The most unpopular costume left at the Denver Center Theatre Company's pre-Halloween sale is a coat from a production of Black Elk Speaks. Around twenty of them line the first of about eight long racks remaining at the Newman Center tor Theatre Education's orange studio, arranged between a series of helmets, rollerblades, wedding dresses and ponchos that are the castoffs from decades of years of theater productions. Note: There is a strange preponderance of costumes that bridge the gap between a Von Trapp child and a mermaid, if that's your thing.
This is the DCTC's second costume sale in its thirty-plus-year history, and the last took place, on a much smaller scale, in a parking lot in 1992. Although the 2,000 costumes have slimmed down considerably since the sale began yesterday, those left hold strong in the novelty department: nun habits, princess headdresses, ballgowns, '70s period pieces and a vast amount of vaguely international outfits add to the remainder of what is a considerably huge dress-up box.
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The eight or so remaining racks of costumes still take up much less space than they did in the stock rooms. "I've lost a few stock areas, and we have less and less space to store things in," costume director Janet MacLeod says. "Every season, we have some things that are fanciful or showy or just will never be reused, and I set them all aside on a separate rack. Well, those racks started to get full." Although MacLeod has enjoyed watching the costumes from past productions find new homes, she is consistently surprised by the combinations their new owners create. Most recently, one of these included both a Native American bonnet and a futuristic war helmet. "I really thought we'd sell more of those," MacLeod says, pointing at the Black Elk jackets. "The best one so far has to be this man, one of the first ones in the door, who bought a bright pink bunny costume. He was so thrilled. He just grabbed it and ran." All of the proceeds from the sale will go straight to DCTC, though the organizers haven't decided how the funds will be allocated within the structure. The new sale has easily surpassed its 1992 predecessor, raking in $18,000 so far while the last one earned $12,000 total. The sale's success has been so quick and unexpected that MacLeod has canceled its third day, planned for tomorrow. Any merch not sold by 3 p.m. today will be marked down to half price in hopes that everything will leave the studio by the end time of 5 p.m.
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"Seriously, there are so many options here," MacLeod says. "I can't imagine all of the Halloween costumes that will come out of our sale. Those Black Elk Speaks jackets would make a great addition."