Q&A with Pamela Workman, Costume Designer, Legally Blonde

Pamela Workman is in her fourth year with GTA. She received her MFA in Design with emphasis in Costumes from the University of Oklahoma. Her BA in Theatre and History comes from Morehead State University (KY). Some of Pamela’s favorite designs include Beauty and the Beast and Much Ado About Nothing, as well as 9 Parts of Desire, MSU’s 2015 Gala “Moulin Rouge” and Renaissance Faire characters.

What excites you the most about this production?

I am excited to have the chance to stretch a part of my design area that I am not fluent in……fashion! Not a thing I often deal with. It was nice to look into that research. Christian Siriano was my main inspiration for many of the looks. And as we can’t afford his clothes, Aimee (Johnson, Costume Shop Supervisor) and I had to get creative in finding things that have those lines but don’t cost thousands of dollars for one look.

What is the most challenging thing about this production?

Elle. Never. Leaves. The. Stage. And has, like, a quick change nearly every scene. Two quick changes are magic tricks that happen on stage.

Given the recent “Me Too” movement, why do you believe the message of this show is so important?

This show could go the typical stereotype of dumb blonde and have no growth. However, with the production team and actors that we have, I have faith that we will see a character arc in Elle. Elle embraces the “Me Too” within herself. She starts as one version of herself, the version she has been told and promoted through her entire life. She spends so much time embracing the “truth” that others see her as. Then we see that part of her world start to crumble when Warner rejects her. Elle fights hard to maintain that “truth”. In doing so she discovers more depth to herself. She is in fact brilliant, self-sufficient, and driven, on top of the caring sweetness. Elle allows her inner strength to guide her and change her mind & heart. She begins to find her real truth which is somewhere in the middle of fashionable, pretty blonde and successful lawyer. Who says you have to stick to one way of life?

How are you approaching such a cultural icon of a story?

As previously mentioned, I looked at modern high fashion, east coast versus west coast. I am also using colors to separate the worlds. I have seen the movie before, so I know what the audience expects as far as the look of Elle is concerned. The use of pinks will transition through the show in order to develop her personality through the story.

What do you most hope audiences take away from this show?

I hope they leave with a sense of hope. With the idea that there are endless possibilities and endless paths and endless journeys to be taken in this ever-changing life. That sometimes plans don’t go exactly how we expect them to, or dream of them to, or set the steps up to. And all of that is okay if at the end of the day you are happy, fulfilled, and know yourself. To never stop pushing for your truth, goals, and love even if all of that changes focus. Also, women can be cute, bubbly, and positive and NOT be dumb.

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