By Daniel Weger, Alum of UNC’s Dramatic Art program and tailor for Assassins
As an alumnus of UNC’s Dramatic Art program, it was a wonderful opportunity to return to PlayMakers Repertory Company to work on this production of Assassins. My work as a tailor and patternmaker has a strong focus on gentlemen’s suitings c. 1750-1950., putting Assassins right in the middle of my favorite era of clothing. Historical suiting throughout the Victorian Era is a great period to recreate. For menswear, the cut of the frock coats and skillful production of these garments is truly an art lost in modern clothing.
I graduated with an MFA in costume production in 2009, and have made my way to becoming one of few remaining men’s patternmakers in New York. Recently, my Broadway credits have included Of Mice and Men, The Book of Mormon, All The Way, Annie, and a number of other stage productions and films. While the numbers of studios have dwindled over the years, there are still many theatrical houses that understand the necessity of proper costume. The production values of all aspects of the performance at PlayMakers are second to none, and are on par with theatrical experiences in larger cities.
The Costume Production program at Chapel Hill is one of the most respected costuming programs in the country. The attention to detail, both technical and historical, is evidenced in the student’s work on stage. For Assassins, I paired designer Anne Kennedy’s research and renderings with my training in classically tailored garments to create the suits for the characters of John Wilkes Booth and Charles Guiteau. The collaboration between a great designer and a knowledgeable costume studio produces costumes that are not only structurally well executed, but also in keeping with the designer’s vision for the production. The suits in Assassins come directly from historical research, with minimal modification for stage aesthetics and actor mobility. Judy Adamson’s costuming program brings these historical designs to life with the same level of quality found in Broadway houses. It was truly a delight to return to PlayMakers to work with all of my old friends again, and I hope that everyone will have as much fun watching this show as I have had helping create the production.