Call Me Madam
An Alces Production performed Upstairs at the Gatehouse, Autumn 2021
dir. Mark Geisser
costume des. Katie Helen Unwin
set des. Mollie Cheek
A classic musical set in the 1950s following the appointment of the first female American Ambassador to Lichtenburg, Mrs Sally Adams and the misdemeanours that follows!
Sally falls in love with the Lichtenburg Prime Minister, while her young intern is falls in love with the young Princess Maria.
Production Photos By Flavia Fraser-Canon
Call Me Madam is set in the 1950s. The majority of the show take place in the fictional kingdom of Lichtenburg, which takes its inspiration from small Principalities, like Monaco, and other western European locations, such as Bavaria. There is one scene in the show where we are at a traditional festival celebrating the Lichtenburg culture, and so a design was conceived of Lichtenburg's own traditional costume, melding traditional costume from cultures across Europe, using the Lichtenburg flag (designed by set designer Mollie Cheek) as a base colour pallet.
Right: Katie Helen Unwin's costume drawing for Princess Maria at the Lichtenburg festival.
The show is bookended by two scenes in Sally Adams' wealthy American home. The costumes for these scenes were designed to be clean-cut and sharp, reflecting the American affluence. The colour pallet for these scenes was "greyscale" to pay homage to the golden age of cinema to which the original "Call Me Madam" movie belongs.
The exception to this rule is the eccentric Sally herself, who would always stand out in a patriotic red, white and/or blue!
Left: Katie Helen Unwin's costume drawing for Sally Adams' business attire.
Right: Katie Helen Unwin's costume drawings for Sally Adams' party attire.
Sourcing and Making:
Many of the costumes sourced for the show were true vintage pieces, including Princess Maria's pink day dress and several of the men's suits.
Princess Maria's festival dress was pattern drafted and constructed by the designer, and worn over a sourced hand-made blouse and 50s style petticoats.
Below: Production Image (by Flavia Fraser-Canon) of Beth Burrows as Princess Maria in her made festival dress next to the costume drawing of the dress.