Backstage at Evil Dead the Musical

Yep, more Evil Dead. This time I did a tour of the theater! Our set was super simple but really well-designed, especially my little cellar where I spent about 80% of the show. I also filmed our greenroom area, where we kept all of our props and costumes. And of course, our blood props. Lots of blood for this show!

Let me know what you think! And ask any questions that you have about the show or the production, I’d be happy to answer them!

Get Ready With Me! Evil Dead: The Musical

Y’all, I LOVED being part of this show. I have at least two more Evil Dead videos coming too! But first, here’s a Get Ready With Me video. I filmed this backstage before our last performance and I had a blast. Leave a comment if you have any questions! (Please, y’all…ask some questions. I want to make some new friends!!)

(also you can read some more about my experience in the show here)

Makeup Products Used:

Benefit the Porefessional Primer

Maybelline Fit Me! Matte and Poreless Foundation

Maybelline Fit Me! Concealer

Benefit Benetint

Maybelline Fit Me! Powder

TheBalm blush in Palm Springs

Benefit High Beam

TheBalm Mary Lou-manizer highlighter

Elf Matte setting spray

Nyx Tres Jolie Gel Pencil eyeliner in black

Maybelline Color Tattoo in Barely Branded

Urban Decay Naked Palette (Sidecar on the lid, Naked and Buck in the crease, Darkhorse in the outer corner)

Urban Decay Naked Basics Palette (Naked 2 in the crease, Foxy on the browbone)

L’oreal Infallible shadow in Iced Latte (inner corner)

Ciate London Fierce Flicks black liquid liner

Benefit Bad Gal mascara

Rimmel Scandaleyes Retroglam mascara

Tarte Light Camera Splashes! mascara

Colourpop liquid lipstick in Bumble

Dapper Queen of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland

Usually I go all out for Dapper Day, but this year was…well, I just wasn’t feeling it. A lot of stuff was going on around this point in my life. Long story. But I still wanted to participate, just without a lot of sewing.

I ended up putting together a really simple outfit out of items in my closet. I had a black strapless Forever 21 dress with big fabric flowers on the skirt that had just been sitting around for ages, and I decided it would be perfect. I based my outfit off of the Queen of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland, so I added a thin black cardigan and a red belt with a silver heart shaped clasp. The red tights were from Target and the black flats with the red hearts were from Modcloth too (but from via eBay). And of course there was a petticoat stuffed up there too; it’s not Dapper Day if I’m not swathed in chiffon ruffles.

My hair was surprisingly successful. I used my little mesh donut from Target to shape my bun (since I have the WORST BABY FINE HAIR EVER) and I curled my bangs back from my forehead and pinned the ringlet in place. I sprayed the whole thing to death with hairspray and surprisingly it all stayed! What a miracle for Florida.

Dapper Day was held at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and a bunch of us Icon cast members (current and former) went together. It was also the final day of operation for the Backlot Tour, so we rode it together. Honestly, while it’s sad that the attraction closed, it took up a lot of space without offering a lot to do. I’m looking forward to Toy Story and Star Wars opening up in the now-vacant space!

Also I bought a Sven plush. That happened.

You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown

Charlie Brown had always been one of my top choices to direct when I started teaching- it’s a really accessible show, fairly simple to sing and simple to stage. So when I was working for a school that wanted to invest as little as possible in its arts program, it was a solid choice, especially when I found out they had done it about five years earlier and we had some key costume pieces in storage! Life was a lot easier when I realized that Schroeder, Charlie Brown, and Linus already had their shirts.

While the show only has a few cast members originally (Charlie Brown, Linus, Lucy, Sally, Schroeder, and Snoopy) I decided to expand the cast to include more kids. Because that’s what needs to happen for a middle/high school production, especially when there’s only two shows a year and you want to give as many kids as possible a chance to be part of a performance. Woodstock was added (a nonspeaking role for literally the most precious second grader you’ve ever seen) along with several other birds from the elementary school, and then an ensemble of older kids that, while they didn’t have lines, were all chosen from Peanuts characters- Peppermint Patty, Frieda, Patty, Marcy, Violet, the Little Redheaded Girl, and Pigpen. Most of my kids had minimal to no stage experience, but they were absolutely fantastic. All of them hard workers, all of them super eager to learn, and it turned out to be a great production. If it hadn’t been for the garrulous music teacher (which is a whole ‘nother story, but for reference please picture the Queen of Hearts from the animated Alice in Wonderland and you’re just about there) it would have been perfect.

The boys were very easy to costume. Since, for the most part, their shirts were pulled from storage, it was a matter of them bringing in the right shorts and sneakers from home. Pigpen had a brown shirt that he brought from home as well, but again, super easy to get. My philosophy (pun accidental) when costuming is to either make everything my cast needs, or have them bring in items they already own; I don’t like sending my actors to buy costume pieces. Which is what made it even more miraculous when my Charlie Brown found a pair of yellow and black striped pajamas that worked perfectly for the opening number.

Snoopy’s costume was also fairly simple. I didn’t want to do a full body dog costume, so Snoopy wore white pants and a white shirt with a black and white baseball cap. With some slight makeup (mostly the black nose) he was perfectly believable as Snoopy. For the Red Baron sequence at the top of act two, he added goggles, a flight cap, and a white scarf pulled from my sister’s costume collection.

The birds were also very simply costumed- yellow shirts, black shorts, and sneakers. Woodstock also wore a yellow tutu and we tied yellow ribbons in her pigtails. She was literally the cutest.

Sally and Lucy were slightly more tricky. A lot of productions try to copy the comics exactly and put their actresses in drop waisted dresses with short skirts that stick out like hula hoops. I ended up putting them in more 50s style fit and flare dresses, mostly because I had Sally’s dress already! I played Janice Vickery in The Effects of Gamma Rays on Man in the Moon Marigolds in college and made my own costume, a pink and white polka dot dress with a half circle skirt and a peter pan collar (I used Simplicity 4116, which has been out of print for quite a while, but it’s pretty easy to find comparable patterns). To make it work for my Sally, I took the dress in and made a sash and a hairbow; with frilly ankle socks, pink low top converses, and a small petticoat, it was perfect. I wanted Lucy in something similar, so I used McCall’s 4948 (their Alice in Wonderland pattern) to make a plain blue dress with puffed sleeves and a circle skirt, but I eliminated the peter pan collar to keep it looking more like Lucy and less like Alice in Wonderland. The school’s powers-that-be thought the skirt was too short (despite all my actors in skirts wearing shorts under their costumes) so I added a ruffle to the hem. I made two bows to match, and then added a petticoat, frilly ankle socks, and saddle shoes.

The other girls in the ensemble wore outfits reminiscent of their characters in the comics, mostly by colors. Peppermint Patty wore sandals, a sports jersey, a backwards baseball cap, and drawn-on freckles, and Marcy wore a sailor dress and Harry Potter glasses. Violet wore purple, Frieda wore red (and had naturally curly hair!) and Patty wore an orange and gold plaid dress that I had previously used when I directed David Ives’ Words Words Words.

The most unique part of my production, in my personal opinion, was adding the Little Redheaded Girl, the object of Charlie Brown’s affections. I had a redheaded student that I costumed in a white dress and a pink floral print cardigan, and incorporated her into the group scenes. She was there when Charlie Brown did his lunchtime monologue, and she skipped past him during the baseball song. My favorite part was the very end, when he’s holding her pencil at the end of “Happiness.” All the other actors had already left in twos and threes, and he was alone onstage with the pencil. It’s scripted that Lucy gives the final line, but instead I had the Little Redheaded Girl tap him on the shoulder and hold out her hand. He gave her the pencil back, she said “you’re a good man, Charlie Brown,” and then took his hand to walk him offstage. It was such a sweet moment and a great ending to the show!

Disneybounding 101

Ah, Disneybounding. One of the best and most controversial trends to pop up in recent years. Personally, I love it, but some people are divided on the topic, since there’s such a wide spectrum of possibilities.

 

For those who don’t spend all their time in Disney parks and feel a little out of the loop, Disneybounding was created by a blogger named Leslie Kay. Its a specific style of dressing in a manner influenced by a Disney character, film, or attraction. For instance, if I wear a yellow skirt, a navy top, and a red bow in my hair, I can be fairly identifiable as Snow White. It’s a great way to compromise when you can’t fully dress up to go to the parks.

 

Why can’t you dress up for the parks? That’s a great question! There’s a rule in place that no one over the age of fourteen can dress up for the parks. A lot of people think that’s unfair, but it’s really a great rule. Let’s say that five-year-old Jenny goes to Magic Kingdom for the first time, and she’s so excited to meet Cinderella. So they get to Fairytale Hall, and it’s a forty-five minute wait, and Dad isn’t too excited about that. But wait! A teenage girl in a Cinderella dress is standing outside Fairytale Hall. Close enough! Dad sends little Jenny up there, and Cinderella puts her phone away long enough to take a picture and scribble an autograph. But that’s not the same. It’s not the same at all. And imagine this- if Jenny goes up to “Cinderella” and the princess swears at her and says she’s just trying to have fun and leave her alone. Jenny would be heartbroken, right? Disney magic ruined. So yeah. Save your costumes for Not So Scary, when the party wristband can set you apart from the real characters. Maintain character integrity!

 

So that’s where Disneybounding comes in. It’s a great way to “dress up” as those beloved characters (or even attractions!) without being in full costume. The best way to do that is to pull from the color schemes of the characters- yellow, navy, and red for Snow; aqua, purple, and red for Ariel; red and white polka dots for Minnie Mouse. You get the idea. A lot can be done with makeup and hairstyles as well, although wigs should be avoided. Not only does that send you into costuming territory, but really, y’all. It’s Florida. It’s swampland. Y’all are gonna sweat to death.

 

Another way to pull inspiration is through accessories. I’ve used a necklace with a gold comb on it for Rapunzel, and a necklace with a thimble on it for Wendy. A lot of Etsy sellers create beautiful bows, custom ears, and themed flower crowns as well that can make you intsagram ready in no time. Some of my favorite shops are Ever After Bowtique, Soundsation Ears, and Magic by Courtney; all three of those shops are run by fabulous ladies who do good work.

 

But Caitlin, you say, have you ever Disneybounded? Have I ever! Here’s some examples.

 

I put together a Disneybound pajama outfit for the 24 hour day at Magic Kingdom the one year I went (RIP, but mostly RIP to the cast members who worked all night). I wore a white tunic from Target, lavender leggings from Walmart, and cream lace shoes from Payless. I made the flower crown myself, and the satchel was a gift from my friend Carrie (Pascal was hers but she lent him to me for the night). Her pajamas bound was even cuter- green plaid pajamas and bear slippers, because she was Merida!

My hipster Kylo Ren disneybound is probably my all time favorite. The dress is one of my faavorite Modcloth purchases, the Bells of London, Ohio dress made by Dear Creatures. I wore it with black low top converse style shoes and made myself a flower crown- the best part is the hidden Darth Vader.

I had a blast running around Studios and taking pictures, especially when I went to Starbucks. I had a conversation that went like this:

 

Barista: What’s your name?

 

Me: Can you please…can you please write Kyle Lauren on it?

 

Barista: …

 

Me: …

 

Barista: Okay.

 

So then flash forward to when they’re calling my name.

 

Barista: I have a venti peach green tea lemonade for…Kyle Lauren?

 

There was a dad wearing a Star Wars shirt leaning against the bar. He looked at the cup, then me, then back at the cup, and he started laughing hysterically. “Come on!” he chortled. “Kyle Lauren! Kylo Ren! It’s so funny!” Thank you, random dad. The barista might have looked at me like I had twelve heads, but I appreciate your laughter.

On St. Patrick’s Day a while back a bunch of us met up in our best green disneybounds. I chose to go as Pascal, so I wore a green dress from Pink Rose, a brown Faded Glory belt, a pair of Nicole sandals from Ross, and a Forever 21 flower crown that had been admittedly rather sparse, but I spruced it up with some extra blooms left over from another project.

Elsa is always one of my favorite cosplay choices, especially when my sister and I are disneybounding together. For Frozen Fever Elsa, I wore an aqua tank and white shorts and a flower crown made by my sister. As an extra surprise, she ordered the Frozen Fever bows from our favorite Etsy shop, Ever After Bowtique, and added them to the backs of our crowns. You can also see that Lindsay went a little more intense with her disneybound- she cosplays as Anna and has made three of her outfits so far, so she wore the vest from her Frozen Fever cosplay, but styled it with street clothes.

Our first Anna and Elsa Disneybound was a lot more intense. This was when the movie had only been out for a few months and the princesses were at their first meet and greet location in Epcot. Lindsay usually likes to wear wigs, so she wore her Anna wig, but the rest of her outfit was clearly street clothes in Anna-inspired colors, which balances out. I wore a dress from Ross and sparkly shoes, and we both wore the park tiaras. I also styled my hair and makeup to be Elsa-inspired.

For another example, I custom ordered a beautiful set of holiday Anna and Elsa bows (also from Ever After) for me and my sister. To be super honest, I don’t have any full photos of our outfits and I don’t remember what we wearing, but aren’t these bows cute? Amber custom made them after I had a terrible experience ordering from Caleigh’s Crowns (which has now closed), and not only was she brilliant to work with, she delivered them to us personally in cute holiday gift bags with candy canes!

I don’t always disneybound as just Elsa- this was my adorable Kristoff inspired outfit! I wore an embroidered peasant top and a gray skirt, both from Forever 21, navy leggings, my black Hamish boots from Blowfish, and my Kristoff bow from Ever After Bowtique. And of course I posed with a troll. I think that’s like a rule or something.

This is a sweet and simple Alice in Wonderland disneybound- a blue dress from Target, a white lace top from Forever 21, a blue bow from Ever After Bowtique, and my trusty iCarly sandals. It was cute, comfortable, and just identifiable enough.

Dapper Day is another great opportunity for subtle disneybounds! I’ve documented my Queen of Hearts, Queen Elinor, Rapunzel, and Wendy themed outfits before, but my very first one was a simple disneybound of the house from Up. I wore the Air of Adorable dress from Modcloth with the same Modcloth oxfords I wore for Rapunzel, plus a small petticoat, the Grape Soda pin, and a borrowed vintage hat. It was subtle, but effective.

You don’t even have to be at Disney for a disneybound! I went to Unviersal in a Hogwarts student disneybound (who else is a Hufflepuff?) I wore my Record Time dress in black from Modcloth, a yellow coat from Forever 21, black tights, black combat boots from Charlotte Russe, and a black hair bow from Forever 21. It was a great time (and my wand fit in my coat pocket!)

Here’s another example of a more subtle disneybound. I bought my sister these matching shirts from Tee Public for Christmas, and we styled them to be the stepsisters from Cinderella. She wore a lime green tank, aqua shorts, and an aqua bow to be Drizella, and I wore purple shorts and a pink bow to be Anastasia. (Even better, our mother disneybounded as the stepmother! We don’t have any pictures, unfortunately.)

And just for fun, here’s one of my favorite meet and greets in a Disney inspired outfit. I wore my Arendelle crest shirt from Tee Public and my Kristoff bow from Ever After for a VIP meet and greet at the Frozen singalong for my birthday. Clearly I had a little bit of fun (and was super embarrassingly excited to meet Kristoff!)

What are some of your favorite Disneybounds? Do you have any tips, tricks, or rules for disneybounding? Comment below if you want to see a follow up blog or video about disneynounds, and maybe you’ll be featured!

 

Amy March from Little Women

This dress didn’t begin life as Amy March. It just kind of…happened.

Picture it: my junior year of college, 2000 and something. My English literature class was doing group projects, and mine decided to do an Oprah-type interview of Jane Austen. Who was selected to play Jane Austen? Me! But I needed a costume.

I ran to Joann’s and grabbed Butterick 6630, their regency-era pattern, and whipped it up in white muslin. I mostly followed the pattern to the letter, although the laced back was a little tricky- I ended up using little white eyes for the loops instead of messing with punching eyelets. I also added a little bit of eyelet to the sleeve cuffs and added a full lining to the skirt, also trimmed with eyelet (I’m always a slut for eyelet). I pulled my hair back in a loose knot, added a pair of black ballet slippers, and it made for a pretty decent Jane Austen costume!

Flash forward to Akaicon 2016. I was planning on attending the masquerade, but I didn’t have a ballgown cosplay completed. And I was running out of time fast (and money- the yardage for ballgowns ain’t cheap). I played around with a couple of options but ended up pulling my white Jane Austen dress out of storage and set to work with a different literary character in mind.

In the book Little Women there’s a scene in the second half where Amy, the youngest sister, is preparing to go to a ball. She ends up taking a hand-me-down white ballgown, adds tulle and some flowers, and goes to the ball without anyone suspecting that she’s wearing someone else’s old dress. In fact, it’s that scene where she runs into Laurie again and…well, I would say spoiler alert but the book was published in the 1880s. But it’s a great scene. Amy’s a great character (not in the beginning, I know, but she grows up to be awesome) and I thought the scene would the perfect setup for an (admittedly obscure) amazing cosplay for the masquerade.

It must be recorded of Amy that she deliberately prinked that night. Time and absence had done its work on both the young people. She had seen her old friend in a new light, not as ‘our boy’, but as a handsome and agreeable man, and she was conscious of a very natural desire to find favor in his sight. Amy knew her good points, and made the most of them with the taste and skill which is a fortune to a poor and pretty woman.

Tarlatan and tulle were cheap at Nice, so she enveloped herself in them on such occasions, and following the sensible English fashion of simple dress for young girls, got up charming little toilettes with fresh flowers, a few trinkets, and all manner of dainty devices, which were both inexpensive and effective. It must be confessed that the artist sometimes got possession of the woman, and indulged in antique coiffures, statuesque attitudes, and classic draperies. But, dear heart, we all have our little weaknesses, and find it easy to pardon such in the young, who satisfy our eyes with their comeliness, and keep our hearts merry with their artless vanities.

“I do want him to think I look well, and tell them so at home,” said Amy to herself, as she put on Flo’s old white silk ball dress, and covered it with a cloud of fresh illusion, out of which her white shoulders and golden head emerged with a most artistic effect. Her hair she had the sense to let alone, after gathering up the thick waves and curls into a Hebe-like knot at the back of her head.

“It’s not the fashion, but it’s becoming, and I can’t afford to make a fright of myself,” she used to say, when advised to frizzle, puff, or braid, as the latest style commanded.

Having no ornaments fine enough for this important occasion, Amy looped her fleecy skirts with rosy clusters of azalea, and framed the white shoulders in delicate green vines. Remembering the painted boots, she surveyed her white satin slippers with girlish satisfaction, and chasseed down the room, admiring her aristocratic feet all by herself.

“My new fan just matches my flowers, my gloves fit to a charm, and the real lace on Aunt’s mouchoir gives an air to my whole dress. If I only had a classical nose and mouth I should be perfectly happy,” she said, surveying herself with a critical eye and a candle in each hand.

In Amy-ish fashion, I dug around to see what I had in my costume supplies, and lo and behold, I found a set of white Ikea Lill curtains, still in their packaging. Basically I had a panel of soft, already hemmed tulle. I cut up the curtains to make a multilayered tulle skirt and added a waistband and a hook and eye and voila! The addition of the long tulle skirt made my simple muslin dress look dreamy.

It wasn’t quite complete though, so I added a blue satin ribbon sash, a blonde wig (the same one I wore for Eleven), and a flower crown from Claire’s. My boots are a beautiful pair of ivory high heeled Seychelles Romance boots that look gorgeous but HURT. I was relieved I was only wearing them for the masquerade because wow, so much pain.

I have a couple of (awkward) photos in the costume, and while no one knew who I was, I was really happy with how it turned out. The fit could have been better and it could have been a little fancier, but for a costume I only wore for two hours it worked really well!

Running Races at Walt Disney World

I did my first Disney race completely on impulse. I’d thought about it before, but always chickened out before actually pursuing it. But one of my friends at work was thinking about it too, and she said if I signed up for the princess 5k she would do it too. So I did it!

(Did I train at all? Nope. I think I went running three times in the months leading up to the race.)

Of course, I felt super overwhelmed, especially when I went to the race expo surrounded by Experienced Runners in their short shorts and their KT tape. And there was so much stuff to buy. I didn’t realize that they sold so many things for runners! There was a lot happening. But I got caught up in the excitement and was so jazzed about running the next day that when I passed by a booth that was still accepting signups for the Star Wars race, I bit the bullet and signed up.

For the 10k. Because I am crazy.

The princess race turned out to be a lot of fun. Like all Disney races, costumes are encouraged, so I bought an XL Elsa children’s costume from Cast Connection and took it apart. I decorated a teal running tank from Forever 21 with silver glitter paint to look like Elsa’s bodice and sewed the cape from the costume to the back, then made a new waistband for the costume skirt to make it a separate piece. I added gray running leggings and braided my weave into my hair with some sparkly Elsa snowflakes from the Disney store, and it ended up pretty cute! My time wasn’t great, but I had a magical time running the race and was so excited for Star Wars.

Cut to Star Wars. I was not excited. I procrastinated (as I usually do) and waited till the night before to work on my Dapper Day outfit, since Dapper Day was happening right after I ran the 10k, and I had made plans to go with my sister and my friends. But something went terribly wrong with the dress (that’s another story) and I was a crying, panicky, asthmatic mess. Bless her, my best friend offered to fix the dress for me so I could get some sleep. I ended up getting pasta from Panera to carboload, fell asleep around 10 or 11, and got up at three to go to the race.

Surprisingly, I had a great time. My costume was distinctly less fancy this time; I cut an orange shirt from the boy’s section into a vest and added a patch that said Matt. So I was Matt the Radar Technician. It was a lot of fun, especially when people would call “Matt!” as I ran by and I’d give them the scowl and a thumbs up. And yes, I did go to Dapper Day afterwards and ending up clocking around 39,000 steps total.

My next race was another princess 5k, and this time I didn’t even bother with a costume. I bought a new running tank from Raw Threads, a company that makes great bamboo tanks and tees with Disney themeing. I bought one at my first race (an Ariel themed one that says “though she is little, she is fierce) and bought a purple Rapunzel one that says “make today the best day ever.” Did I wish I had a cute costume? Absolutely, but I loved my new tank.

My sister ended up helping me with the outfit for my Star Wars 5k. She found the most badass Leia tank at Hot Topic, which I paired with black shorts with cutouts on the thighs that I bought at Ross for like $7. The night before I had dress rehearsal for Mousetrap, so I did a bad thing and slept in my stage makeup. At three the next morning I rolled out of bed, added more glitter and a lip stain, put my hair up in mini Leia buns, and popped over to the race! I was really happy and perky that day, and you can tell. It was a good race and I felt great.

My next race is the Food and WIne 5k in November, and then I’ll be running the princess 10k and the Star Wars 5k. I should start planning those costumes now! Any suggestions? And do you have any experience with Disney races and have advice to give? Share it in the comments below!