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PHOTOS: The Swanky Look of Grease (Chanhassen Dinner Theatres)

Chanhassen Dinner Theatres’ new production of Grease features eye-popping costumes by the award-winning costume designer Rich Hamson. Hamson, who has 60 productions at Chanhassen Dinner Theatres under his belt, is a three-time Ivey Award recipient and was named Lavender Magazine‘s 2014 Theatre Artist of the Year and Best Large Theater Costume Designer. Here’s a look at the costumes that Hamson designed for Grease.

Many of the costumes for Grease use vintage fabrics that Rich Hamson obtained from local theatre stocks. Using well-stored vintage fabric, rather than actual clothing from the period, provides a special visual pop due to the fabric not having faded from use and exposure to light. Photo by Dan Norman.
The Teen Angel (Kasano Mwanza) gives Frenchy (Shinah Brashears) the straight talk. Mwanza’s white jacket mimics the cut of the leather jackets worn by Danny and Kenickie. Photo by Dan Norman.
Jan (Therese Walth) and Roger (Evan Tyler Wilson) embrace during their duet “Mooning.” The color pink didn’t have any strong gender associations until the 1970s, when neon pink began to become slowly associated with women. Today, however, pink cars are considered an emblematic representation of the 1950s. Photo by Dan Norman.
A pajama party shows off the variety of 1950s women’s nightwear. Photo by Dan Norman.
Sandy (Caroline Innerbichler) and Danny (Aleks Knezevich) toting leather jackets at the climax of the musical. The zippered leather jacket dates back to 1928, but was popularized by Marlon Brando’s lancer-fronted Schott Perfecto One Star, model #618 jacket in The Wild One (1953). Photo by Dan Norman.
Marlon Brando in The Wild One, wearing the now-iconic Schott Perfecto One Star, model #618. The stars on the epaulettes and several snaps were added to recall the earlier 613 One Star jacket; the jacket became so popularly associated with rebellious youth that it was banned in many American high schools by 1955.
Rizzo (Ruthanne Heyward) and Kenickie (Ben Bakken) enjoy a moment. During World War 2, clothes rationing led to a boom in married women wearing their husbands’ pants while their husbands were deployed in the armed forces. The popularity of trousers with women continued after the war, as seen in Rizzo’s outfit. The bold striping in her shirt is also a common trait of post-rationing fashion. Photo by Dan Norman.
The more sedate stripes on Sandy (Caroline Innerbichler)’s dress recall pre-WW2 fashions, illustrating the character’s conservative tastes. Danny (Aleks Knezevich), by contrast, sports a shirt with a trendy and colorful array of spots under his leather jacket. Photo by Dan Norman.
Marty (Jessica Fredrickson) leads a pajama party in “Freddy, My Love”. Photo by Dan Norman.


Twin Cities Arts Reader