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Costumes the belle of the ball in 'Beauty and the Beast' at Pikes Peak Center

October 10, 2014
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photo - Ann Hould-Ward's sketch of Belle's dress from "Beauty and the Beast." Courtesy Broadway Booking Office NYC.
Ann Hould-Ward's sketch of Belle's dress from "Beauty and the Beast." Courtesy Broadway Booking Office NYC. 

7 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday, Pikes Peak Center, 190 S. Cascade Ave., $37.50-$60; ticketswest, 520-7469.

Eighty wigs, 580 costume pieces, two costume supervisors and one wig supervisor.

Those are the numbers behind a touring production of the musical "Beauty and the Beast," based on the Academy Award-winning 1991 animated film about a woman who falls for a prince transformed into a beast.

The show stops at the Pikes Peak Center on Tuesday and Wednesday.

A Broadway costume designer typically spends about a year preparing for opening night, says designer Ann Hould-Ward, though it was more like 18 months when she worked on the 1994 musical "Beauty and the Beast." She won a Tony Award that year for best costume design.

"This one was very involved," she says from the Paper Mill Playhouse in New Jersey. "It had a lot of tricks and a lot of things that hadn't been done before."

Hould-Ward spent much of her time researching life and fashion choices in the late 1700s.

"One of the important things about doing 'Beauty' is knowing every child or adult who sees it will have probably seen the movie," she says. "Their wishes need to be upheld. The beautiful yellow dress when she falls in love with the beast - that's a quintessential piece of who Belle is. We have a brand new Belle costume with pink and yellow beading and thousands of layers of chiffon on it. My granddaughter will come see the show, and she wants to see that yellow dress."

As a child, Hould-Ward loved to draw. Every night she'd lie in bed, drawing pretty dresses and wondering where that hobby would take her. After a theater degree from Mills College in California and a Master of Fine Arts from the University of Virginia, she landed an internship in New York City in 1978 with Patricia Zipprodt, a noted costume designer.

Since then, she's earned two other Tony nominations, for "Into the Woods" and "Sunday in the Park with George," and designed costumes for Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, the American Ballet Theatre and Metropolitan Opera.

"It's a hard profession, a difficult life," she says. "It's all consuming and very ephemeral - only there for the moment - but where else could a girl from Montana have gotten those opportunities."

And even after several decades, "Beauty and the Beast" retains its popularity.

"The story is very beautiful and the music is glorious," Hould-Ward says. "It tells a story that if we look deeper than what's right before our eyes, we find that basis of humanity that connects us. And we certainly need to tell our children that right now as we watch our world explode."

JEN MULSON, THE GAZETTE, 636-0270, 
JEN.MULSON@GAZETTE.COM

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