Dakota Whitehead has been in several shows this season already, not big parts, no… so only if you read the program closely might you have realized what a large contribution he makes in many performances at Parkway Playhouse. Yes, Parkway gives young performers a chance to act on stage, but it’s also giving Dakota a chance to gain valuable experience as a costumer.
PP: Do you have a favorite scene or song in this show? Why is it your favorite?
Dakota: By far my favorite has to be the opening number: Footloose/On Any Sunday. Obviously this show is very dance heavy, and this number is definitely one of the biggest. It’s a great a way to start the show and to get the audience going. Also, as the costume designer, I had my work cut out for me making the cast go from crazy 80s to simple church clothes within the middle of the song in about 30 seconds.
PP: What do you think audiences will enjoy about the musical?
Dakota: I think audience will be surprised by how deep this show actually is. I think Footloose is one of those titles that people hear and they think it’s going to be big hair, shoulder pads, and dancing with a little bit of fluff for a plot line, but that’s really not the case. Every single character has a moment that deals with really personal issues that most people can relate to. The show is not only fun, but it gets really emotional. Every night I cry in the wings during a song that Vi (Roberta Whiteside) sings.
PP: So you’ve done a lot of costuming at Parkway Playhouse last season and this one… What shows have you costumed?
In addition to Footloose, I have done costume work for Bonnie & Clyde, The 39 Steps, On Golden Pond, The Great Gatsby, Grease, Little Shop of Horrors, The Ballad of Frankie Silver, Steel Magnolias, The Glass Menagerie, and RED. As well as multiple Parkway Playhouse Junior productions.
PP: Which were you the most pleased with?
I used to always say The Great Gatsby was my best work, and nothing would ever top it, but honestly, Footloose has been my baby. Ever since I was a little kid I’ve been obsessed with the 80s; the music, the dancing, the clothes, the hair and makeup, everything. So naturally I went into this show guns ablaze! I spent countless hours altering almost every single costume piece on stage by hand. I also started research for the exact year the show is set all the way back in January. Every costume in this show down to the hair and makeup is 100% accurate for 1984.
So come to one of the last two performances of Footloose with a greater appreciation for the attention to detail in the costumes. And be sure to congratulate Dakota after the show for all his work.