Friday, November 29, 2013

..Miles White..

Two original costume designs for the Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein hit musical drama Carousel.  

  ..White was the costume designer for the Theatre Guild  production, which opened on Broadway, April 19, 1945.  The drawing numbered 12, possibly for “This Was a Real Nice Clambake,” shows a young couple; the man wears a sailor’s/beach outfit comprised of a blue and white striped shirt, blue pants and a straw boater and the woman wears a yellow dress, a hat decorated with ribbons, and carrying a fan.  The drawing numbered 21-22, possibly Julie and Louise, shows an elegantly dressed young woman in a pink and green frock with an elaborately layered skirt and matching hat, carrying a pink parasol, and beside her a little girl.  White titled each drawing in large capital letters “Carousel” and placed the figures outdoors in a seaside landscape with the carnival and carousel, respectively, in the distance..

  ..Carousel is set in a coastal New England village in the 1870s and '80s.   It tells the story of Julie Jordan, a shy mill girl who falls for a charismatic but troubled carnival barker, Billy Bigelow, while her best friend Carrie chooses a different path and marries a somewhat stodgy but dependable fisherman.  The original production starred John Raitt as Billy Bigelow. The score by Rodgers and Hammerstein includes popular Broadway show tunes such as June is Bustin' Out All Over and You'll Never Walk Alone.  The show was revived on Broadway in the 1950s and in 1995, and a film version was made in 1956..

  ..Miles White was a successful and prolific costume designer.  During his long career, he was known for his imaginative designs that fit the period, expressed the character's personality, and looked terrific in motion during dance sequences.  Born in California and educated at the University of California at Berkeley, he moved to New York looking for work creating costumes for theater and designed his first show in 1938.  During a career spanning several decades, White designed for numerous Broadway shows and six motion pictures, along with Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus, the Ziegfield Follies, ice shows and ballets.  From 1943, when he designed the costumes for Rodgers and Hammerstein's groundbreaking musical Oklahoma, he "dominated musical comedy costuming for more than 25 years," according to one theater historian.. 

  ..Other notable productions include Carousel, Pal Joey, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, Bye Bye Birdie and The Unsinkable Molly Brown.  White won two Tony Awards in the 1950s and received three Academy Award nominations for his costumes for Cecil B. DeMille's The Greatest Show on Earth, Mike Todd's Around the World in 80 Days, and There's No Business Like Show Business.  His last Broadway show, Tricks received a Tony Award nomination in 1973 and five years later he was one of two costume designers for the film The Wiz.. 

  ..Today, White's costume sketches are in many museum collections, including the Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, The John and Mabel Ringling Museum and the Museum of the City of New York. Two Miles White costume designs for the 1945 Theatre Guild production of Carousel are in the collection of Harvard Theatre Collection, Houghton Library, Harvard University.  One costume design by him for Carousel is in the collection of the Museum of the City of New York..