How do you transform a 14 x18 foot stage into the parlor of a mansion on Washington Square in 1850, inhabited by elegantly dressed characters from a bygone era on a shoe string budget? It was accomplished through a great deal of artistic creativity and generous friends of the theater. The beautifully appointed stage set, props and costumes of the heiress were gathered from many different sources. The director, Bernice Garfield-Szita, created the stage design concept and costume plot and then proceeded to gather wonderfully talented artisans to help her make the designs a reality.
The stage construction was accomplished by a hard working team led by Lou Palermo and assisted by Anthony Greco and others. They spent many hours re-configuring the small stage area to accommodate the lovely period furniture and props loaned to the theater by two local antique dealers, Gregory S. Goldman of Antiques and Fine Art of Freehold and Stillwell House Antiques of Manalapan. Additional pieces came from the private collection of the director gathered from many sources such as garage sales, thrift stores and family treasures. The attractive custom drapes were once a part of Center Player’s volunteer Fran Lehrfeld’s home, now recycled to the set of the Heiress.
The women’s costumes were imaginatively sewn and re-constructed by the talented hands of Lisa Chatenka, Anna Kofman (a very creative teen) and Lorraine Kofman. The material they had to work with were old prom dresses, bridesmaid’s gowns, fabrics and trims from yard sales and the personal wardrobe pieces of cast members. Jill Zaitchick gathered her costume from her own collection of Victorian style dresses and accessories. The elegant men’s suits and tuxedos for the run of the show were provided by the Dante/Zeller of Freehold for a tiny sum. This was done in the height of prom and wedding season! The handsome silk top hats were on loan from the Atlas Pythagoras Masonic Lodge #10.
Center Players does not rent or pay for full sets and costumes made by professionals; all is created by devoted volunteers and kind friends of the arts. We are proud of our shoe string budget accomplishments. We are a community of people who love theater within our community!