9 to 5 The Musical: Interview with Costume Designer Sam Lyko

Published May 1, 2024

white female student with brown-blonde hair in wide white hat.

Sam Lyko

Senior Theatre Design and Technology major Sam Lyko is the Costume Designer for UB Theatre and Dance’s new production of 9 to 5 The Musical, which runs one more weekend from May 3 - 5, 2024 at the Center for the Arts. Sam gives us a behind-the-scenes look at what goes into costuming for such a large production.

As Costume Designer for the show please tell us what your overall responsibilities entail over the course of the production and how long the process lasts from start to finish.

My overall responsibilities include designing the costumes, hair and makeup. I collaborate with other designers as well, in order to create a cohesive show overall. It is a long process, but it’s very rewarding. From the first production meeting, discussing the script and concepts, to dress rehearsals, being able to see all these concepts and ideas come to life on stage is a really amazing experience.

How does the Costume Designer interface with the Show Director, Stage Manager(s), Lighting Designer(s), Set Designer(s), plus Projection, Sound and Props department heads?

The costume designer discusses their thoughts and ideas with the design team, director, and stage manager on a weekly basis (minimally). Through production meetings, we report the progress we've made and present any challenges or any new ideas that may arise. In essence, we all work together to create a cohesive overall design.

Costume designs by Sam Lyko. Photos by Ken Smith.

What were the most important costumes which you needed to create for the show? How close did the final product(s) resemble your original vision? What was the most challenging aspect of designing the costumes? Is there anything you would have done differently knowing what you know now?

I think the most important costumes were those for Judy, Doralee, Violet, and Hart. Judy, Doralee, and Violet each have three major changes over the course of the show, where they all gain more color as the show goes on. This is in contrast to Hart, who loses all the color he starts with in the beginning of the show. The final product is pretty close to the original vision. The silhouettes are the same along with the colors.

I think the most difficult part of designing the costumes was keeping track of all the changes that happen over the course of the show. Nearly every actor has at least one costume change. Knowing what I do now, I think I would have been a bit more organized in terms of costume changes and some of the smaller costume details.

What have you enjoyed most about working on this production?

This whole process has been really fun and enjoyable, from creating the renderings, to fittings, and eventually to dress week. I have also been really lucky to have such an amazing costumes team. They've all been incredibly supportive and fun to work with for the duration of the design process. Seeing all the elements come together during the past few weeks has been an amazing experience and brought a whole new level of excitement to the production. 

How many Costume Designs have you worked on and / or designed during your time with UB Theatre and Dance? Is this something you think you might like to pursue as a profession? If so or if not, why?

I've designed costumes for three shows here at UB, and have worked on additional shows as an assistant costume designer. I would definitely like to pursue costume design as a profession. I've always really loved working in the costume department during my time here. Costume design is a challenging process, but also a lot of fun!

9 to 5 logo.