Sac State theater gets creative with costumes for ‘In the Heights’ musical

Musical to premiere to the public on March 28


Aaron Jackson - The State Hornet

Angela Kruts and Nicole Kelly are two of the actors in the upcoming musical “In the Heights.” Kelly is playing the part of Quinn while Kruts is playing Daniela.

Sac State’s Department of Theatre and Dance is working on a production of the musical “In the Heights,” which is set to premiere on March 28.

The musical takes place in an underprivileged Latino neighborhood of Washington Heights in New York, according to Jan Johnston, costume designer of the show. Its character ensemble required a considerable amount of research and preparation.

“Because it’s a modern show, we haven’t built any of the costumes like we would for a period production,” Johnston said. “Basically, we have pulled things from our stock and I’ve done a lot of thrift shopping every weekend since the semester began. This helps for finding things out of date, which is a lot of what we are looking for.”

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Johnston is also an assistant professor at Sac State, teaching courses in stage makeup and costume construction, technical stage production and costume design.

Nicole Kelly, senior theater major, is playing a character by the name of Quinn in the musical.

“I like the edgy, comfy vibe my costume has,” Kelly said.

Aaron Jackson – The State Hornet
Nicole Kelly is playing the part of Quinn in the upcoming musical “In the Heights.” The musical opens on March 28.

The costume has a slight rugged look consisting of frayed denim shorts, a denim jacket with cut off sleeves and a camouflage shirt. A newsboy hat tops it off.

Angela Kruts, senior theater and dance double major, is playing a hairdresser by the name of Daniela.

“My costumes are very feminine, and I like the fitting as it shows the shape of my body,” Kruts said. “The character fits me and I get to incorporate my own style into it.”

Kruts said she also added earrings as an accessory to her costume that adds more sass to her character.

“It’s really fun to watch the three hairdressers Vanessa, Daniela and Carla because they’re the ones who are most accessorised and most conscious of hair and makeup,” Johnston said.

Students have been helping with not just alterations to costumes, but fittings and makeup as well.

“We have students working on the makeup and then we have an alumna who comes back, helps with glamour looks and is a professional makeup artist,” Johnston said.

The alumna is Elysa Quintella, who was a fashion major at Sac State. She now works as a fashion makeup artist and consultant.

Johnston said she has worked tirelessly to build the perfect wardrobe for each character, and has run into obstacles along the way.

“The biggest challenge of this show has been the shoes, because the actors are so physical and dance so much,” Johnston said. “We have already been blowing shoes out so we have to have lots of spares.”

Johnston has also been the costume designer for past shows such as “The Producers” and “Peter and the Starcatcher.” This production will be the last of her career before she retires at the end of the semester.

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“This is probably one of the larger modern shows that I’ve designed,” Johnston said. While it was time-consuming, in other ways it was less stressful than building from scratch and needing to buy the fabric. It was easier for the costume shop because there wasn’t the volume of work to do like usual.”

The costume shop has not seen its typical amount of work because there is little required building of the costumes for this specific play. Still, help is needed in putting the outfits together.

Aaron Jackson – The State Hornet
Angela Kruts and Nicole Kelly are two of the actors in the upcoming musical “In the Heights.” Kelly is playing the part of Quinn while Kruts is playing Daniela, a hairdresser.

“The biggest challenge is improving on and learning new techniques because each garment is different,” said senior film major Briley Haskins.

Haskins is one of five students who works in the costume shop and helps with the design of the outfits for the musical.

“I love seeing the productions in general, but it’s fun to know that you have played a part in what you actually see on stage,” Haskins said. “It makes you feel like you are a part of the theater community.”