Critical Confabulations

a theatre, film & pop culture review

Tony Awards 2010: Best Costume Design

It’s confession time: I didn’t see all the nominated shows. While I’m of course terribly shamed by this, I didn’t get the chance to see them all — some closed before the nominees were even announced. Alas, the first of these three missed productions  is included in the Costume Design category (just wait until Best Leading Actress in a play — that category is a complete mess of unseen performances). So bear with me!


1. In the Next Room, or the vibrator play (David Zinn)

2. The Royal Family (Catherine Zuber)

3. Fences (Constanza Romero)

4. Lend Me a Tenor (Martin Pakledinaz)

All four nominees are technically period pieces (heck, the most contemporary, Fences, is set in the ’50s), they all stand a reasonably good chance at winning (voters love their period costumes, as we know). Of the four, Zinn’s designs for In the Next Room are the most luscious: rich detailing; gorgeous, vibrant colors; and endless layers of petticoats; the latter of which, of course, only adds to the hilarity as the Michael Cerveris’s Doctor Givings (nice name, by the way) attempts to pe

netrate (the puns are easy and endless, folks) the layers of fabric in order to “cure” the ladies of their supposed hysteria. However, based on the photo alone (to the right; alas, this is the production I missed, so I can’t vouch for design accuracy), I wouldn’t be surprised if Zuber takes home the Tony for her jewel-toned satin creations for The RoyalFamily. What would surprise is if either Fences‘s plain by comparison working-class garb or Lend Me a Tenors less accomplished, though entirely workable, 1930s opera-wear took home the golden guy.


1. La Cage aux Folles (Matthew Wright)

2. Fela! (Marina Draghici)

3. Memphis (Paul Tazewell)

Prior to curtain, Cagelles strutted down the aisles, mingled in the lobby, posed for pictures — with designer Valentino the night I attended — under the marquee. As one, clearly sewn into the skin-tight gorgeous royal blue bedazzled gown which beautifully emphasized every curve, “dahhhling”ed her way past us, my friend muttered enviously under her breath, “God, I’d kill for her body.” Admittedly, Matthew Wright had some outrageously fit, flexible, and fabulous men to design for in La Cage aux Folles, but dear lord, by the time he was done with them, “Half real and half fluff / You’ll find it tough guessing our gender,” indeed. They are what they are and what they are is the winner of Best Costume Design for a Musical.

Wonder why there’s only three nominees? I did too, and a friend informed me that Ragtime‘s nomination was withdrawn on May 13th after Tony overseers determined that Santo Loquasto’s designs, which were too similar to the original production’s (he designed for both the revival and original) were not eligible (for more info, read the Times article here). More baffling, though, is that  Memphis edged out the more deserving grungy  American Idiot (Andrea Lauer), lush A Little Night Music (David Farley), and gothic The Addams Family (MaryAnn D. Smith). While crafting perfectly fine 1950s attire, Paul Tazewell’s creations come in third, after the rebelliously piece-y, loudly vibrant prints of the Nigerian Afrobeat-inspired designs of Fela!‘s Marina Draghici.


4 comments on “Tony Awards 2010: Best Costume Design

  1. Anna
    June 9, 2010

    There’s three because of the Ragtime mess.


  2. Julie
    June 9, 2010

    Thanks, Anna. I’m going to add that info into my post above.


  3. Pingback: Tony Awards 2010: Best Scenic Design « Critical Confabulations

  4. Pingback: Tony Awards 2010: Best Revival « Critical Confabulations

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This entry was posted on June 9, 2010 by in Award Predictions, Costume Design, Musical, Theatre, Tony Awards.



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