Santa Cruz Good Times

Wednesday
Apr 01st
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Dressing Hedwig

ae hedwig1Two Santa Cruz teenage friends reunite under the bright lights of Broadway 

When Arianne Phillips and Valerie Marcus Ramshur were teenage friends in Santa Cruz, they spent their days cutting and re-sewing clothing bought from weekend trips to the Bargain Barn. Now, 30 years later, the duo is still designing clothes, but their skills are on display on a much larger stage—Broadway.

As the costume designer and associate costume designer, respectively, for Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Phillips and Marcus Ramshur are taking the style notes they gleaned from the early ’80s Santa Cruz New Wave scene and using them to bring to life the story of a transsexual punk rocker from East Berlin who flees to the United States in search of stardom. Neil Patrick Harris will play Hedwig in the stage adaptation of the cult classic book by John Cameron Mitchell, which opens April 22 on Broadway.

For Phillips and Marcus Ramshur, growing up in Santa Cruz proved to be highly appropriate training for this production. “The message of Hedwig is the same as the lifestyle that Santa Cruz really encourages, which is be yourself,” says Phillips.

“People come to Santa Cruz to find who they are as human beings and artists and citizens of the world, and this piece is very much like that as well,” adds Marcus Ramshur.

Phillips attended Santa Cruz High while Marcus Ramshur was a student at Capitola Junior High. After high school, they went their separate ways, both independently pursuing career paths in the realm of theater, film, fashion and music.

Marcus Ramshur has worked on more than 12 Broadway productions, and Phillips’ resume includes two Academy Awards nominations, a British Academy of Film and Television award, and a 17-year collaboration with Madonna.

Phillips, who worked on the film version of Hedwig and the Angry Inch in 2001, was asked to reprise her role as costume designer for the Broadway premiere. It had been 30 years since Phillips and Marcus Ramshur were in the same room together, but they reconnected when Phillips reached out via social media.

“When I got the call, the first person I thought of was Valerie,” Phillips explains. “I’ve never worked on a Broadway production, which has its own process and protocol. It was clear I was going to need someone to help shepherd me though the process as well as someone to rely on to get the show up and running. To have the opportunity to reunite with her after 30 years and as professional adults was super exciting.”

Since that call, Marcus Ramshur and Phillips have rekindled their friendship as professionals, working together to create visual magic onstage.

Though they are based on separate coasts, the Santa Cruz ties remain strong. Both maintain they couldn’t have gotten to Broadway without the creative nurturing they got from Santa Cruz. “Growing up in Santa Cruz as kids we were allowed and encouraged to be as creative and unique as possible. We got shot out into the world and we realized we had been exposed to art, artists and free-thinking political debate,” says Phillips.

“Hedwig is just a very magical piece,” says Marcus Ramshur, “and Santa Cruz was a very magical place to grow up.” 

Comments (1)Add Comment
Real Journalists Get the Basic Facts Right!
written by Eric Sasaman, April 10, 2014
I'm not sure why the simplest of details manages to get all jacked up, especially when they are decades old. Hedwig and the Angry Inch is not based on a book. It began life as an Off-Broadway cult hit musical. The text (which in musical theater is called "the book") is by John Cameron Mitchell, and the music and lyrics are by Stephen Trask. This mistake is sloppy. The use of the word "book" for the unsung portion of a musical's script is almost as old as the medium itself and one would think that if handed a story about a genre that a writer has only slight knowledge of then that writer might want to do just a bit of homework. One would think. It's just sloppy.

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

Best of Santa Cruz 2015

In 40 years of publishing, Good Times has seen a lot of “bests.”

 

Spring Triangle: Three Spring Festivals—Aries, Taurus, Gemini

The Spring signs Aries, Taurus and Gemini constitute a triangle of force that sets the template for the nine signs that follow and the template for the entire year (Spring 2015 - Spring 2016) ahead. Aries initiates new ideas, Taurus stabilizes the new thinking of Aries and Gemini takes the initiating stabilized ideas of Aries/Taurus and disperses them to all of humanity. It is in this way that humanity learns new things, with the help of Mercury, the messenger. As Spring unfolds, three elements emerge: the Fire of Aries (initiating new ideas), the Earth of Taurus (anchoring the ideas of God through Mercury) and the Air of communicating Gemini. These three signs/elements are the Three Spring Festivals. They are the “triangle of force” forming the template (patterns) of energy for the upcoming new year. After these three we then have the soothing, calming, warming, nurturing and tending waters of the mother (Cancer). Cancer initiates our next season under the hot suns of summer. Planets, stars and signs create the Temple of Light directing humanity towards all things new. March 29 is Palm Sunday, when the Christ, World Teacher, was led into Jerusalem (City of Peace) on a donkey (humility). Palms waving above His head, signified recognition of the Christ’s divinity. Palm Sunday is the Sunday before the Easter (Resurrection Festival). Palm Sunday begins Holy Week, the week of capture, imprisonment, passion, sacrifice, crucifixion, death and resurrection of the christ. All events in the Christ’s life represent events (initiations) that humanity experiences through many lifetimes. We turn our attention to these holy events this week. Their concepts portray and reveal to us greater spiritual understanding. Then, Aries, the “light of life itself” shines through us.

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

Best of Santa Cruz 2015 Editor's Picks

BEST NIGHT CAP WARSAW MULE AT SHADOWBROOK
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Spring Spirits

Sean Venus’ gin straight up, remembering Rosa’s and a tasting of Hungarian wines

 

What’s your favorite most recent outdoor discovery in Santa Cruz?

A hike that’s across from Waddell Beach. I didn’t realize you could go across the highway and do a super simple loop, and it’s beautiful. You can see the coastline. Liz Porter, Santa Cruz, Community Outreach

 

Martin Ranch Winery

Muscat 2012

 

Front Street Kitchen

Pop-up spot attracts paleo crowd with locally sourced low-carb meals