The Costuming of Descendants the Musical
04 May, 2022
By Student Contributor Abby Pyrdom
Descendants is a movie that many students have seen or heard of before. So, when the members of Mrs. Crittendon’s Art 3 class, Grace Kamler, Sophia Carroll, Paige Jerit, Haley Howard, Meredith Thompson, Olivia Sicuro, Taylor Warne, Ellie Schubert, Megan Norsworthy, Ava Wendt, Addison Maloney, and myself, were asked to design and create costumes for the Upper School spring production of Descendants, we were more than happy to help bring the show to life. To begin the project, our teacher, Mrs. Crittendon, divided us into four groups. Each group was assigned one of four well-known villains from various Disney movies. These villains were Maleficent from Sleeping Beauty, Cruella de Vil from 101 Dalmatians, Jafar from Aladdin, and the Evil Queen from Snow White.
After being assigned a character, the first step was to observe color schemes. As a class, we watched clips of the movie to take notes and get an idea of how to convey the characters’ looks on the stage as opposed to on the screen. Throughout the brainstorming process, multiple sketches were made, and some of them were displayed in the foyer outside the theater while the play was going on. Once color was added to the sketches, we headed over to the costume room to choose suitable pieces and fabrics for each group. Then, we were able to start the physical process of assembling the costumes.
Bringing the designs off the paper and onto mannequins was no easy task. Before we could begin sewing, we had to communicate with the actors themselves to ensure their costumes would be exceptional. It was very helpful to have them be part of our work. Each creation took a lot of teamwork and a multitude of materials and tools. For example, to create Jafar’s costume, one group used floral foam to give the shoulders a dramatic flair. Some groups used a sewing machine, some sewed solely by hand, and others used a combination. As a whole, the class was very excited to get to see our creativity take form.
In the final days of the project, it was reasonable to be anxious about how each costume would look onstage. Nevertheless, they looked amazing, and the actors thought so as well. Aside from the costumes of the villains, members of a separate creative team worked on the outfits for the other characters. I worked specifically on this area of the musical with Sarah Henry Havard, Taylor Warne, and Addie Brady.
“Weaving curriculums and working closely with the Theater and Music departments makes the Visual Arts come to life. The students loved seeing their creativity and hard work on stage during the performance. This was the first time my classes have created costumes for the theater department but definitely won't be the last,” says Upper School art teacher, Mrs. Crittendon.
This amazing show would not have been possible without the talent and care of the show’s director, Mrs. Neal, and Music Instructor Miss Willingham. Everyone’s hard work and effort really made Descendants phenomenal!