Spotlight Series: Meet Costume Designer and Educator Halei Parker Who Makes Art a Part of Her Everyday Life


This Spotlight focuses on Costume Designer and Educator Halei Parker, who I first met in the dressing room at the Clark Library when she showed up with a wonderful variety of cleverly designed costumes for the publicity photo shoot for Lady Windermere’s Fan when I was the publicist for Chalk Repertory Theatre. Halei really opened my eyes to the possibilities for character interpretation that a costume designer can bring to a show.


Shari Barrett (SB): What would you like readers to know about your theatrical background?

“Lady Windermere's Fan” with Chalk Repertory Theatre and the Clark Rare Book Library

Halei Parker (Halei): I'm a freelance costume designer for theatre, opera, dance, immersive experiences, and film. I'm also an educator, and think of myself as a storyteller and world creator. The projects that excite me the most are deeply collaborative and are usually highly stylized and a little weird, especially since I love mixing ideas from disparate sources to create something magical and new.

(SB): What production(s) were you involved with when word went out it needed to immediately be either postponed or cancelled?

“Gallery Secrets” with Chalk Repertory Theatre and the Los Angeles Natural History Museum

(Halei): I was mentoring students and beginning to source and fabric shop for a production of Sweeney Todd at Cal State LA when we were shut down. I was also beginning the design phase for the Getty Villa summer show. This year the Troubies (Troubadour Theatre Company) were going to be performing our new original musical LIZAstrata (think Los Vegas Liza Minnelli meets Aristophanes' Lysistrata meets the Troubies). Thankfully I had just wrapped shooting on a film and closed the show Earthquakes In London at Rogue Machine right before the world turned upside down.

“How The Princh Stole Christmas” with Troubadour Theatre Company

(SB): Here is the link to my review of the multimedia “Earthquakes on London” at Rogue Machine which examined the effects of global warming.

How were the shutdowns communicated with the cast and production team?

George Takei in “Allegiance” with East West Players and the Japanese American Cultural and Community Center

(Halei): For Sweeney, we heard in our production meeting, two days before the Stay-At-Home order. The Liza news came at the end of March. We all saw it coming, but I was really hoping it would still manage to go on. The world could really use some more Troubie joy about now. It was pretty crushing. At this point, we are looking at postponements for both of those, and thankfully not cancellations.

(SB): I really loved all the outrageous costumes you designed for the Troubies “A Christmas Carole King” which I saw at the El Portal last December.

What future productions on your schedule are also affected by the shutdown?

(Halei): The whole rest of my year is now in flux, since no one really knows when we will be allowed to gather together again to experience live theatre in a group setting. I'm just trying to keep all my fingers and toes crossed that we can make stories for the world again before the year is out.

“Hairy Ape” with Odyssey Theatre Ensemble

(SB): How are you keeping the Arts alive while at home by using social media or other online sites?

(Halei): Art is always alive in my home. More than half of my apartment is actually a costume shop, so I'm surrounded by fabrics and my tools. I've been able to keep busy by making hundreds of masks from my eclectic stock of fabrics, and have done a few costume challenges that have proven to be quite fun. I'm trying to curb my use of social media.... somewhat. That is especially true when I am designing and creating costumes for shows.

I'm also feeding my need to make Art for others right now by making a mural for my building on the wall of our little garden.

(SB): What thoughts would you like to share with the rest of the L.A. Theatre community while we are all leaving the Ghostlight on and promising to return back to the stage soon?

(Halei): Chin up, loves. The world is going to need us more than ever when we are allowed to meet again. Just keep that passion alive in your heart.

You can find my work on Instagram HaleiParkerDesign and me at HaleiPie.


This article first appeared on Broadway World.



JOAN OF ART: 'A Christmas Carole King', A Powerful ControversIal Film, Mesmerica -A Visual Music Journey, and Christmas On the Seas

It's the most BEAUTIFUL time of the year and for their 18th annual holiday offering, the ridiculously talented TROUBIES, who I've seen more times than I can remember, is presenting A CHRISTMAS CAROLE KING.

The show adapted and directed by Matt Walker has combined the soulful sounds of songstress Carole King with one of the most enduring stories of our time, 'A Christmas Carol' by Charles Dickens and I promise, the result will be so far away from anything you'd expect.

To give you a hint of how it's going to go, Will Ebenezer Scrooge wakes up ONE FINE DAY feeling like a NATURAL WOMAN and eventually we'll find out if he breaks his CHAINS after he's shown what's truly BEAUTIFUL. You get the idea.

The Troubies are an amazing theatrical company and along with the rockin sounds of the Troubadorchestra you will definitely FEEL THE EARTH MOVE UNDER YOUR FEET.

The Troubadour Theater Company continues its 25th Silver anniversary season bringing the Los Angeles audiences a quarter century of mayhem. If you've never seen this incredibly funny, brilliant group now is your chance to be blown away by their creativity, originality, and their talent.

Their fast-paced laugh filled, loose adaptations of classic plays, literature and film, as well as their original productions and hilarious sketch material, make this company an exciting experience for theatre goers of any age.

The show opens Friday December 13th at 8pm and runs through Sunday December 22nd at 4pm at the El Portal Theatre, 5269 Lankershim Blvd in North Hollywood. Performances are Fridays at 8pm, Saturdays at 4pm & 8pm and Sundays at 4pm with an added performance on Thursday, December 19th at 8pm.

For tickets and more information go to ElPortalTheatre.com or by calling the box office at 818-508-4200 or 866-811-4111. Don't miss it!

'There is a bomb in Centennial Park. You have thirty minutes.'. The world is first introduced to RICHARD JEWELL (brilliantly portrayed by Paul Walter Hauser) as the security guard who reports finding the device at the 1996 Atlanta Games. It was his quick thinking and swift actions saving countless lives that made him an instant hero. But within days, this law enforcement wannabe became the FBI's number one suspect, vilified in the court of public opinion with his life ripped apart.

There's no doubt that Clint Eastwood, who directed this film, is a brilliant filmmaker. Sam Rockwell, Kathy Bates, Jon Hamm and rest of the cast are all excellent and the story is incredibly gripping and extremely heartbreaking watching Jewell's life fall apart when he was only trying to do the right thing.

My one problem with the movie, and it's not a small one, is Eastwood's inaccurate portrayal of the now deceased, real life reporter Kathy Scruggs (Olivia Wilde) who broke the story in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He shows her willing to do anything for a story including sleeping with the investigation's lead agent (Jon Hamm).

The Atlanta Journal has said that there is absolutely no evidence she slept with anyone to get the story and they along with Scrugg's family, have
demanded a prominent disclaimer but both Eastwood and Warner Bros, the distributor of the film, has refused their request.

Having said that and even though I completely disagree with Eastwood's politics, I still recommend seeing this powerful, gripping film which opens in theaters Friday December 13th.

Now for something lighter...JAMES HOOD'S MESMERIC 360. This is a unique visual music journey designed to stimulate the mind and senses, bringing together the music of Grammy nominated composer and percussionist James Hood together with visually hypnotic, 3D animated art curated from artists around the world.

This is one of the most successful fulldome music shows ever. You will experience the magic of this 360 degree immersive show at The Vortex Dome in Downtown LA. This family friendly, mind blowing projection and live experience is designed to relieve stress and is suitable for all ages 6 years and above.

I've seen this show before and I know I'll be back many times over. The Vortex Dome is located at Los Angeles Center Studios, 450 South Bixel Street, Los Angeles, CA 90017. It takes place Saturday, December 14th and show times are 5:00pm, 6:30pm and 8:00pm. For tickets and more information you can call 213-534-3720 or go to JamesHood.com/mesmerica360.

Finally what would the Christmas season be without a BOAT PARADE and on Saturday December 14th from 5:55pm to 8pm you can watch a trail of lighted boats cruise through the main channel of Marina del Rey. You should arrive early to grab a spot on the lawn at Chace Park or a good photo spot at Fisherman's Village, two of the most popular viewing places.

Narration on a PA system is available at both locations. This year the parade's theme is 'Kids Make Holidays Bright.' A Brief fireworks show starts at 5:55pm to announce the start of the parade. Admission is free. I've been going to this event for more years than I can remember and it has always been fantastic.

Chace Park is located at 13650 Mindanao Way in Marina del Rey, 90292.

Whatever you choose to do this weekend, make it a fun one people.