At the beginning of every Broadway creative process, all that exists is an empty stage. Using craft, imagination, and theatre magic, theatre designers bring a production to life, transporting an audience to worlds near and far.
It’s a challenging feat for any one production, but for many Broadway designers, a life in the theatre involves re-inventing the wheel again and again, remaining inspired through a vast career. Playbill caught up with Tony Award-winning costume designer Catherine Zuber, currently Tony nominated for her work on Moulin Rouge!, to unpack her approach to design, her creative process, and to explore her favorite theatrical creations.
“The most important element of creating theatre, for me, is the audience. In witnessing the varied emotions a theatrical experience can inspire, the responsibility is daunting. Theatre is a collaboration between directors, fellow designers, associates, assistants, actors, writers, musicians, back-stage crew, costume workshops, and ateliers. Creating the right costume for each of the characters enhances the storytelling. Even before an actor says a word of dialogue or sings a note, their costume gives us visual information. It starts with reading the script and many meetings with the director and set and lighting designers. The process is enjoyable, challenging, and totally rewarding. I am acutely aware of how fortunate I am to work as a costume designer and value each and every project.”
From Moulin Rouge! to My Fair Lady, take an in-depth look at five productions from Zuber’s Broadway career.