41 Elphabas and Counting! Longtime Wicked Dresser Kathe Mull on the Secrets of Dressing Star Rachel Tucker

first_imgKathe Mull & Rachel Tucker (Photo: Caitlin McNaney) Related Shows Kathe Mull has been a proud member of Wardrobe Local 764 since 1987. Her first dressing job was the original Broadway production of Dreamgirls, and since then she has worked on such shows as Crazy For You, The Crucible, Long Day’s Journey into Night, Cat On a Hot Tin Roof, Contact, Copenhagen and many more. In addition to working as a dresser, Mull says she has learned to change her hats quickly: She wears the hats of wife, mother of two boys, director, teacher, actress, friend, and tarot/angel card reader. She is the founder/artistic director of Constructive Outrage Productions: Social Issues with a Solution and is is currently directing Unedited Voices of the Upper Valley: The Rising—an evening of stories, dance, songs and poetry—giving a voice to over 50 survivors of domestic violence. (It will be performed in April.) Here, Mull tells us all about her experience dressing Rachel Tucker…and 40 other women who have played Elphaba in Broadway’s Wicked.When did you first meet Rachel Tucker, and what was your first impression of her?I met Belfast-born, now Londoner Rachel Tucker at the Gershwin when she was in rehearsal and immediately knew that it was going to be a fun, lively time. Ireland is my “adopted” country. I am a founding member of The Irish Repertory Theatre; I’ve dressed Liam Neeson and Brian Dennehy and gave my sons Irish names.What’s your history with Wicked?Alyce Gilbert and her assistant Dennis Paver asked me to come in six months after the Broadway opening of Wicked as a swing principal dresser. I became the fulltime Elphaba dresser when Shoshana Bean took over as the first replacement in 2005.How many Elphabas have you worked with?As of today, I have dressed 41 amazing women and that includes standbys and understudies.What do you wish more people knew about dressers?Dressers have more in our closets at home than black clothes. OK, I really don’t.What makes you and Rachel laugh? We laugh a lot. The theater is so full of creative energy: people will come into the dressing room with a song or dance, wig or weird costume—to keep all of us laughing and our energy up for the show.What are some items you like to have on hand backstage?Kleenex, Kleenex, Kleenex. Then the usual: water, bite light, pins…What’s the most challenging part of dressing Elphaba?Keeping up with Rachel. We flat out run to make some entrances—before “Defying Gravity” and “No Good Deed.” I wear running shoes. Black, of course.Which of Elphaba’s costumes do you wish you had in your closet?Honestly? The dress she wears at the end of the show. It is a bias cut, flowing, very feminine dress: beautifully designed by Susan Hilferty.What do you two bond over?Simple things: the dresser/star relationship is very personal. I’m in the trenches with her. We bond over her water bottle.What’s the best gift she’s ever given you?Rachel is a class “A” gift giver. Tangible gifts for everyone are always very personal and perfect. But I consider her spirit and love of performing full-out every performance to be her greatest gift to all of us. Really.What’s something she says all the time?She says, “See you on the Green!” when she sees her fellow actors before the show.What is something you do that makes her roll her eyes?I don’t think that I have ever seen her roll her eyes. She just laughs.Any fun anecdotes you want to share about your time working with Rachel?Most theater companies have a tradition around Halloween of secretly “Booing” each other. Decorating someone’s station/dressing room with cobwebs, plastic spiders, candy and such. Rachel wasn’t familiar with this and was delighted when she came into her dressing room to discover the Halloween decorations. She ran around the theater, joyfully shouting in her Belfast accent: “I GOT BOOED!!! I GOT BOOOOOOED!!!” It was fun.What’s the best part about being on the Green Team?Working with fellow Green Team artists: Hair Supervisor Mary Kay Yezerski-Bondoc and Makeup Supervisor Craig Jessup. Seamlessly, we navigate Rachel’s changes to get her on stage looking and feeling great. Wickedcenter_img View Comments from $95.00last_img read more