Cora MacGeachy was a costume designer for revues, strip tease shows, musicals, and film from 1910s to 1930s. As part of my research project for Morgen Garmon, Curator of Theater Collection at the Museum of the City of New York, I visited Shubert Archive last week to study some of MacGeachy's renderings.
Many of MacGeachy's renderings during her mid-career are fascinatingly creative, detailed, and realistic. In 1920, she designed costumes for Cinderella on Broadway. The storyline of this musical was a little bit different from the Cinderella story that we know today. Cinderella on Broadway in 1920 included several male characters such as a laborer, a foreman, a labor leader, and a carpenter, all played by women. Below are images of the costumes designed by MacGeachy for some of those characters. These renderings are stored at Shubert Archive.
According to Mark E. Swartz, Archivist at Shubert Archives, it was common for actors and actresses to play opposite gender characters in revues in those days. Though Cinderella on Broadway in 1920 was not an all-female cast, these renderings made me think of Takarazuka Revue, a well-known all-female theatrical production that celebrated its centennial anniversary a few years ago. I only saw a Takarazuka revue once when the alumni of the production performed Chicago at Lincoln Center in 2016.
Since I moved to New York City in 1996, my very first musical experience was not until 2013, and it was Cinderella. William Ivey Long's costume designs, especially where Cinderella's housemaid outfit turned into a white ball gown in the blink of an eye, was amazingly designed.
Cora MacGeachy also designed costume tricks for revues such as "Strip tease of the Fifties" from Yes, I don't Know. Please read this story on the Museum of the City of New York website to find out more about Cora MagGeachy's work and her life.
*All six photos in this journal entry were used courtesy of Shubert Archive.