Merrimack Repertory Theatre Blog


BACKSTAGE INTERVIEW – MEGAN PERRY

BACKSTAGE INTERVIEW – MEGAN PERRY

A native of in Roscommon, Michigan and a graduate of Northern Michigan University, Megan Perry has been the Costume Shop Manager at Merrimack Repertory Theatre for the past two seasons. At the conclusion of this season Megan will be moving on to Washington D.C. to get married. In between wedding preparations and a busy rehearsal schedule, she was kind enough to take a look back at her time at MRT and share some of her experiences working in Lowell.

Which show had your favorite costumes and why?

Piper Goodeve and Nick Mannix in The Fantasticks. Photo by Meghan Moore

The Fantasticks hands down so far. I think this is most likely the case because it was my first show here and therefore the biggest adventure. In my time here it has also been the biggest show (cast wise) we’ve done. It was a great show to get started with, though not all that complicated as far as changes and costumes went, I felt that the designer (Theresa Squire) had a great concept of how the show should look and I was able to help achieve that along with a ton of support from my current intern and the production manager and everyone else who was good with sand paper. Louisa’s dress is still hanging in the shop and made an appearance in Fabuloso as a prop. The other thing that I enjoyed about this show was the little details that made it fun. The masks, capes, indian breast plate, Red Sox caps, and distressing details that really made it all come together. 

What is your schedule like when a show is in rehearsal, and what are your most important responsibilities during this time? 

During the rehearsal period, my main focus is to keep track of notes coming out of rehearsal so I can either provide Emily (our stage manager) with more information about costume pieces, or make sure that they have all rehearsal pieces I can provide to help make the process easier. The main things that I try to make sure are in rehearsal are shoes, suit coats, purses, jackets… basically anything that can be removed/played with on stage that impacts blocking at all. I also have to help schedule and get fittings taken care of so all of the clothes can be properly fit before tech begins.

Which show was the most challenging for you as the costume shop manager?

Stephen Bent and Rod Kimball in Flings & Eros. Photo by Meghan Moore

Definitely has ended up being The Blonde, the Brunette and the Vengeful Redhead. I have been given the opportunity to work with Arthur Oliver again (he designed Flings & Eros) but this time the show is being put together very differently. For Flings I came in and the show was basically completed and we hit the ground running getting the final details – hats, vests, capes, etc. all put together in a rush before opening. With Blonde I’ve been given renderings and trust and been told to run in a different way. There has been a TON of shopping and I’ve even finally gotten the chance to build a couple of pieces. It is interesting to watch the pieces all come flying together even though it feels as if my list hasn’t gotten any shorter. This is definitely a show that I wish it was possible to gain just one more day in the week or clone myself.

What will you miss most about Merrimack Rep?

That’s an easy one. The people. At MRT I have grown to love the staff as a whole and I find that is a rarity especially in theatre. It’s fun that we go to movies together, eat lunch together, bicker like siblings… and yet we still manage to create awesome works of art in spite or maybe because of our very strange relationships. 

What advice would you give to anyone looking to become a costume shop manager?

I think the best advice I could give to a young manager would be to have confidence in yourself and your abilities and to keep as organized as possible. The biggest road blocks I’ve found myself hitting occur when I am not sure about what I’m doing or if I’m questioning if I’ve already done something. So if you can remain confident in what you do AND keep track of all you’re doing, especially here at MRT when so many different hats are worn, you’ve taken care of half of your problems. The other thing is always keep learning and refining your skills. You never know when your job will change or expand.

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