100 Creatives 2012: Macy Perrone, Costume Designer

Categories: 100 Creatives

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The Nacarima Society at the Ensemble Theatre
If you've gone to the theater in Houston, chances are you've seen costume designer Macy Perrone's work. She recently worked on Dog Act for Main Street Theater; that show was filled with apocalyptic scavengers that had a steam punk vibe. She also costumed the comedy The Nacirema Society at the Ensemble Theatre. Nacirema Society was set in the 1960s and centered on a wealthy black family. That required lots of lush period pieces as well as clothing that showed the difference between wealthy blacks from the south and working class African Americans from the north. During a formal dinner scene, one character, played by Joyce Anastasia, was dressed in a gown with a large bow across the chest, the end running all the way to the floor (see above).

"[Joyce Anastasia] is hilarious and her character is so funny," Perrone tells us. "That dress was something I fought for because when I initially put the bow on the front, [the director] was convinced that that was just silly, but I was convinced in my mind that that's how it had to be. It was perfect for her character. When we got her in front of an audience, they loved it.

"It's my job to help visually tell the story and for that character, that dress told you a lot about her," says Perrone, who, originally from Utah, came to Houston in 2006 to work with the Houston Grand Opera.

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Photo courtesy of Macy Perrone
Comedy of Errors at Utah State University Theater
What she does: "I always say I'm a freelance designer for theater. I always get the question, 'You must love Halloween.' And no, I don't. I don't love Halloween," she deadpans. "All of the places that I usually shop are so crowded with people getting costumes. If I go shopping for make-up, the store will be out of what I want or it will be filled with people and I think, 'Agh! You all are slowing me down.' So no, I really don't like Halloween."

After the Halloween question, people usually ask Perrone about working in films. "They always say, 'Oh, do you do movies?' And no, I don't do movies. I do theater. That's what I do, the-a-ter."

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Photo courtesy of Macy Perrone
Comedy of Errors at Utah State University Theater
Why she likes it: "There is nothing more satisfying to me than to sit in a theater and see my work onstage. I still remember the first time I worked on a show and how it felt to think people were going to see my work.

"On every show I do, I work with a lot of really talented people and together we come up with a cohesive piece of art that people can come and see. I do pay a lot of attention to the actor, to making them as good as they can -- or as bad as they can, if that's what their character calls for." Perrone loves shopping for costume pieces and relishes that "eureka" moment when she finds what she thinks is the perfect piece. "I feel it in my gut when a piece is right -- I know that sounds weird, but it's true. I love finding pieces, getting them on the actors and then having the actors use it. Just like that bow on that dress, it emphasized her character."

What inspires her: "The actors inspiring me. It's hard to read a script and visualize it so I really like going to rehearsals and seeing the actors as they're building their characters. That inspires me; it helps me to find a direction for that character that I may not have seen on the page when I read the script."

If not this, then what:"I can't even imagine," she moans. After a pause, she adds, "I used to tell people, if I wasn't a costumer, I'd be an economist, but really I don't know. I think economics are fascinating, but really I have a passion for theater and for the arts. I love creating something new every time I do show."

If not here, then where: "I would like to live in Colorado, or Chicago, because there's a good theater scene there."

What's next: At the time of our conversation, she was working on four different shows: Cinderella for the Ensemble Theatre, From My Mother's Mother for HGOco, and Little House on Prairie for a local youth theater group. More shows are already on her schedule.

More Creatives for 2012
(In order of most recently published; click here for the full page).

Elsa Briggs, Painter, jewelry maker
Baldemar Rodriguez, film director/producer and actor
Linarejos Moreno, photographer

Heather Rainwater, artist, jewelry maker
Detria Ward, actress and entrepreneur
Justin Cronin, book author
Mark Ivy, actor
Lauren Luna, painter and shoe designer

Sarah Cortez, writer

Kent Dorn, drawer, painter, artist
Lillian Warren, painter
Carl Lindahl, folklorist, UH professor
Sutapa Ghosh, film producer and Indian Film Festival of Houston organizer
Tom Stell, actor, writer, director
Gregory Oaks, teacher and Poison Pen co-founder

Oliver Halkowich, dancer and performer
Lupe Mendez, poet and poem pusher

Jason Nodler, artistic director, playwright, director
Ana Treviño-Godfrey, musician

Matthew Detrick, classical musician
Travis Ammons, filmmaker
Florence Garvey, actress
Julia Gabriel, artist, designer and backpack maker

Rebecca French, choreographer and FrenetiCore co-founder

Kiki Neumann, found object folk artist
Flynn Prejean, Poster Artist
JoDee Engle, dancer
David Rainey, actor, artistic director and teacher
Geoff Hippenstiel, painter, art instructor
Jessica Janes, actress and musician
Dennis Draper, actor and director

Mat Johnson, novelist and tweeter
Orna Feinstein, printmaker and installation artist

Adriana Soto, jewelry designer
Domokos Benczédi, Noise and Collage Artist
Robert Boswell, Book Author, UH Prof
Patrick Turk, visual artist
Elizabeth Keel, playwright
Bob Martin, designer
Mary Lampe, short film promoter and developer
Nisha Gosar, Indian classical dancer
Jeremy Wells, painter
George Brock, theater teacher
Radu Runcanu, painter
Ariane Roesch, Mixed-Media
Sandie Zilker, art jewelry maker
Philip Hayes, actor

Patrick Palmer, painter
Ana Mae Holmes, Jewelry Designer
John Tyson, actor
Jerry Ochoa, violinist and filmmaker
Raul Gonzalez, painter, sculptor, photographer
Roy Williams, DJ of medieval music
Laura Burlton, photographer
David Peck, fashion designer
Rebecca Udden, theater director
Donae Cangelosi Chramosta, vintage designer handbag dealer
Paul Fredric, author
John Sparagana, photographer
Damon Smith, musician and visual artist
Geoff Winningham, photographer

Johnathon Michael Espinoza, visual artist
Jaemi Blair Loeb, conductor

Katya Horner, photographer
Johnathan Felton, artist
Nicoletta Maranos, cosplayer

Carol Simmons, hair stylist
Joseph "JoeP" Palmore, actor, poet
Greg Carter, director
Kenn McLaughlin, theater director
Justin Whitney, musician
Antone Pham, tattoo artist
Susie Silbert, crafts

Lauralee Capelo, hair designer
Marisol Monasterio, flamenco dancer
Carmina Bell, promoter and DJ
ReShonda Tate Billingsley, writer
Kiki Lucas, choreographer and director
J.J. Johnston, theater director
Mary Margaret Hansen, artist
Richard Tallent, photographer
Viswa Subbaraman, opera director
Emily Sloan, sculptor and performance artist
Sonja Roesch, gallery owner
Enrique Carreón-Robledo, conductor
Sandy Ewen, musician
Camella Clements, puppeteer

Wade Wilson, gallery owner

Magid Salmi, photographer
Carl Williams, playwright

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