BOSTON (CBS) — From the evil step-sisters to the fairy godmother, and to Cinderella herself, every costume in the Boston Ballet’s production of Cinderella is crucial. More than a dozen people work in the ballet’s wardrobe department to help create the magic on stage.
“Take care of them, prep them, steam them, iron them, clean them, make sure they’re in place for each performance,” lists Boston Ballet’s wardrobe supervisor Heather McLernon. She plays a key role in making sure all 200 costumes for the production are in perfect condition.
It’s no easy task. Some of the costumes date back to the 70s, but their age doesn’t make them any less spectacular.
“They’re very elaborate, there’s necklaces, there’s headpieces, the costumes are sometimes multiple pieces and multiple parts,” explains artist Dawn Atkins.
Like most of the company, Atkins portrays different roles in the ballet during different performances.
You may see her as one of the stars shimmering on stage. “They’re very light and pretty and delicate the way they’ve made these costumes,” says McLernon.
Or dressed in bright yellow as “summer,” one of the seasons. “Summer gets kind of heavier, lower, kind of like embracing the sun, the heat of summer, ” Atkins says.
Both onstage and backstage, teamwork is important. The wardrobe department has just seconds to transform Cinderella into a princess.
“It’s a very fast change, it’s this moment where the fairy godmother is supposed to be turning her into the ballgown,” explains McLernon. “Her entrance is fabulous but it’s very stressful, the coordination of just getting that change done quickly.”
And then all eyes are on Cinderella’s feet. The dazzling shoes, like many pointe shoes the dancers wear, are custom made.
McLernon says, “They can take up to a year to be made and they’re all hand done.”
But the work is worth it as fantasy comes alive on stage.
“It’s a beautiful show and it should be, everyone should come see it because it’s just beautiful. The dancers do an incredible job, the sets are amazing, the costumes are amazing,” McLernon adds.
Boston Ballet’s production of Cinderella plays at the Citizen’s Bank Opera House through June 8.