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I went to see Mary Stuart last week. Rightly so, Anthony Ward won best costume of a play at the 2009 Tony’s.

It was a beautifully simple and well constructed design.  What started out as a budget constraint (not allowing the full use of all the cast in Elizabethan costume) turned out to be a unique choice. Only our two queens are in Elizabethan dress and the rest of the cast (all men w. the exception of Mary Stuart’s lady in waiting) wear suits.

Snippet taken from Wmagazine.com (Photos: Joan Marcus; Sketches: Anthony Ward. Article By Dana Wood April 22, 2009 http://www.wmagazine.com/w/blogs/editorsblog/2009/04/22/once-in-a-while-something.htm

According to Ward, who was also responsible for the look of the original London production at the Donmar Warehouse, budget constraints even dictated the limited number of costume changes for female leads Janet McTeer (Mary Queen of Scots) and Harriet Walter (Elizabeth). In total, Elizabeth wears just three gowns, and Mary just two. What few dresses they do wear aren’t piled with jewels either. For Mary, who has been ruthlessly liberated from all earthly treasures and imprisoned for nearly 20 years when the play opens, bijoux simply aren’t an option. But even the all-powerful Elizabeth isn’t all rocked-out. Rather, for much of the first act, Ward lets a gown of Chinese brocade create the grandeur. “It’s like a gold medallion on a black duchesse satin,” he explains. “You get that notion of clusters of jewels, but in a rather simple way.”

As for the gents, Ward says he and director Phyllida Lloyd kicked around a few ideas before returning to those dapper suits (a mix of off-the-rack, custom, Versace and Sean John). “We wanted it to feel like a modern political play,” he says. “And having the men—or bureaucrats, I should say—dressed in suits, you really get the sense that they’re diplomats manipulating these two iconic women. But I’ve done it in a really lean way.”

In fact, the entire vibe is unexpectedly lean, from the wardrobe right down to the bare bones set. And after years of tricking-out such big Broadway productions as Gypsy and Oklahoma, Ward says he’s thrilled to be attached to this stark incarnation of German playwright Friedrich Schiller’s 1800 drama.

Which isn’t to say that he hasn’t been completely crazed, minimalist production notwithstanding. After all, he’s in charge of the entire visual presentation, not just the garb. “In England, we tend to do both,” he says. “In a way, you’re creating a three-dimensional painting.” Besides, he admits, his seamstress skills are a bit sub-par. “I couldn’t cut to save my life,” he says. “If it were left to me, everything would be falling apart.”

I absolutely love it! If you go to the site listed above you can also view his sketches (didn’t want to post them in case of copyright issues) enjoy!

It was absolutely amazing to see. The rain onstage made the scene all the more stunning!