Home Doll house ‘A Quick 5’ with Kristina Lambdin, costume designer for ‘A Christmas Carol’ at the Chesapeake Shakespeare Company

‘A Quick 5’ with Kristina Lambdin, costume designer for ‘A Christmas Carol’ at the Chesapeake Shakespeare Company



Kristina Lambdin, costume designer for “A Christmas Carol” at the Chesapeake Shakespeare Company

The Chesapeake Shakespeare Company will present the holiday classic “A Christmas Carol” based on the story of Charles Dickens. This version has a bit of a twist The annual version of CSC moves the action to a more familiar location right here in Baltimore, rather than taking place in Victorian England. This allows them to bring in a bit of local history and culture while “staying true” to Dickensian history. The adaptation is written by Ian Gallanar and directed by Lizzi Albert and Erin Bone Steele.

The main actors are Greg Burgess (Scrooge), Kathryne Daniels (Mrs. Fezziwig, Mary Pickersgill and others), Jonas Connors-Gray (Christmas Present, Mr. Fezziwig and others), Jose Guzman (Bob Cratchit and the ghost of Jacob Marley, Isaiah Harvey (Fred, Young Scrooge and others), Carolyn Kashner (Christmas Past, Laura and others), Brendan Kennedy (Topper, Robert Carey Long, Josiah and others), Molly Moores (Mrs. Cratchit, Second Gentleman), Diana Gonzalez-Ramirez ( Young Belle, the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come, and others), and B’Jion Wright (Miss Winthrop, Dorothy and others). Younger cast members are Thomas Alex Jones (Schoolboy, Cratchit Child, et al), Vivian Klepper (Martha Cratchit, Party Guest et al), Ryan Macdonald (Schoolboy, Cratchit Child, others), Jaylen Palmer (Schoolboy Scrooge, Peter Cratchit et al), Gennie Bone Steele (Mary Cratchit) and Penny Bone Steele (Fanny).

The company also did a bit of streamlining to make the piece last a perfect 90 minutes (especially for young people) without an intermission.

Kristina Lambkin costumed the CSC’s inaugural 2014 production “A Christmas Carol” and has worked with them ever since.

Kristina Lambdin (Resident Costume Designer) won the Broadway World Best Costume Design Award for her designs for “A Christmas Carol” (2016). Some of her costume credits with CSC include “Adventures of Pericles” (2021), “Dracula” (2013 and 2019); “Anne Frank’s Diary”, “She Bends Over to Conquer”, “Alice in Wonderland”, “Red Velvet”, “Anne of a Thousand Days”, “The Fantasticks”, “Macbeth” (2016); “A Christmas Carol” (2014-2021)); “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” (2005, 2011 and 2014); “The importance of being serious,“The tame shrew” (2006 and 2013); “Romeo and Juliet” (2003, 2012, and student matinees 2015-2019); “A Dollhouse”, “As You Like It” (Broadway World Best of Baltimore Award); and “The country woman”. Broadway World named her one of the 2007 Baltimore Theater Top Performers and won the Greater Baltimore Theater Award for “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” (2005). For more than a decade, she served as costume supervisor for the Baltimore Opera Company, then the Lyric Opera Baltimore.

Can you tell us a bit about yourself)?

I was born and raised in Baltimore County and currently live in Towson. I knew since I was about 13 that I wanted a career in costumes. I graduated in theater arts with a concentration in costume design from Towson University. After graduation, I began my professional career with the Baltimore Opera Company. During my time as a costume coordinator there, I was also able to pursue local freelance costume design opportunities as well as IATSE wardrobe union work. In 2003, I connected with the Chesapeake Shakespeare Company. There was something special about the business and I felt like I had found my “artistic home”. As the business expanded and moved into its home in Baltimore City, I was hired on staff as a resident costume designer and business manager (I wear several hats like many others in performing arts).

This production takes place in Victorian Baltimore rather than England. How does that change the costume, if at all?

The Baltimore setting is mainly reflected in the script and in the set design. I don’t know of any clean fashion trends in Baltimore during the 19e century. I don’t think the Maryland flag has become an everyday fad yet. It gives me a new idea, however. Scrooge can wear Maryland flag underwear!

When you dress up a period piece like “A Christmas Carol” or Shakespeare, comparing that to modern clothing productions, how much research do you do on the type of dress of the period? Does this include the type of tissue?

Designing for any period, including a modern dress, requires extensive research. The method and sources may differ, but it is the same process. It is imperative that research be conducted to ensure that the costumes “match” the time period chosen, but historical accuracy is usually not the goal. You want to interpret research in support of the production concept and join with other production elements to create a unified vision. Costumes are used to visually tell the story. They communicate style, mood, character traits and relationships, as well as period. For historical shows like “A Christmas Carol” I certainly try to get fabrics that look “contemporary” but are also visual interpretations of the written piece.

How many people work in costumes and wardrobes in a production of this size?

Well, it’s mostly just a one-person store. I am the designer, the client, the pattern maker, the cutter, the picker, the craftsman and the milliner. I think you get the idea. Most big shows like this have a budget that allows me to hire an extra hand or two for pre-production assembly help. For the production run, a wardrobe supervisor is hired to be at each performance to look after and prepare the costumes, help the actors get dressed and make quick changes (there are a lot of quick changes. in “A Christmas Carol”). But once the show opens, my job is not done. There are costume repairs, special washing, and costume preparation if a liner needs to continue.

If you could pick out a costume you made to put on in a theater gallery, which one would you choose and why?

Wow I don’t know if I can pick just one. I’ve designed almost fifty shows for CSC, which is probably a thousand costumes to choose from. I have a list of the top ten: Titania, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” (2014); the red and gold outfit of “Henry VIII”; “Anne of a Thousand Days” – the gold and navy blue ensemble by Lady Bracknell; “The Importance of Being Serious” – Lucy Westenra’s black and white striped dress; “Dracula” (2019); the caterpillar, “Alice in Wonderland”; Milady De Winter, “The three musketeers; “Escalus Dress,” Romeo & Juliet; “Kate Hardcastle’s Pink Dress,” She Stoops to Conquer “; Margaret Aldridge,” Red Velvet; “and the most recent on the list is The Ghost of Christmas Past set which will be created in this year’s version of “A Christmas Carol”.

“A Christmas Carol” will take place December 3-23, 2021 at the Baltimore Shakespeare Company Theater, located at 7 Calvert Street, Baltimore, Maryland 21202. For tickets, click here. For more information on the Chesapeake Shakespeare Company, check out their website. For updated Covid protocols go to this connect.

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