Theater company for teens receives major costume donation


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The holiday season may be over, but a Los Angeles-area theater education program just received a major gift in the form of a huge collection of costumes.

Phantom Projects said this week that it had become the recipient of the entire inventory of the Costume House. The value of the collection has been appraised at $500,000, according to Phantom artistic director Steve Cisneros.


The La Mirada-based Phantom Projects Educational Theatre Group produces youth-oriented theater projects that aim to engage local students in the performing arts. The company stages classic plays and new works throughout its season.

The Costume House in Irvine has a collection that includes full wardrobes for nearly 50 stage productions, including ‘Guys and Dolls,’ ‘Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat’ and ‘The Wiz.’ The Irvine business was founded by Kathy Gillespie, who has decided to retire and donate the inventory.

Company leaders said they intended to make money for the theater company from the donation by opening a costume rental shop that will charge less than mainstream shops. They plan to open the shop in the spring.

The 13-year-old Phantom Projects stages many of its productions at the La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts. It also tours with its shows to various schools in Southern California. The group’s next production at La Mirada will be ‘The Bluest Eye,’ based on the Toni Morrison novel, which will run Feb. 25.

-- David Ng