Read it and WEEP, then feel free to leave comments below. (Although, it would be better if you did not weep, as it is not a particularly sad scene, and I would worry about your emotional stability.)
“So are all of the costumes kept here?”
“Each production has its own wardrobe department, but, yes, when the costumes aren’t being used they’re housed here, in the shop. Our goal today is to find some that might fit you.”
Amanda leads me to the right aisle and starts hoisting down clusters of hangers, on which there have been draped every manner of heavy fabric, sewn together in intricate and impossible designs. These costumes are so large and elaborate they look more like wildly festive outdoor tents than any kind of wardrobe for humans. She holds out my first costume, which reminds me of a brownish orange barrel, held together by a structure of hoops, studs, and snaps.
Utterly perplexed, my first instinct is to initiate a headfirst attack—so I basically lunge forward with my chin tucked to my chest, like a land diver. This is apparently very wrong.
“Oh, nope, careful there,” says Amanda. “It looks like it buttons here, but actually you just pull it apart with the snaps there, and step inside right there.” She pries apart the barrel then collapses it around me, until I am swimming in hoops and fabric. “Over time, you would learn how to get everything on and off, plus you’d have a dresser helping you during the actual show.”
“This is great news because I can barely dress myself,” I say.
Next we make our way to a steep-shelved library of plastic bins, each of which contain dozens of colorful shoes, labeled in Sharpie with names of former Wicked cast members. It seems the production keeps a physical record of everyone who’s ever passed through—a monument to the talent that’s helped make it all possible. I see names that read like chapter headings in a theater encyclopedia: Idina Menzel, Eden Espinosa, Julia Murney. Confronted by this visual reminder of how small I am, I feel my throat gulp, in that cartoon sort of way.
“Hmm,” says Amanda, kneading her palms together. “Why don’t we give those a try—the Elphaba shoes.”
She scoops up one bin and starts to dig. I peer over her shoulder to see folds of supple leather, zippers, and laces, doubling back on each other, like some swirling shoe orgy, until a handsome pair of brown laced boots emerge from the chaos. They’ve been fashioned to look worn and distressed, and so carry with them inalienable character and story, like an old medicine man.
“Here we go,” Amanda says.
I take a deep breath and slink my foot toward her, as if the boot must first grant me permission to enter its domain.
But in seconds, I, Felicia Ricci, am in Elphaba’s shoes—a living metaphor. I wiggle my toes, carving out my own little space in this legacy of greatness.
“How do they feel?” Amanda asks.
“They feel perfect,” I say.