on stage.


4.) Turning Back the clock – Bright Star

Simple is sometimes the most effective. In this quick change, Alice Murphy begins as an adult and then transforms to her teenage self on stage. In this quick-change, there is no attempt to hide how the transformation is achieved with everything happening right in front of the audience’s eyes.


5.) Beast turns into the Prince in Beauty and the Beast

Ann Hould-Ward won a Tony for her costume design on this animation to live action transition. Taking the Beast character from monster to handsome quickly was no easy task but Ann managed to do it, all whilst the Beast’s body levitates and spins. Magical!


6.) Phantom of the Opera – Christina turns into an opera diva

This iconic moment from Andre Lloyd Webber’s Phantom of the Opera sees the character of Christine transform into the classic opera diva.


7.) Mormons get jazzy in ‘Turn it off’ from Book of Mormon

Book of Mormon song ‘Turn it off’ is all about the near super-human ability to not question things. That happens to be the best way to enjoy this change where mormons quickly go from black tie and white shirt to glitzy waste-coats before your eyes…almost (with the creative use of a blackout.)


8.) Elsa becoming the Snow Queen in Frozen

In animation it’s easy to change characters appearance in the space of a frame but when Disney hit Frozen went live Elsa’s transformation moment had to happen before the audiences very eyes. A tear-away version of Elsa’s costume, designed by Christopher Oram allowed her to almost instantaneously transform during “Let It Go”.


9.) Edna Turnball in Hairspray’s ‘Welcome to the 60s’

With costumes originally designed by William Ivey Long, this quick change sees Edna go from frumpy housewife to 60’s glam when another character decides to give her a makeover during the number ‘Welcome to the 60s’


10.) Dream Girls ‘Heavy heavy’ and ‘I’m Changing’

This Broadway classic has not one but two impressive quick changes, setting the bar for quick changes across the board.


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