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Industry Star of the Month

Pat White, Local 764

Pat White December 30, 2005 ��� Every night as the stars of Broadway perform onstage, the talented members of local 764 do their own little number backstage, moving talent in and out of the intricate costumes they maintain ��� often in a matter of seconds! As President of IATSE local 764, Pat White represents these wardrobe supervisors and dressers -- as well as wardrobe workers on films and television shows -- and continues in the line of work herself.

Ms. White moved to New York in 1985 to break into the industry, after studying theatre in college. She landed her first gig dressing Rita Moreno in The Odd Couple, which also starred Sally Struthers. Over the years, she has worked as a wardrobe dresser on numerous theatrical and television productions, including Neil Simon���s Rumors, Social Security starring Marlo Thomas, Mama Mia, Guiding Light, As the World Turns, the dresser to Patti Lupone on the Lincoln Center revival of Anything Goes and Sweeney Todd, and the dresser to Bernadette Peters on Gypsy. She joined the executive board of Local 764 in 1995, before ascending to Vice President and eventually President of the Union, a position which she has held for the past three years.

As wardrobe supervisors and dressers, the members of the union are responsible for maintaining the costumes on Broadway and dressing actors before performances and between numbers. To draw the audience in to the enchanted world of each show , they look after every bead on the 1970���s costumes in Mama Mia, keep lint off of the nun���s habits in Doubt, ensure that the thermaplast corsets worn by the stars of The Lion King fit perfectly, and polish the sparkled jewelry worn in Wicked. They launder, press, sew, and perform beading, millinery, leatherwork and shoe repair. They ensure that the costumes worn and danced around in every night ��� from wedding dresses to ensembles in Rent that were bought in the East Village for a song and have been used for years -- are maintained and replaced to be in tip-top shape before every performance. Local 764 members run and staff the Wardrobe Departments not just on Broadway, but for film and television shows shot in New York, as well as at venues such as The Metropolitan Opera, Radio City Music Hall, The Brooklyn Academy of Music, and many others.

���Many of these are vanishing crafts, and in this industry a lot of people do the work for the love of it,��� Ms. White said. ���There���s nothing like working on a show ��� there is such camaraderie between different departments, and it���s like a little family.���

When working on films, Ms. White said the challenge for wardrobe workers is somewhat different. ���In this case, you need to make your eye small like the camera,��� she said. ���To keep the continuity from scene to scene, you need to notice if a necklace is twisted or the position of a collar has changed.���

Ms. White said the ability to work on a range of projects is what makes New York the premiere destination for Local 764 members. ���For a wardrobe worker, there���s no place like New York,��� she said. ���While some settle in to a particular type of work, the opportunity to do so many things is unique here. The fact that there is so much work really benefits our workers. It���s really the place to be ��� and I think as a result we have the best wardrobe workers anywhere. They just get the job done!���
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