Why buy a mass-produced costume when you can rent a one-of-a-kind period outfit from a local theater?
Want to win the best costume contest at this year's Halloween party? Of course you do. Forget those sad outfits in plastic packaging and head for the theater. Theaters throughout the country loan out costumes specially designed for theatrical productions, which means you can get a quality costume no one else will have (plus, your money supports a local business).
Founded in 1947, this community theater in Spokane, Washington, is close to downtown shopping, restaurants, and bars. The theater produces four musicals and two plays a season for its mainstage theater, which seats 339 people, as well as smaller shows for its black box space. The costume shop has a wide selection of clothing including steampunk-style corsets and jackets from their 2014 production of Shakespeare’s The Tempest.
In the heart of Omaha, not far from the quaint cobblestone streets of the Old Market neighborhood, The Rose Theater produces children's shows like Charlotte’s Web and Mary Poppins. The costume shop is located on the ground floor and has large windows looking out to the street so people can watch the costumes being made. After a production closes, costumes are available for rent, including outfits from their production of Ferdinand the Bull.
The Guthrie has been a major contributor to cultural life in the Twin Cities since the 1960s. Located in downtown Minneapolis off the Mississippi River, The Guthrie produces a wide range of productions – from Shakespeare plays to edgy new work. In 2002, the Guthrie teamed up with the Children’s Theatre Company to create CostumeRentals, a single warehouse that stores more than 50,000 theatrical costumes. This costume shop will ship items anywhere in the world.
Located in San Francisco’s Union Square neighborhood, the American Conservatory Theater is one of the top regional theaters in the country. Productions are presented at the historic Geary Theater, which survived the 1906 earthquake. The A.C.T costume shop holds more than 40 years of costumes, and visitors experience what it’s like to be an actor backstage during one hour-long fittings. Rentals include 18th century dresses and suits for adults, for a flat fee of $175.
The Diamond Head Theatre in Honolulu is the third oldest community theater west of the Mississippi. For 100 years, this theater has been producing theatrical works including musicals, comedies, and plays. The costume shop, staffed by volunteers, offers clothing mostly for adults, but they have some outfits for children. A popular request during Halloween season is pirate outfits.
Built as a movie house by Warner Brothers Studios in 1931, this 1776-seat theater in Torrington, Connecticut, now produces five musicals a year with large casts as well as five shows for the studio space. Its wardrobe collection has a versatile selection including costumes from the 1920s from the musical Singing In The Rain. At 8,000 square feet, it’s the largest costume shop in Connecticut.
One hour northeast of Indianapolis, the Muncie Civic Theatre’s productions include The Producers, Fiddler on the Roof, Into the Woods, and The Wizard of Oz. The theater, now in its 84th season, offers 12 theatrical productions a year. Its costume shop includes more than 1,500 costumes for rent. In addition to full outfits, visitors will also find single items, like hats and aprons, for only $5.
Originally an opera house in the late 1800s, the community of Meadville, Pennsylvania, restored and reopened this venue in 1992, after a fire damaged the building. Show posters from 1910 are on display in the theater’s gallery space. With a focus on serving the community, the Academy keeps its prices for all costume rentals affordable at $25, plus a $5 cleaning fee. This includes dresses from their recent production of Cinderella.
Named after its founders Nathan and Ruth Hale, this family theater in West Valley City, Utah, is only a 10-minute drive from Salt Lake City. Its costume warehouse, located a few miles north of the theater on West Alexander Street, includes clothing from past productions such as Les Misérables and A Tale of Two Cities. Customers can also create their own look from items in the shop. Star Wars characters are popular requests this year.
This historic theater in Crystal Falls, Michigan, reopened in 1991 following a restoration of the venue, which was once a movie theater in the 1920s. The theater presents concerts and plays from local groups so its costume closet includes a range of outfits – some from productions, some donated, and some from thrift stores. The weather can get cold on Halloween in the Upper Peninsula so the shop rents warm animal costumes for kids.
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