Local 706 - The Artisan

Spring 2019

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46 • THE ARTISAN SPRING 2019 BACKSTAGE AT ABT'S THE NUTCRACKER T his past holiday season, I had the opportunity to be on the crew for the American Ballet Theatre (ABT) production of The Nutcracker that performed at Segerstrom Center for the Arts. ABT has performed this particular ballet at Segerstrom for the past few holiday seasons. Matter of fact, this happened to be my second time that I've done this production so I knew that The Nutcracker wouldn't be your typical routine theater production. The crew of The Nutcracker was led by Rena Most, Department Head of Wig and Make-up for ABT, and her assistant, Jill Haley. The rest of the crew was Kim Robinson, Department Head for Segerstrom, Joyce Littrell and me. There was about 34 wigs and 30 hairpieces that we took care of. In this Nutcracker production, it had some colorful characters that required specialty make- ups. Most of the specialty make-ups were applied by Rena and Jill. However, I got to apply some character make-up too. My main responsibility was to do the make-up application for the characters of the Arabian King and the Grandmother. If there was time, I got to apply the bee character's lips and any wig that was needed on any corps de ballet. Kim and Joyce's responsibilities were more focused on putting on wigs and hairpieces on the corps de ballet. They also did apply the bee character's lips. I've been working in theater for more than 30 years. I have done many musicals, operas, plays and ballets. The one thing all these types of shows have in common is the duties, also known as a tract, that's performed backstage to make the show consistently happen the same way for each show. Typically, you will be doing the same thing, like putting on a wig or adding make-up to the same performer at the same time, every time. However, on ABT's The Nutcracker ballet, that never happens. It is not because there are no set instruction notes of what is required to do the show. They do have them. It's because most of the dancers do not perform the same role for each performance. Most of the cast can perform multiple roles for each ballet. So B Y D O N N A L E V Y From top: Arabian King and dancers; the wig room; Grandmother; Sugar Plum Fairy and bees; the crew, from left: Kim Robinson, Joyce Littrell, Jill Haley, Donna Levy and Rena Most Photos courtesy of Orange Coast.com

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