Fun fact: Did you know that in Edwardian times, hair styles were big and “poofy”? So much so, in fact, that people collected discarded hair (from brushes, etc.) and stuffed it under their own hair to make it appear fuller? In this new video, Gwyneth Price Panos tells us what to expect with the hair and wigs in A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder, how she finds her inspiration, the differences between men’s and women’s hair styling, and why this is going to be such a don’t-miss-it production.
Listen to the interview in the embedded YouTube link, or read the transcript below.
Hi. I am Gwyneth Price Panos. I am the wig designer and make-up artist for A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder. You may be wondering where I am. What is all this stuff? Well, we’re currently in the rehearsal space for South Bay Musical Theatre. There’s a rehearsal going on right now. Hopefully I’m not being too disruptive. But behind me you see a bunch of props and here is one of the wigs that’s going to be worn by the character Phoebe in the show. In the original Broadway production of A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder, they had it take place in the Victorian era. We’re not doing that. We’re having it take place in the Edwardian era, which is the early 1900s. And the main difference with hair was it was a lot bigger. A lot poofier. Less smooth. And some of the styles that were popular for that time are the Gibson Girl, for example, if you if you’ve heard of that. And it’s all about volume. And even when people didn’t have a lot of hair they would actually take fake hair and they’d wrap it up and stuff their hair with it to make their hair look even fuller. So we’re going to do that. We’re going for big hair. So far, I have about 14 wigs for this show. The majority of them are for women and they will be in these big, poofy styles. Here’s an example of one with a lot of volume on top. We actually have a few other wigs for different time periods because there is a scene – I don’t want to give away too many details – but there is a scene where there’s portraits on the wall of people in a variety of time periods.
I try to find historically accurate images, but then after I do that I like to look at what other movies and plays from that time period have used. And I use Pinterest a lot and I make boards of inspiration that excites me. So the majority of the wigs that I have are female wigs for the female principals and Players, which are the ensemble, that take place in the Edwardian era. We do have some surprise wigs from some other time periods, including like a 1600s and the 1700s, and what not. But you’ll find out about those when you come see the show.
STYLING THE MEN
For the men, I’m not actually styling their physical hair, but I do provide them with images from that time period to inspire them to show their hair dressers to get an appropriate haircut for that time period. And they will, of course, be applying hair product to themselves and combing it themselves. Sometimes when I’m doing a show, a big part of men’s styling is the facial hair and I provide them with glue-on facial hair. For this production, it looks like we are only going to be using one set of sideburns. But who knows what will happen during Tech Week? There’s always a surprise. “Can we throw in a mustache here?” And I generally am able to help accommodate that.
WHY YOU SHOULD COME
What I personally love about A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder is the snarky sophistication and the comedy. There’s a lot of different types of comedy. You know, there’s the slapstick and the quirky stuff, but in this, there is a tongue-in-cheek, Gilbert and Sullivan-esque-ness to it, except I think it’s more geared towards modern audiences and definitely has a lot of modern humor in it that you wouldn’t get to see in some of the older shows. And we have a stellar cast. I’m really excited about them. We have a great director. I really love working with Walter because I feel like he’s one of those people who likes to accumulate creative people, and he likes to see what they have to offer. But he also has a vision, and he is a perfectionist, and I really respect and appreciate directors who don’t settle for less than they should. And they always want it to be the best production it can possibly be. And even the day before the show opens you’re still getting notes on ways to make things better. And it makes for a great show. I am really excited about this one. Besides the cast, and the crew, and the tech aspects, the script itself is hilarious, and the music is great. And I think all audiences would enjoy it. It’s fun, dark humor. And who doesn’t like that, right?