Behind the Curtain: Q & A With Pajama Game Costume Designer Rose Pederson

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Rose Pederson is back at The 5th for The Pajama Game. She made her debut last season with another workplace musical comedy: How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. Rose’s designs have been seen in other local theatres, including 47 shows at Seattle Repertory, 28 shows at ACT Theatre, and productions at Intiman Theatre, New Century Theatre and Seattle Children’s Theatre. She has also worked extensively in regional theaters across the nation, including the Broadway production of Largely New York, the Kennedy Center, Arizona Theatre Company, Idaho Shakespeare Festival, Portland Center Stage, Artists Repertory Theatre, Playmakers Repertory Company and The Merc Playhouse.

She took some time to answer a few questions about the costumes for The Pajama Game.

Tell us a bit about your vision for the costumes in The Pajama Game.

I originally talked with Bill Berry about the show and how we saw the “look.” We decided it would be real clothes, based on research of the period. I found many pictures of women working in factories in the Midwest in 1954. I also was able to use the Public Library picture file which has a collection of magazine articles, calendars, news articles, etc. from the period. Sometimes there are treasures there that can’t be found on the internet. My favorite finds were from the category of picnics.

picnic-girls picnic-guys




I chose a palette from car colors of 1954. They had such strong colorful and distinctive combinations. There are basically three looks for the show: The Factory, The Picnic and Hernando’s Hideaway.

Costume design research for Factory Men costumes.
Costume design research board for Hernando’s Hideaway costumes.








Did you have any particular inspirations or influences?

My parents were both from the Midwest, so I actually attended many family reunions in parks there and have the photographs from those events during the same time period. I also have a collection of patterns that were my mother’s that we were able to use.

You also costume designed last season for How to Succeed…What are the challenges in finding and building period/retro costumes? What are the benefits?

With both shows, I was able to do vintage shopping in LA and also shop the LA fabric district, visiting stores like MOOD for vintage fabrics.

PC Mark Kitaoka of Mark and Tracy Photography
PC Tracy Martin of Mark and Tracy Photography
PC Mark Kitaoka of Mark and Tracy Photography
PC Mark Kitaoka of Mark and Tracy Photography








The beauty is that we can still find original and sometimes brand new period pieces. The challenge is to mix modern clothes with the touches of the vintage clothes, such as the men’s cuffs or the shape of a skirt. Plus figuring out how the dancers can perform extreme dance moves in a period-looking piece that doesn’t have the stretch and flexibility of modern clothes.

Check out Rose’s phenomenal designs in The Pajama Game at The 5th Avenue Theatre from February 10 to March 5. Click here for more info and to buy tickets.

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