Set designer Daniel Conway, who heads the design MFA program at The University of Maryland, found the period door hardware he needed and “an amazing stained glass transom window” for The Glass Menagerie at The Brass Knob. The store offers a “wide variety of period hardware, lighting fixtures, and architectural details, doors, and windows.” Conway also found “a perfect set of pressed stainless steel grill backings that lent a real authenticity” to his set for Two Trains Running.
Centerstage properties manager Jennifer Stearns visits Second Chance, four warehouses with everything from architectural salvage to antiques. At Great Stuff by Paul, she has found Chinese lunch pails, Canadian zap buckets, and French bread baskets, and at Wazobia, African sculpture, masks and jewelry. AAA Antique Mall is good for filler and period pieces.
Centerstage finds interns for scenic painting and costumes at The Maryland Institute College of Art. Director of production Drayton Foltz fills many entry-level jobs with those interns; the school and the Greater Baltimore Cultural Alliance are also good for overhire.
Costume designer Anne Kennedy likes to shop in downtown DC, especially in the Adams Morgan neighborhood. She also likes the Georgetown Flea Market and Polly Sue's Vintage Shop.
Deb Sivigny visits Takoma Underground for “vintage accessories, especially glasses and bakelite jewelry” and says the entire Takoma Park area has great vintage finds, reasonably priced. Stein's Theatrical and Dance Supply is the “best dealer of Kryolan makeup, as well as dancewear and shoes,” Sivigny adds, noting that designers get discounts.
Sivigny uses H & H Outdoors for army-navy and camping gear, which has “great prices and helpful service for the non-uniform savvy.” Value Village in Langley Park, MD, a large thrift store, is “great for men's suits, shoes, and coats.” And she says Arise is “the only place in town to get vintage kimono, obi, and gorgeous textiles from Asia.”
Joe Salasovich, costume shop manager at the Arena Stage, also heads to Arise for all things Japanese. “Paul MacLardy is an authority on Japanese dress, and his collection shows it,” he says. “His book on kimonos, available at their store, is a must-have for anyone interested in Japanese dress.”
Salasovich says Don Roderigo Restrepo at Old Town Shoe and Luggage Repair, “can handle any repair of anything leather and does custom sole work (everything from platforms, lifts, changing heels, and dance rubber). He has even built shoes for us.” His dry cleaner pick is Presto Valet. “Presto's environmentally safe cleaning process has been gentle for our costumes and their service has been impeccable,” Salasovich says.
“Embassy Opticians will put clear/plano anti-reflective lenses in just about any pair of frames in about a day,” Salasovich says. “They are fantastic for unusual eyeglass frames.” Embassy recently helped the Arena turn an actor's brown eyes blue.
“Ed Dawson is a fantastic theatrical tailor specializing in men's period and modern suiting. He does full mock-ups and fittings for suits he builds, and he is a great guy to call when you have one suit too many to build. His ‘20s through ‘40s suits are great,” says Salasovich.
LIGHT AND SOUND
Chris Lewton, master electrician at the Arena Stage, says they almost always use Barbizon Mid-Atlantic for theatrical lighting purchases and system service. “They understand our business and are able to consistently meet our needs in a timely manner,” he says. For rentals, the nearest are Main Light Industries, Inc. and BSL Productions.
Sound designer Martin Desjardins frequents Systems Wireless in nearby Virginia, a “top notch, national sales, rental, and service company for all things wireless.” He also likes the House of Musical Traditions, run “by dedicated and amazingly knowledgeable staff,” specializing in instruments and recordings from around the world.
Kennedy finds inspiration in the Prints and Photographs division of the U.S. Library of Congress, and Desjardins uses its “incredible repository of sheet music, recorded music, and audio recordings.” Sivigny says all the museums in the Smithsonian Institution are invaluable — and all of them are free. Desjardins likes the “vast collection of classical and liturgical music at the Music Library at Catholic University. An extremely skilled library staff make this an invaluable resource for scores, sheet music, theory, and history texts,” he says.
Conway reports that DC is on a theatre building spree, with three theatres under construction and four recent openings, including two additions to the Studio Theatre complex. “Resident designer Russel Metheney served as chief architect on them. The new space retains the intimate thrust form of the first two spaces built by the theatre (under 300 seats) but also presents a dramatic vertical orientation (the grid is nearly 24' high),” says Conway.
Sivigny applauds the Rorschach Theatre in Washington DC, “a small theatre with big ideas. In its five seasons, the theatre has produced shows in a greenhouse, gutted school auditorium, and now in a former church sanctuary.” She says University of Maryland Clarice Smith Center for the Performing Arts hosts “a myriad of concerts, productions, recitals, and guest artists each year.” Desjardins likes Round House Theatre, a growing company with a committed staff.
Everyone appreciates the big three: the Arena Stage, Centerstage, and The Shakespeare Theater in DC, praising them for professionalism, artistic vision, and production resources. Foltz, who says the Centerstage staff ensures that spectators enjoy themselves from the time they come in the door to the time they leave the parking garage, appreciates the Everyman, a 200-seat house that also creates a total experience, in this case with a small staff.
If you have used design resources in Atlanta, Orlando, Seattle, Providence, or Minneapolis, please contact Davi Napoleon at firstname.lastname@example.org.
WHERE TO GO IN DC:
AAA Antique Mall (Hanover, MD): 410-551-4101
The Brass Knob: www.thebrassknob.com
Great Stuff by Paul (Frederick, MD): www.greatstuffbypaul.com
Greater Baltimore Cultural Alliance: www.baltimoreculture.org
The Maryland Institute College of Art: www.mica.edu
Second Chance (Bethesda, MD): email@example.com, 301-652-6606
Wazobia (Baltimore, MD): www.absoluteart.com/african/Wazobia/Wazobia_sl1.shtml
Arise: 202-291-0770, www.arisedc.com
Ed Dawson: 410-866-9997
Embassy Opticians, Inc.: 202-785-5700, www.embassyeyecare.com
Georgetown Flea Market: www.georgetownfleamarket.com
H & H Outdoors (Baltimore, MD): 410-752-2580
Old Town Shoe and Luggage Repair: 703-299-0655
Polly Sue's Vintage Shop: 301-270-5511
Presto Valet: 703-998-6464
Steins Theatrical and Dance Supply: 703-522-2660, http://users.erols.com/steins2
Takoma Underground: www.takoma-underground.com
Value Village: www.nccinc.org/village
Barbizon Mid-Atlantic: 703-750-3900, http://shop.barbizon.com
BSL Productions: www.bslproductions.com
Main Light Industries, Inc.: http://mainlight.com
House of Musical Traditions: www.hmtrad.com
Systems Wireless: 800-542-3332, www.swl.com
The Catholic University of America: http://libraries.cua.edu/welcome.html
Smithsonian Institution: www.si.edu/research
The U.S. Library of Congress: 202-707-5000, www.loc.gov
Arena Stage: www.arenastage.org
Centerstage (Baltimore, MD): www.centerstage.org
Everyman Theatre: www.everymantheatre.org
Rorschach Theatre: www.rorschachtheatre.com
Round House Theatre: www.round-house.org
The Shakespeare Theatre: www.shakespearedc.org
The Studio Theatre: www.studiotheatre.org
University of Maryland, Clarice Smith Center for the Performing Arts: http://claricesmithcenter.umd.edu
[Editor's Note: All information is provided by area designers and omissions are possible.]