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Linda Cho – Tony Award Winning Costume Designer

       Linda Cho is most notably a Tony Award Winning costume designer, known for her designs in musicals such as Anastasia and A Gentlemans Guide to Love and Murder. However, her journey did not start off there. Linda was born in Korea, raised in Toronto, and is now based in New York since 1998. She takes after her mother who was also an artist but tried to prevent her daughter from entering the creative industry and urged her to take a profession in the medical field instead. Eventually her mother noticed how serious her passions for pursuing a creative field were and encouraged her to follow her heart.

Cho ended up graduating high school a semester early, and her pursuit in following her childhood passions brought her to Paris where she spent a semester at the Paris American Academy. Although, she did end up returning to Canada to obtain a Bachelor’s degree in psychology at McGill University. Cho still continued to pursue the design field further during her time in Canada by taking a class in costume construction which led her to an internship in Montreal for Shakespeare in the Park. Her background in psychology had become beneficial in the design field since it helped her to create designs that can reflect a character’s current mindset dependent on different scenes in plays.

Cho even further pursued theatre design when she attended Yale Drama School where she worked on various different performances. For every production, she creates a binder full of images which she refers to as her ‘costume bible’ to prepare for every production she partakes in. Her designs have become known for unique interpretations of modernizing different eras through the use of colors and textures.  Cho uses color to create a certain mood dependent on the character’s state of mind or socioeconomic status.

According to Cho, she begins her designs by starting from reality and historical research, and then taking a step outside of reality. She draws inspiration from the works of fashion designer Alexander McQueen in order to bring a contemporary and fresh look to her designs. In an interview with spaceonryderfarm.org, she states “Sometimes the vocabulary of historical research may not translate to a modern audience, so something that maybe was sexy in the 1920s may not be sexy now, so you have to walk the line of visual vocabulary that a contemporary audience will understand, and also being truthful to history. For me it’s helpful to look at some modern designers and artists to help me translate and find a vocabulary.” 

For instance, while designing for Anastasia there was one 1920’s scene where the skirts are pleated for the ensemble in order to allow for movement, stemming away from the boyish silhouette that was popularized for women in the 1920s.

Also, during the finale of the musical, the main character, Anya, wears this magnificent red dress. Cho incorporated the red which felt very Russian to her into the dress as well as the decoration of the double-headed eagle on the front of the bodice which was the symbol of the royal family but the actual silhouette of the dress was something Cho made up herself, which was more reminiscent of a 1950’s silhouette with the thin underskirt and voluminous overskirt. 

Linda Cho was nominated for a Tony for her design work on Anastasia and had previously won a Tony back in 2014 for her design work on A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder. Cho’s designs have been in various productions throughout the United States at theatre such as; Alliance Theater

 American Conservatory Theatre 

American Repertory Theater

 Actors Theater of Louisville

 Arena Stage

Baltimore Center Stage

 Berkeley Rep

Children’s Theater of Minneapolis

 Dallas Center

Folger Theater

George Street Playhouse

Goodman Theatre

Goodspeed Musicals

Guthrie Theater

Hartford Stage

Huntington Theater

La Jolla Playhouse

Long Wharf Theatre

McCarter Theater

Oregon Shakespeare Theater

Philadelphia Theatre Company

The Prince Theater

Shakespeare Theater Co

The Old Globe

Theatre Works

The Village Theater

Westpost Country Playhouse 

Williamstown Theater

Her New York credits include the American Ballet, Theater, Encores at City Center, Theatre for a New Audience, Vineyard, Atlantic Theater Company, Classic Stage Co, Manhattan Theater Club, The Public Theater, and Second Stage. Throughout her career, she has previously designed costumes for over 200 different productions and is still continuously working in the costume design field.

Sources

https://madison.com/ct/entertainment/arts-and-theatre/theatre/anastasia-costume-designer-linda-cho-tells-the-story-in-gowns-and-crowns/article_b2d6017b-3f75-5178-b753-8b46fafbd71c.html

http://lindacho.com

https://wwd.com/eye/lifestyle/linda-cho-anastasia-broadway-costumes-10868317/

https://www.spaceonryderfarm.org/blog/2017/8/30/linda-chocostume-designerdecorative-goose