Photo by Rob OdleFor their work with Rock ‘N’ Roll Revival, Tammi Molavi and Michelle Hickman received this month’s Volunteer of the Month award.
Tammi Molavi And Michelle Hickman Serve As Stylists To The Stars
For the past four years, Tammi Molavi and Michelle Hickman have helped to put a face on Rock ‘N’ Roll Revival.
The “dynamic duo of costumes,” as director Angela Germanos likes to call them, is in charge of virtually every aspect of the show’s costuming process. From sizing to inventory to creating the final wardrobe for each of the show’s 106 performers, Molavi and Hickman run a well-oiled costuming machine.
“I started helping during the summer before [my daughter’s] freshman year,” Molavi explained. Molavi had previously helped out with Severna Park Middle School’s theater program and was eager to help out at her daughter’s new school. She began working in the costume department and quickly recruited Hickman, who always worked with the SPMS theater program, to help out alongside her. “I was kind of pulled into it,” Hickman joked.
Molavi’s daughter, Josee, and Hickman’s son, Sam, had been close friends in middle school and had both planned to participate in Rock ‘N’ Roll Revival at the high school level, so working together at SPHS was a natural transition for the two parents. “I was happy to be a part of it,” Molavi said.
Both women planned to help do what they could, but quickly they began taking on new responsibilities until they reached the top of the costuming division. “I just wanted to do a little bit [at first], but then I got sucked in,” Hickman again joked. “You keep taking more on because you like it. It’s worth it.”
Molavi now oversees the show’s more than 10,000 costume pieces, and Hickman deals with the creative vision for each of the show’s 38 musical numbers. “I focus on the logistics and management of the pieces, and Michelle deals with the creative vision for the costumes. Our skills really complement each other,” Molavi explained.
The duo isn’t alone, however, as they receive help from numerous “costume mom” volunteers. Those volunteers are free to choose what song or songs they want to work on in a given year, and it is up to them to decide what the costumes for that number will look like. Nothing is set in stone, so costumes are refined and changed for about six weeks up until some of the final moments of dress rehearsals. “The lighting and background all affects how a costume works,” Hickman said of the ever-changing costuming process.
While planning and refining are at the forefront of Molavi and Hickman’s duties, emergency repairs and clothing replacements are always necessary. Some wardrobe malfunctions occur well enough in advance that a replacement can be found, but other times, the two are not so lucky.
“We had a student come to us during the show and he goes, ‘I might need a new pair of pants,’” Hickman recalled. The student had a noticeable tear in his leather pants right up the line of his thigh and had two songs before his performance. “We’re prepared for every emergency,” Hickman said before Molavi interjected, referring again to that student. “There’s lots of Velcro and duct tape involved,” she joked.
The job is at times stressful, but Molavi and Hickman wouldn’t have it any other way.
“The reason we do it is to spend so much time with the kids,” Hickman explained. “You get to see how much effort they put into it and how much they appreciate all we do. It’s just such a great feeling.” Molavi agreed, adding, “And we get to see how great of an experience it is for them – that’s all the reward we need.”
Both look forward to seeing those students perform this year, and they are especially proud and excited to see their children perform in the production one last time before their graduation this year.