Reporter’s Notebook: Costumes aren’t just for Halloween

Jill Beathard
The Aspen Times
I've got a lot on my plate.
Amy Laha/Aspen Times |

It’s the moment I know you’ve all been waiting for: I finally tried on my plate costume, and it’s just as fabulous and awkward to walk around in as you expected.

Our costume designers, Rita Hunter and Colleen Fawley, have done a great job with all our wardrobes (which in one case literally includes a wardrobe costume). My plate is very pretty and well-designed, with straps that come over like a backpack and cross over my body to keep the plate securely on my back. It’s also as wide as about three of me, so after eyeballing it Tuesday night, I talked them into letting me start practicing in it.

And thank God I did — I definitely whacked more than one of my fellow cast members the first time we went through “Be Our Guest.” Sorry, y’all, turns out not being able to see over your shoulder is kind of a big deal. I’ve had to adjust my choreography and where I enter the stage, so I’m going to need a few practices in it before opening night.

With our show just one week from opening, we’re finally doing full run-throughs. It makes a big difference in the excitement and energy level of a show to finally start doing it as though it’s the real thing. Our rehearsals are going later, past 10 p.m. most nights, but when we’re moving straight through the show, it goes by so fast. It’s also pretty decent cardio going from dance number to dance number with a plate on your back.

At this point in rehearsals, I feel like we’re also coming together as a team more than ever. Our director would like us to work on this more, but I think we’re starting to react to one another onstage more, like how everyone adjusted for my extra girth. Our first time through “Be Our Guest,” we recognized the new problems that my costume was going to present, which was a scary moment but we talked it out, and by the second time through that number, the issues were resolved. That kind of teamwork and awareness of one another is what’s going to push the show to the next level, and just in time for opening night.

Jill Beathard hopes everyone is rocking a costume this weekend — and that they’ll come see what a singing, dancing plate looks like in Aspen Community Theatre’s “Beauty and the Beast,” opening Nov. 6. Email her at