Take yards and yards of multiple kinds of fabric and other materials, hours without numbers of sewing, hand-stitching, tender fingers, endless patience and sleepless nights and a miracle occurs; the costumes for the Mormon Miracle Pageant are magnificent. Each and every one fits the wearer as if it were custom made for them.
With a cast of over 900, that in itself is a miracle. Every year, due to the wide-range of sizes and shapes, costume designers and seamstresses have had to work diligently to make sure each cast member looks the part.
Those volunteers are a large crew of laborers truly dedicated to repairing, re-working and checking costumes in an effort to make the production a success.
One of the areas of concern for designers was choosing materials for costumes that will catch the lights and show up against the green grass of Temple Hill.
Bright colors, gold-like fabric, sequins and other flashy materials are incorporated in different outfits. Notes have been taken each year so improvements can be made to make each production even better.
All the costumes are divided into groups; principal actors, New England, dancers, pioneers, Christ in America, warriors and others.
Individuals are assigned to work with a particular group and costumes have to be made in advance so they can be easily altered when cast members are chosen.
Distributing and collecting all the costumes for the actors in each dress rehearsal and performance, keeping everything straight and organized is quite a “miracle” in itself.
Some performers appear in more than one scene and there is little time and limited space for costume changes, so many of those who play dual roles dress in layers. Staying warm on a cool summer Sanpete evening is not usually a problem when an actor has on two layers of clothing.
In the past, after each pageant, the costume crew members carefully stored the costumes, but would also start right away working on new ideas and designs for the next pageant to make it an even better presentation.
With the coming end of the Mormon Miracle Pageant run, after 52 years, no one seems quite sure what will become of the many, many costumes. Perhaps they will be used for those few pageants that will continue elsewhere.