Marcie Hon Talks Costuming For Broadway’s Moulin Rouge!

The local owner of Down To Mars Vintage spent three weeks as a stitcher for the show’s Aronoff Center stint.

Photograph courtesy Marcie Hon

When Broadway called Marcie Hon with a job offer—especially one working on a 10-time Tony Award-winning musical—there was nothing to do but amble down to the Aronoff Center and spend a month backstage with the tour cast of Moulin Rouge! Hon studied fashion design and product development at the University of Cincinnati and runs Down to Mars Vintage, a women’s clothing boutique on Main Street selling pieces from as as far back as the 1950s.

So, what was it like working on a Broadway show?

It’s definitely intense. You’re stepping into their world. It’s so many people’s work and lives—it gives you a different perspective to see the behind-the-scenes. Like, ‘Wow, you guys work so hard to bring this much joy and excitement into people’s lives every night.’

Moulin Rouge! won a Tony in 2020 for costume design. How did you help bring theshow’s dazzling garments to the Aronoff Center?

The costuming world is way different than the clothes that we wear every day. There are a lot of quick changes. Things rip. Sometimes you have to alter costumes for the swings or a new person is coming on for the tour. You’re literally there sewing eight hours a day and the show is being played over the intercom.

A lot of Satine’s costumes are heavily beaded or rhinestoned. The one that she came down on in the opening number, on the swing with the top hat, that one was crazy. I got to repair that one. It’s so heavy. It was all feather boas at the skirt, and they’re all attached on the inside with almost like seat belt buckles.

Photograph courtesy Marcie Hon

The story takes place in 1899. As someone with expertise in vintage clothing, were the costumes true to the time period?

It’s definitely more ‘razzle dazzled’ up for the stage, but I thought everything was super accurate. The patrons are wearing tail coats and top hats. That’s absolutely what somebody would have worn to the show back then. And the dancers, too, they’re all in fishnets, and their getting-ready dressing gowns are super accurate.

How would you describe the show in three words?

High-energy, captivating, and nostalgic.

What was the most unexpectedly fun moment?

My shop being so close to the Aronoff itself, I was able to take some of the tour people over there and go shopping. The understudy for Satine, Yvette Gonzalez-Nacer, got a really cool beaded collar-scarf piece.

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