Behind the scenes – creating the world of SEUSSICAL!

“Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living, it’s a way of looking at life through the wrong end of a telescope.
– Dr. Seuss

BTS_IMG_1866By the time the audience is seated in the Wells-Metz Theatre for IFT’s wild, wacky, and wonderful SEUSSICAL, the crazy colors currently adorning the scenic and costume shops will be replaced by the muted tones of this coming fall’s production of Hedda Gabler. Truffula trees will give way to turn of the century furniture, and the sleeveless and feathered flounces that currently adorn the dress forms will be replaced with earth-toned vests and jackets, and the high collars, long sleeves, and floor-length skirts of Ibsen’s time.

No problem, bring it on!


A truffula tree sprouts in the scene shop!

Our scenic and costume shops are accustomed to changing gears quickly. No sooner has one show opened, and it’s on to the next, likely completely different, mission. But for now, we’re enjoying creating the wild world of Dr. Seuss!

We give you… A TRUFFULA TREE, in process! Scenic designer Andrea Ball and the crew are hard at work bringing her designs to life. With bright orange trees and rolling settees, patrons will be greeted with a dizzying display that will do Dr. Seuss proud!


Scenic designer Andrea Ball works with undergraduate Josiah Brown on fantastical flora that will adorn the set of SEUSSICAL


Joe Pauli creates the rolling tub that becomes McElligot’s Pool.

We wonder if Joe Pauli is reminiscing about his years as scenic carpenter at BPP as he crafts the shower head that will double as JoJo’s microphone in “It’s Possible”, which could be the theme song for the creative minds and hands behind the scenes of all IU Theatre productions. “Anything’s possible…!”

MFA scenic designers work side-by-side to realize each other’s visions with every new production. Kevin Nelson, who recently designed the sets for last season’s At First Sight new plays, concentrates as he examines and tunes a whimiscal one-man-band.  And below, the first claw of staff Prop Master Dan Tracy’s creation, Vlad Vladikoff, the evil puppet vulture, protrudes from a styrofoam body with menacing black wings.


Kevin Nelson, MFA student, Scenic Design

BTS_IMG_1888The costume shop is also aflutter as the team works to build the bevy of creatures created by costume designer Aaron Wardwell. Bird Girls, Yertle the Turtle, Fox in Sox, and of course the Cat in the Hat will come to life here, as cutting and dyeing, stitching and fittings continue until the first dress rehearsal, when the fully-costumed characters take the stage.


Costume Designer Aaron Wardwell with a Bird Girl in the making. Feather boas!

Natasha Heines is pursuing a Masters in Textiles in Fine Arts and has been with Indiana Festival Theatre since its first productions in 2011. Even a quick visit behind the scenes reveals the breadth of talent and experience that go into the productions.


Natasha Heines prepares to dye!


Kelsey Nichols, also an MFA student in Costume Design, builds a Bird Girl’s hat, which she will shepherd from fragile to fabulous!

We hope you’ll join us in appreciating the many people who work behind the scenes to make theatre happen at IU, and EVERYWHERE! Whenever actors take the stage, you know that a team of talented and dedicated designers and builders has worked many long hours to create the world that that they inhabit, and the world that provides you with the opportunity to spend a few hours looking through the wrong end of that telescope!


Aaron Wardwell poses with his very own Cat in the Hat, MFA actor Jason Craig West.

SEUSSICAL, the Musical opens July 31st in the Wells-Metz Theatre at 7th & Jordan. Tickets and information available at

About IU Theatre Department

Welcome to the 7th & Jordan blog. This blog is a peek behind the curtain at the productions and people at Indiana University's Department of Theatre, Drama, and Contemporary Dance.
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