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From left, Cindy Herring, Judy Wright,Anita Brockwell and Almeta Coyle show off the new priest costumes to be used in the Holy City of the Wichitas Easter Pageant. The new costumes, which are more bright and elaborate,will make it easier for the audience to see the characters during the two performances.

3 wise men in Easter pageant get new clothes

Several major characters in the Holy City of the Wichitas Easter Pageant will stand out a bit more this year  literally  thanks to the ladies of the costume department.

Anita Brockwell, Cindy Herring, Judy Wright and Almeta Coyle undertook a project two years ago to replace many of the costumes, which had become old and worn. It started last year with new costumes for the disciples. 

This year, the quartet created entirely new costumes for the three wise men who visit Jesus after his birth. Each is bright royal blue with ornate silver and blue bibs that go over the top of the robes. Each bib snaps to the robes, so that they don't fly up into the actors' faces during the performances. Brockwell said the process of creating new costumes took more than two weeks because of how much work is involved in crafting a quality piece.

"By the time you go buy the material and get all three people up here to measure and get it right, it can take a while," she said. "We wanted to make all new Jesus robes, but we just ran out of time this year. That's something we're going to look at for next year."

The costumes for the son of God still needed work this year after a longtime Jesus actor was forced to step aside due to knee surgery. Jorg Ladd, a towering 6-foot, 5-inch cast member, took over the position  creating an issue for the costume department. The new Jesus was more than 5 inches taller than the previous actor, forcing Brockwell to make emergency alterations to his costume.

"We have a really, really tall Jesus," she said. "It's something we go through every year, though. The costumes are too short or they're too long. So we end up doing a lot of hemming to get them all right."

There has always been one issue the costume department has had to deal with  visibility. If cast members were to wear period-appropriate clothing  drab cloth in various shades of gray and brown  it would be even more difficult for the audience to see them during the evening production  even with the lights. As part of the ongoing process of replacing the older costumes, Brockwell and her team decided to use bright colors. In addition to the very visible colors for the wise men, the disciples each wear costumes with vibrant yellows, greens and other colors.

"The landscape out there is covered so much in brown and gray," she said. "So we decided last year that they were going to be very bright. You're going to see everyone walking through now without blending in with the scenery. It's not accurate like in those days, but it makes for a better show."

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