Conversation With Edith Head

Hollywood Makeup Artists and Costume Designers Catch Up with an Idol, at “A Conversation With Edith Head”


Ever since “A Conversation With Edith Head” began its most recent run, Hollywood’s top makeup artists and costume designers have been streaming to the Pasadena Playhouse for the opportunity to spend time with one of their idols.

Susan Claassen plays Head, the legendary costume designer who won eight Oscars and 35 nominations for her glamorous creations in more than 1,100 films. In the play, Claassen tells her behind-the-scenes stories of dressing the greatest stars of the cinema, who over six decades, included Mae West, Clara Bow, Grace Kelly, Audrey Hepburn, Elizabeth Taylor, Robert Redford, Paul Newman, Sean Connery and many more icons of Hollywood style.

After attending a recent performance, costume designer Mark Bridges, himself an Academy Award winner for “The Artist,” said Head had been one of his inspirations.

Among others turning up for the show were Mike Westmore, of the legendary House of Westmore, his wife Marion Westmore and daughter McKenzie Westmore, host of TV’s “Face Off.” Mike Westmore won a Best Makeup Oscar for “The Mask” and met he wife when he spotted her modeling wedding gowns for Head.

Center Theatre Group’s founding artistic director Gordon Davidson said the show put viewers “in the presence of Edith Head,” thanks to Claassen’s talent. Claassen received an O! Ovation Nomination as “Lead Actress in a Play” for her portrayal of Head last season at the Odyssey Theatre in Los Angeles.

As for me, I had the great pleasure of meeting Ms. Head during my very early, starting-out years as a writer, when I had a column at Copley News Service. She was absolutely charming and quite a character, too, as she told me that if I needed an extra quote for my story, just to make one up.

“A Conversation With Edith Head” continues Thursdays through Sundays at the Pasadena Playhouse’s Carrie Hamilton Theatre through Dec. 1. After the Pasadena run, the play moves to Working Wardrobes in Costa Mesa for Dec. 4 and 5. Click here for more information and tickets.


Top photo: Oscar winning costume designer Mark Bridges with Susan Claassen, star of A Conversation With Edith Head

Center photo: Susan Claassen, second from left, as Edith Head; with, from left, Marion Westmore; Oscar-winning makeup artist Mike Westmore; and McKenzie Westmore of “Face-Off;” at A Conversation With Edith Head

Bottom photo: Gordon Davidson with Susan Claassen at A Conversation With Edith Head

All photos by James Blair, courtesy of A Conversation With Edith Head



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Conversation With Edith Head

Published Nov. 27, 2012 – Ellen Olivier, Society News LA