October 12, 2009
Charlene Gross, resident costume designer at The College of Wooster, designed costumes for The Cleveland Playhouse's production of "Inherit the Wind," including this rendering for Ed Dixon, who plays the role of Matthew Harrison Brady.
WOOSTER, Ohio - Costumes designed by Charlene Gross will be featured when The Cleveland Play House presents Inherit the Wind, a courtroom drama based on the 1925 Scopes "Monkey Trial,"
Oct. 23 through Nov. 15.
Gross, a member of The College of Wooster's Department of Theatre and Dance, was chosen by Seth Gordon, who is directing the production in Cleveland. "He saw a show ("Cleveland Heights") I did at the Mandel Jewish Community Center last February and liked my work," said Gross, who graduated from
Ashland University and earned her MFA at New York University. "I am thrilled to have an opportunity to work with such a brilliant director at such a prestigious regional theatre. It is especially gratifying because the Cleveland Play House is the theatre I grew up with."
Gross designed 22 costumes for the production through a process she says involves "research,
communication, collaboration, and a lack of sleep." The end result is a series of renderings or "pretty pictures," which are used by the costume shop staff to "bring the costumes to life."
At Wooster, Gross teaches costume design and stage make-up, and is the resident costume designer for Ohio Light Opera. Between the academic year and the summer opera season, she has designed more than 50 shows on the Freedlander Theatre stage.
Beyond her work in Wooster, she has created costumes for theatres on and off Broadway, as well as across the country and overseas on the West End London stage. Her credits include work with the Seattle Repertory Theatre, The Guthrie Theatre, The Royal Theatre, The Public Theater, and The Manhattan Theatre Club. As an assistant costume designer, she has worked with Emilio Sosa on
"TopDog/UnderDog" and "Crowns," Carrie Robbins on "A Class Act," and Gabriel Berry on "Henry V." She has also created designs for dance at The Yard, The Juilliard School, Dance Space, and Kunningham Studios.
"Inherit the Wind" was inspired by the story of a Tennessee educator who was charged with teaching students about evolution, instead of the state-mandated creationism. Written by Jerome Lawrence and Robert Edwin Lee, the drama contains a powerful confrontation between Matthew Harrison Brady (based on William Jennings Bryan), who believes only what he reads in the Bible, and another, Henry Drummond (based on Clarence Darrow), who defends science and open intellectual inquiry. Broadway veterans Ed Dixon and Scott Jaeck will play Brady and Drummond, respectively.
The Cleveland Play House is the first permanently established professional theatre in the United States. Founded in 1915, it has entertained in excess of 12 million people with more than 1,300 productions, including more than 130 American and/or world premieres. Today, under the leadership of artistic director Michael Bloom and managing director Kevin Moore, The Cleveland Play House "is an artist-driven theatre that serves the Greater Cleveland community by holding true to its mission: To produce plays of the highest professional standards that inspire, stimulate, and entertain our diverse audiences; and to conduct training and educational programs that enhance the
quality of life for those we serve and help to ensure the future of theatre."
Tickets for "Inherit the Wind" are on sale now at The Cleveland Play House box office by calling 216-795-7000 (ext. 4) or online.
1189 Beall Avenue, Wooster, Ohio 44691. (330) 263-2000
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