Tips on working successfully with 35 actresses -- Job one: Wear black.
Thinking of producing Nora and Delia Ephron's "Love, Loss, and What I Wore" with seven different casts over seven months? Sounds like it would all fall into place, doesn't it? Audiences love seeing their favorite stars read the chick-shtick monologues linking items of clothing (and accessories!) to experiences by turns silly, cringe-inducing, poignant, and heartwarming.
It's a staged reading, so nobody has to be off-book. You don't need a set, just five chairs and five music stands. And since the cast wears all-black, costuming is a walk in the...Nordstrom. Right?
Sure. But there are some hidden pitfalls. Here are five tips from the behind-the-scenes team at the Geffen Playhouse's run (which closes Nov. 19) before you get started:
1. Cast early and often. Stars are busy people and tend to get roles on "Desperate Housewives" at the last minute.
2. Put the five actresses in a communal dressing room. This will lead to intense bonding and a team spirit and, from time to time, comparing of surgical scars.
3. Use a "top-down" management style when assigning the monologues to avoid competition over everybody's favorite, "I Hate My Purse."
4. Don't send all five women up to wardrobe at the same time.
5. Don't give each one photo approval over the group publicity shot.
Margaret Gray's complete story is here.
Above: The "Love, Loss, and What I Wore" team: from left, stage manager Young Ji, casting director Phyllis Schuringa and director Jenny Sullivan. Credit: Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times)