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Grizabella & Friends

Cats costumes Grizabella costume
Whatdayamean, Grizabella doesn't have any friends?! Keep on reading and you'll meet 'em :-)

October, 2000 After years of just thinking about it, I finally decided to make my own Grizabella costume. Now, Jellicle transformation is a difficult matter... it isn't just one of your holiday games. It can take quite a while to turn oneself into a Cat (especially if nasty human-type activities like (shudder) work keep interfering) I started this project at the beginning of July and I barely finished it in time for Halloween.

The wig is a combination of a granny psycho wig I got at a local magic shop and some doll maker's curls from Pearl Art Supplies. I sewed the curls on around the face then frizzed them a little so they'd blend in with the bushy wig. Anyroad... on my wig the ears were cut off one of those cheapo black-cat-ears-on-a-headband deals, with gray maribou feathers stuck on. The "coat" is actually a stole I made from maribou boas in light and dark gray. You can't tell from this picture but there are many more strips of maribou hanging down in back to imitate Grizabella's raggedy coat. Since I'm wearing this to costume parties where I plan on doing a lot of dancing, I wanted something that wouldn't be too hot.

I'm still learning to do stage makeup. The first photo shows my second attempt. The first time I used Snazaroos water based face paints. They're very easy to apply and look great too so if you just want to wear your costume long enough to take pictures, I'd definitely recommend Snazaroos. But since I'm going to be wearing this gear to places where I'll probably be doing some serious sweating I decided to invest in stage makeup from Mehron. I bought their Celebre cream makeup in white and ivory, smoky taupe cream shadowliner and black eye pencil. This stuff goes on easily too... the cream makeup comes with its own sponge applicator for blending. And if you have dry skin like me it'll probably feel better than the water paints on your face. The lipstick is Revlon Moisture Stay Lipcolor in crimson.

Moving on down: I already had the dress and sheer long-sleeved leotard. The tail... which doesn't show in the picture, but trust me, it's there... is mixed black and white maribou, as are the wristbands (tacked onto the gloves) and the "fur" on the shoes. Thanks to a clever Jellicle on the CATS Costuming Discussion Board for the suggestion of whip stitching the maribou onto the straps so as not to ruin the shoes, and attaching more maribou to the shoe clips I already had. (These are my favorite dancing shoes!) The tabby cat striped stockings I picked up for $7 at a store called Foot Fetish in a local mall. I think it's a chain so there might be one near you (They also had leopard patterned stockings) I was going to wear my "real" Grizabella stockings that I bought at the CATS flea market but after I got them on I realized they were so slippery I wouldn't be able to comfortably dance in them... they kept creeping into my shoes. So I went for tabby stripes instead.
And here's my husband John's completed Rum Tum Tugger costume.

John as the Rum Tum Tugger John as the Rum Tum Tugger

For the wig, I started with a Rubies hood, cutting off the lower cape part. What was left was a head covering that was way too big in back. So I pulled it tight at the nape of my very cooperative husband's neck and pinned it up the back so I'd know how much to take it in. It comes with these kinda cheesey rubber ears that we didn't like so I covered them with scraps of furry stuff from the cape part. I highly recommend floral spray paint for coloring furry fabrics. It's easy to use, dries superfast and doesn't make the fibers stick together like some conventionl fabric paints do. I used Design Master floral spray in saffron, brown & ivory, bought at Michael's, a local arts and crafts store. To make the ears more permanent, the tips were stuck together with Elmer's Glue and the whole wig doused with hair spray.

For the ruff, I cut this shaggy brown collar off an old coat. I lightened parts of it a little with saffron & ivory floral spray. It's still darker than the real RTT ruffs but it has that lion's mane look and that's the most important thing, I think. The coat's sleeves and hem were also trimmed with shaggy material so I cut some off to add an extra layer of "fur" in back. To make it easy to take on and off, I sewed the ruff onto a black vest. That's just a plain old black turtleneck underneath. The fuzzy leopard material came from an old scarf. The tail was made from the rest of the scarf & stuffed with rags with some black maribou sewn onto the end. John flat out refused to wear a unitard (GGG) so we had to make due with black jeans. I sewed more of the shaggy material onto the cuffs of the pants ... not exactly classic Tugger, but it makes them look less like jeans anyroad. The spiked collar came from a biker booth at a local flea market and the mitts came with the rubies hood.
A couple of hissy cats on the way to a pre-Halloween party, and Griz & Tugger joined by a Jellicle we ran into at Halloween night party. By this time I'd lost one of my gloves and had to make due with a quickly sewn-together maribou wrist ruff.

The Rum Tum Tugger & Grizabella 3 Jellicle cats

This was the Yule card we sent out last year. The little furry Jellicle on John's shoulder is our cat Monday who has her own website.
Joyous Yule from 3 Jellicle CATS

OK, I didn't make this one but I couldn't resist posing in it. The rest of my legs are back there somewhere :-) This is a genuine Jenny unitard that I bought after the show closed (sniff!)on Broadway. Unfortunately I bought so much memorabilia that I couldn't afford to keep it all and this costume has gone to its new owner.

CatAnna as Jennyanydots, sort of

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Cats the musical & cast photos copyright The Really Useful Group Ltd.
Music by Andrew Lloyd Webber
Lyrics based on Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats by T.S. Eliot, additional words by Trevor Nunn & Richard Stilgoe
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