SAXTONS RIVER, Vt. – Feathers, fur, leather, lamé, gauze, and glitter, with touches of chain, rope, jewels, sequins and other adornments are some of the many materials that pass through the creative hands of Sandy Klein as she crafts costumes for the upcoming Main Street Arts production of “Jesus Christ Superstar,” opening Thursday, March 29 at the Bellows Falls Opera House for a two-weekend run.
The costumer is drawing inspiration from Burning Man, an annual gathering in the west that explores artistic self-expression, for free wheeling outfits that will clothe cast members in roles from member of the mob to the most powerful officials in Jerusalem, including Herod and the high priests.
“The costumes need to be big and make a huge statement,” she said, “because the stage is so vast.”
One stand-out statement will be Gavy Kessler as Pontius Pilate parading on drywall stilts, dressed all in black and silver with a leather neckpiece fashioned from rubber donated by a local tire shop. Another will be the high priests in oversize black hats inspired by a statue Klein found online.
Rope, gauze, silk, straw, tulle, wool, velvet, and metal are also on Klein’s materials list. For the soldiers who arrest Jesus, she fashioned helmets from marching band hats, adding inverted brushes to give them a Roman feel, and the faceless crowd that follows Jesus is dressed in robes made of dozens of strips in different fabrics.
Also the creative director of Brattleboro’s New England Youth Theatre, where she is credited with creating “extraordinary costumes,” Klein is in her second season as costumer for Main Street Art’s winter show, having worked on last year’s “Sweeney Todd: the Demon Barber of Fleet Street production.”
She credits the show’s director, David Stern, with having a “huge vision” of the statement he wants to make with the costumes and with the ability to convey that to her.
Klein takes Stern’s ideas, adds her own and builds a wardrobe by repurposing outfits and materials she is constantly adding to her stores.
Assisting Klein with this show is her assistant, Veda Crewe, and some of her young colleagues at NEYT. She has also drawn in Connor Simonds of Saxtons River, whom Klein noticed hanging around MSA in a great coat he purchased online. Simonds said that since his new involvement he has been “cured of video gaming” and that MSA is his new family. Klein was grateful for his help recently as she prepared to move the costume collection to the Opera House where rehearsals will begin on the big stage after months of rehearsing in Saxtons River.
The rock musical with music by Andrew Lloyd Weber and lyrics by Tim Rice features a cast of 50 who will perform March 29, 30, and 31 and April 5, 6, and 7 at 7:30 p.m., with Saturday matinees March 31 and April 7 at 2 p.m.