Elphaba dress made for original Broadway production of Wicked


Dress, part of a costume made for the character Elphaba for the original Broadway production of the musical Wicked. The dress is made from a variety of dark printed and painted pieces of fabric that have been ripped and sewn back together, leading it to appear black under certain lighting but actually revealing shades of color and patterns upon close inspection. It has puffy shoulders and long sleeves, with a V-shaped bodice and high neck. Many of the edges in the costume are left with ragged edges and piece of fabric hanging down. The inside of the dress is lined with black satin fabric that has been sewn together with the dress to allow for quick changes and easy movement. Costume designer Susan Hilferty called the dress style “twisted Edwardian” and intended its design to evoke images of gemstones embedded in soil, with its fabric striations mimicking strata of earth.

Wicked is one of the most popular and influential works of American musical theater of the 21st century. The musical, with music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz and book by Winnie Holzman, opened on Broadway at the Gershwin Theatre in 2003, and has gone on to become the fourth-longest running show in Broadway history, as well as one of the most financially successful. The show’s plot is based on the 1995 Gregory Maguire novel Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West, which revises and expands on the characters and mythology of L. Frank Baum's early 20th century Oz book series and the 1939 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer musical film The Wizard of Oz. Wicked tells the story of a pair of witches, Elphaba and Glinda, whose become friends before their clashing personalities, worldviews, and events in their homeland of Oz force them apart. The story notably fleshes out the backstory, motivations, and humanity of Elphaba, the “Wicked Witch of the West” of Baum’s Oz series, empathetically portraying her struggle for love and acceptance, autonomy, and activism for marginalized creatures.

The original Broadway production of Wicked was nominated for ten Tony Awards in 2004, including Best Musical, Book, Orchestrations, Original Score, Choreography, Costume Design, Lighting Design, Scenic Design, and two nominations for Best Actress – for Idina Menzel (Elphaba) and Kristin Chenoweth (Glinda). Menzel won the Best Actress award, and the show also won the Tony Awards for Best Scenic Design and Best Costume Design. The show opened to mixed critical reviews, with Menzel and Chenoweth singled out for near-unanimous praise, but over time, it has been reviewed more favorably, and has become one of the most commercially popular and successful Broadway productions of all time.

Date Made: 2012before 2012

Maker: Hilferty, Susan

Location: Currently not on view

Place Made: United States: New York, New York

Subject: Musical TheaterTheaterWitchcraft


See more items in: Culture and the Arts: Entertainment, Popular Entertainment


Exhibition Location:

Data Source: National Museum of American History

Id Number: 2012.0247.01Accession Number: 2012.0247Catalog Number: 2012.0247.01

Object Name: dress

Physical Description: fabric (overall material)ribbon (overall material)paint (overall material)Measurements: overall: 72 in x 36 in x 30 in; 182.88 cm x 91.44 cm x 76.2 cm

Guid: http://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ng49ca746ad-f09e-704b-e053-15f76fa0b4fa

Record Id: nmah_1449804

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