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From Canyon To Cove: Bringing 'Lynch' to life on stage

August 05, 2010|Cindy Frazier
  • Cindy Frazier as "Lynch" and David Stoneman as "Applegate" in "Damn Yankees.
Cindy Frazier as "Lynch" and David Stoneman…

After my stint with Gallimaufry in the recent production of "Damn Yankees," I can report the following: The foundation of any good musical is underwear. And that goes for the men as well as the women.

We were all pulling on layers of the tightest, most slimming, flattening fabrics under our costumes. I was lucky: I only had to put my costume on once. Some of the star performers were constantly running off stage in a panic to change clothes. It's no wonder some of them decided to use the wings of the stage as their dressing room. I have to say that we probably all saw more of each other than one would expect in a place of business other than a tanning salon.

Looking good is half the battle when you are faced with walking on stage with a bevy of talented performers who have been "trodding the boards" for years. If you look the part, the rest will — or should — follow.

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My first challenge was realizing that my character, "Lynch," was written for a man. I was aghast when I watched the 1958 movie version of "Damn Yankees" and saw the actor who played the role of the "senior reporter": He was, ahem, portly, balding, and had a big stogie between his fingers in all the scenes. Yipes. Where was I supposed to go with that?

Then I got very lucky with my costume. Julie Josephson, of Gallimaufry, said the vintage "Joan Crawford" blazer had been in the company's wardrobe for five years and no one had ever been able to wear it — until I walked in the door. It was obviously one of her treasured costume pieces. "Every year I bring it out in hopes of using it," she told me. "You're the first one it actually fits."

After two weeks of rehearsal, on costume day, I had arrived with a checked wool skirt I found at Goodwill that morning for about $5, thinking it would go with several blazers I had on hand. Then the Joan Crawford blazer came out and we — Julie; the costumer, Darlene; and artistic director Steve Josephson — were all delighted to see that not only did the blazer fit, but the skirt I brought was a perfect match for it. It just needed to be hemmed about 5 inches.

The Crawford blazer has such wide shoulder pads that I found myself bumping into doorways and people until I got used to wearing it. Or was it wearing me?

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