If you've seen the acclaimed Napa Valley Broadway Playhouse production of — which holds its final performance this afternoon — then you know what critic L. Pierce Carson meant when he wrote that he was "dazzled" by the costumes.
The colorful and glitzy designs were created by Debra Sherman, a Napa resident who has been dazzling audiences since the 1970s, when she was a young singer and actor with a knack for dressmaking.
She began by working on her own costumes and "it quickly turned into requests to do professional work for the stage," Sherman recalled.
"I started a custom-designed costume business in Boston in 1976, where I worked for everyone from the Victoriana Society, Friends of the Boston Garden, ODC Dance Company to burlesque shows in downtown Boston," Sherman continued.
"I have also done a lot of bridal and formal attire. I have done many costumes for shows at the Renaissance and Dickens faires and period and vintage dress in general."
In the 1980s, Sherman moved to Los Angeles and worked with the film and TV industries, but continued doing custom gowns and clothing, she said.
Her career as an independent designer continued until she moved to Napa in 2001 with her husband Rob, a luthier and guitarist, and their toddler son.
"I also had to cope with a tiny bout of cancer," said Sherman, who began a real estate career in 2003.
Six months ago, Sherman restarted her custom design business.
"I felt it was time for a creative endeavor," said Sherman, adding that Cabaret has always been one of her favorite shows.
"I wore green nail polish for weeks when I was in high school, when the movie was released," she said.
Sherman spent three months creating all of the individual costumes for the Cabaret dancers, from sketches to pattern drafting and hand beadwork, she said.
She is available for custom design work at firstname.lastname@example.org.