“Everything old is new again” as Wick Theatre debut the beginning of a new era. When the Wick Theatre and Costume Museum opens its doors with the Rodgers and Hammerstein perennial favorite “The Sound of Music” on September 19th, it will mark the end of months of frenzied reconstruction of the former Caldwell Theatre Company at the Count De Hoernle Theatre in Boca Raton. The 2012 foreclosure on the venerable theatre company undeniably left a gaping hole in the South Florida theatre scene with negative shock waves that reverberated throughout the artistic community.
Enter Marilynn A. Wick and her daughters, Kimberly Wick and Kelly Wick Kigar who saw the dormant theatre not only as an opportunity to have a positive impact in the cultural climate of South Florida, but also as a home for their world class collection of Broadway costumes and theatrical memorabilia. “I drove by the theatre pretty regularly,” said Marilynn Wick, Founder and Executive Producer of the Wick Theatre and Costume Museum and the brains behind the entire Costume World chain – arguably the largest distributor of fantasy and theatrical costuming in the United States, if not the world. “It was simply a tragedy to see that beautiful building sitting empty – particularly in light of the wonderful work the Caldwell had done there for so very many years. That’s when I got the idea to move my costume museum to the location and re-open the theatre.”
The “costume museum” is Wick’s incredible Broadway Collection Museum in Pompano Beach that housed the original costumes from over thirty five Broadway productions and revivals and conducted daily tours, luncheons and special events for thousands of eager visitors since its inception in 2010. “We basically outgrew the space in Pompano, so the idea of moving it to the Boca Raton location and making that venue a true multi-purpose arts facility was very exciting. My daughters and I have never been ones to turn away from a challenge, but there’s no denying that this one is probably our biggest undertaking.” And, an undertaking it is! A nearly total renovation of the interior of the building and exterior entrances to the new museum location are well underway and the frenzied pace of work being done is palpable. “My daughter, Kimberly, has been invaluable in her guidance of the project,” Wick said, “and, we’ve been blessed with some really terrific workers and volunteers.” The 30,000 square foot complex has been meticulously and lavishly renovated for the sole purpose of honoring the contributions of over 100-years of costume designers whose creativity and dedication formed the cornerstone of the American theatre. But, will all the hard work pay off in quality productions? “It will or I will die trying,” Wick stated emphatically. “I have been around the theatre and theatre people most of my adult life and I’ve probably costumed most of them. I know these shows and what they require like the back of my own hand and I am determined to spare no expense in seeing that those production values are applied to every aspect of this arts center.”
But, even Wick admits that there are some obstacles to be faced. Noted theatre critic, Bill Hirschman recently observed in his Florida Theater on Stage blog that “The first shows will rely on prerecorded music, although a small combo will likely be hired for revues like “Ain’t Misbehavin’“. Wick responded that, “there is hardly a producer in the world who wouldn’t prefer to use a 12-piece or larger orchestra for every production but, times being what they are, it isn’t always financially feasible. While the use of tracks may not be preferable in terms of utilizing live musicians and supporting the local economy, when compared to the nearly hundreds of actors and as just as many artistic contributors, technicians, carpenters and crew members who are all being paid fair salaries for their work on every production, the sacrifice seems relatively small.
Please remember, sampled recordings for musicals are much more refined and professional than in the past and, on a state-of-the-art sound system like the one I have invested in for The Wick Theatre, the sound production can be nothing short of spectacular. Personally, I think it can actually enhance a production like “The Sound of Music” that, as you pointed out, relies heavily on good sound production. It isn’t the ideal, and it will not be the standard at The Wick Theatre, I can assure you. But, for the time being, it is an excellent alternative to full orchestral sound and I am comfortable with the decision.”
Wooing the former Caldwell subscribers and proper homage being paid to the Countess Henrietta de Hoernle (well into her 100th year and whose husband’s name still adorns the theatre), Wick deems imperative to the initial success of the theatre.
“The Wick Theatre understands fully the importance of the former subscribers to The Caldwell Theatre Company. This is why my staff has spent the better part of two weeks telephoning each and every one of these individuals, not only inviting them to attend The Wick Theatre but, if they subscribe, actually throwing a gala reception in their honor on September 10, 2013. The Count de Hoernle’s name is still prominently displayed on the front of the theatre, and I have met with the Countess’ trustee to assure her that the Countess’ steadfast support of South Florida’s artistic community and countless other Florida charities will not been forgotten!”
The final hurdle could well be the 149 bank-owned parking spaces for the 330-seat theatre and the costume museum in operation at the same time. “That one’s easy,” Wick said. “Each and every guest at The Wick Theatre will be treated to complimentary valet parking for every performance, so parking issues – if there are any – will be our problem, not theirs. They will enjoy a hassle-free entry and exit from the theatre and the museum.”
Wick’s vision for the arts center is far-reaching and very impressive in terms of its sheer magnitude. A day at the Wick Theatre and Costume Museum could include a tour of the 10,000 square foot facility including backstage areas and on-site costume shops, lunch with cabaret entertainment in their re-creation of New York’s famed “Tavern-on-the-Green” restaurant and a matinee of the current production. Evening guests can arrive early and enjoy tapas and cocktails before the show, then cabarets and bar service following the final curtain.
But, ultimately, it’s what’s on the stage that is going to make the difference, and Wick is confident that she has surrounded herself with some of the best actors, directors, designers and technicians that the industry has to offer. “The Wick Theatre is honored to employ a number of Equity actors and stage managers on Guest Artist contracts for each production. Our goal is also to utilize the wealth of non-union talent available in South Florida. We are in full compliance with the union and intend to run the theatre by the very effective standards that Equity has perfected over the years.”
As Executive Producer, Marilynn Wick leads an production team that includes director’s Stacey Stephens (director of the theatre’s second production Irving Berlin’s “White Christmas” and head designer for the Costume Museum), Michael Ursua (resident Musical Director as well as Director and Musical Director for “The Sound of Music“), and Joseph Shannon, technical director.
Auditions have been held for much of the entire season with casting firmly in-place for the first two productions. Sets, lighting and sound design will be jobbed out for each production providing new opportunities to local talents except for the first few shows whose sets will be designed by Tom Hansen Designs. Guest Directors and choreographers will also be hired based on need.
When gently chided about the obvious opulence of the center, Wick casually brushes it off by saying, “Yes, the goal is to give our patrons the most “bang” for their artistic buck and, as such, provide them with a number of opportunities when they visit the facility. The museum packages automatically include lunch and often entertainment and a gift shop will only enhance that experience. The overuse of my name seems to imply that I tend toward self-promotion, which is simply not the case. I can assure you that everything I am doing at The Wick Theatre and Costume Museum is for the enjoyment and enrichment of my patrons and not for my personal glory. I think it’s also important to mention that much of the work I am doing here is intended as a legacy to my children and grandchildren.
The Wick Family has long been internationally recognized for amassing the largest collection of theatrical wardrobes in the nation, if not in in the world. The collection has been featured on the Today Show, in People Magazine and was the subject of a photo essay in Vogue Magazine by renowned photographer Bruce Weber.
The collection includes wardrobes from original Broadway productions of “The Producers“, “Titanic“, the Sarah Jessica Parker production of “Once Upon a Mattress“, “La Cage aux Folles” and the Julie Andrews production of “My Fair Lady“with designs by the incomparable Cecil Beaton, just to name a few.
The original costumes from the Broadway revival of “The Sound of Music” will be used in the opening production at the Wick with subsequent productions featuring other original designs. “I have spent over thirty eight years amassing what is arguably the largest musical theatre costume collection in the country, if not the world.
The Wick Theatre and the Museum will be unlike any other venue of its kind – completely devoted to the preservation of these incredible wardrobes and an amazing opportunity for historically art-savvy patrons in South Florida to see them – not only on stage in each of our productions, but also in a museum atmosphere where this incredible work and be admired and preserved for years to come.”
The Wick Theatre single ticket price of $58.00 is standard for this production type of quality. Guests of the Costume Museum can enjoy the entire package for just $88.00 with special incentives for groups and organizations.
The original costumes from the Broadway revival of “The Sound of Music” will be used in the opening production at The Wick Theatre with subsequent productions featuring other original designs. Rodgers and Hammerstein’s perennial favorite, “The Sound of Music” will kick-off the exciting inaugural season at The Wick. The 28-person cast lead by husband and wife duo, Krista Severeid and Tony Lawson, is the first in a series of productions that have been chosen both for their entertainment and inspirational value.
“We listened to the community about the shows that they wanted to see,” said Michael Ursua. “We are confident in our selections, not only for their entertainment value, but also for the wonderful opportunities to recognize the outstanding local talent found in Sound Florida.”
“The Sound of Music” begins its run on September 19th with a Gala Grand Opening Celebration on September 20th, both of which are already sold-out. The musical runs through October 20th with both matinee and evening performances available. Tickets can be purchased online at www.thewick.org or through the theatre’s box office at 561-995-2333. The Costume Museum at the Wick Theatre will have its debut on November 4, 2013. The remainder of the 2013 – 2014 season at the Wick Theatre includes:
Irving Berlin’s “White Christmas ” November 14 to December 25, 2013. Based on the 1954 film of the same name, Irving Berlin’s “White Christmas” is a gem of a musical wrapped up with shiny paper and ribbons and jammed packed with Berlin favorites such as I Love a Piano, Sisters, Count Your Blessings and his all-time greatest hit, White Christmas. The entire family will catch the holiday spirit in this toe-tapping triumph.
“42nd Street” palys January 9 to February 9, 2014. Fresh off the bus from Allentown, Pennsylvania young Peggy Sawyer steps into the show and saves the day in this wonderfully nostalgic tribute to the hey-day of the musical theatre. Chock full of fabulous hits like “Lullaby of Broadway”, “We’re in the Money”, “Shuffle Off to Buffalo” and of course, “42nd Street” this musical is the quintessential celebration of Broadway and the people who make it their life’s work. Look for a very special guest star in this exceptional tribute to the theatre.
“The Full Monty” plays February 20 to March 23, 2013. Six guys down on their luck and with nothing left to lose try losing their clothing in this tuneful rendition of the wildly popular 1997 British film. “The Full Monty” will have you cheering for more as these guys conquer their fears and take charge of their lives. The funniest show you’ll ever shed a tear over, “The Full Monty” is a celebration of friendship that is simply inspiring! Note: the show contains mature themes and adult situations.”
“Steel Magnolias” plays April 3 to May 4, 2014. Set in the fictional small town of Chinquapin, Louisiana, this poignant comedy takes place in Truvy’s Beauty Salon where six Southern women meet to dish about life, love and loss. Alternately hilarious and touching, “Steel Magnolias” reveals the strength and purposefulness which underlies the antic banter of women who are “tough as steel, but soft as magnolias.” The New York Daily News called the play “…a skillfully crafted, lovingly evoked picture of eccentricity in the small-town South.”
“Ain’t Misbehavin’” plays May 15 to June 15, 2013. The outrageously prodigious comic and musical soul of 1930’s Harlem lives on in this rollicking, swinging, finger-snapping revue that is still considered one of Broadway’s best. In this tuneful tribute to the heyday of the Harlem Renaissance, “Ain’t Misbehavin’” moves with the zest and vigor reminiscent of Manhattan nightclubs like the Savoy Ballroom and the Cotton Club. Featuring the extraordinary music of Fats Waller, five performers present an evening of rowdy, raunchy, and humorous songs that encapsulate the various moods of the era and reflect Waller’s view of life as a journey meant for pleasure and play.
Performance Times: Wednesday at 2:00 p.m., Thursday at 2:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., Friday at 7:30 p.m., Saturday at 2:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., Sunday at 2:00 .pm.
Single tickets are $58. For group rates, subscription rates and for details about the Costume Museum/Show/Luncheon packages please visit www.thewick.org or call 561-995-2333.
Become a Season Subscriber. Here are just a few of the incredible benefits you’ll receive as a Wick Theatre Subscriber: A considerable discount off the regular single ticket price, One free ticket to the Museum Tour & Luncheon – Our nationally acclaimed Costume Museum will open in November. Just call the box office at 561-995-2333 to make your reservation. Complimentary valet parking, One free ticket exchange with 24-hours notice, A special surprise at the bar. You’ll be treated to a special “signature” beverage, Automatic membership in The Wick Fan Club.
To Subscribe by phone call 561-995-2333 or visit www.thewick.org. The Wick Theatre and Museum Box Office is located at 7901 North Federal Highway Boca Raton, Florida 33487. The Box Office is open from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 10:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. The Wick Theatre and Museum is a BroadwayGlobal and Theatre Chat must see arts venue, for a one-of-a-kind theatrcial experience.