Mary Ellen Butler, director of "The Producers" at the Palace Theatre in Georgetown, saw an effect in the movie that is based on the Broadway show that she really, really liked. she asked us if we could figure out how to reproduce it on stage.
It is, of course, the one that occurs when Ulla's dress starts out short and turns into a ballroom dancing gown during a dance.
"Sure we can," sez I...
"All we have to do is take a long dress, hitch up the skirt so it looks like a short dress, and do it all with one fastener, so that the actress can release it in the middle of a dance."
Of course, I had no idea HOW to do it, and neither did Ramona. Such effects are usually the province of the computer animation department.
Did I mention that the play is set in 1959, so a modern style, which might be easier to adapt, is out?
Here is the front view of the long gown. I put some sparkly buttons by the hook and eye, hopefully to distract the audience from the fact that there's a big old ugly fastener there.
And here is the back.
Short, it looks like this from the front:
And like this in the back.
It has to fasten with one hook, so that Ulla can unhook it while dancing. It also has to survive some dancing, including a couple of lifts, before being let down. You would have laughed, Dearly Beloved, to see me waltzing that dress dummy around the kitchen!
They are telling me it works. After "Romeo and Juliet" closes, I shall have to see it for myself.