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Larae Thiege Hascall to Retire at the End of the 2018-19 Season

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The press release:

PNB Costume Shop Manager Larae Theige Hascall to Retire at End of Season.

First joined Pacific Northwest Ballet in 1983.

SEATTLE, WA — Pacific Northwest Ballet’s much-loved Costume Shop Manager, Larae Theige Hascall, has announced that she will retire at the end of PNB’s 2018-2019 season. Ms. Hascall has led PNB’s acclaimed Costume and Wardrobe shops for over thirty years.

“It is almost impossible to articulate the value and contribution Larae Hascall has given to Pacific Northwest Ballet over the past 35 years,” said PNB Artistic Director Peter Boal. “The well-deserved reputation of PNB’s Costume Shop is a direct result of Larae’s oversight, management, and high standards. Through it all, Larae has been a hands-on, doing-what-needs-to-be-done example for her team. She is as respectful of visiting designers as she is of dancers, students, and sewers. Because of Larae’s investment, PNB’s costumes are part of the excellence of our institution.”

Born in Spokane, Washington, Ms. Hascall joined PNB in 1983, and became Costume Shop Manager in 1987. She supervises both Costume Shop and Wardrobe in the creation, alteration, and maintenance of all costumes worn in PNB productions. She is also supervisor for specialty makeup and wigs. Ms. Hascall has been the primary collaborator for costumes created by such renowned designers as Martin Pakledinaz (A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Cinderella), Paul Tazewell (Seven Deadly Sins, Kent Stowell’s Swan Lake), Theoni V. Aldredge (Carmina Burana), Roberta Guidi di Bagno (Coppélia), Santo Loquasto (Waiting at the Station), and Jerome Kaplan (Giselle, Jewels).

“When I walked into PNB’s basement Costume Shop at the Home of the Good Shepherd in 1983 it never crossed my mind that I would be in this job 35 years later,” said Ms. Hascall. “I came in to sew on a project for PNB and in 1987 I took on the responsibility of managing the shop. Kent Stowell and Francia Russell, along with Rico Chiarelli, took a chance on me, an untested manager, and offered me the job as well as their full support. Over the years I have had amazing opportunities to meet and work with incredible artists: designers, dancers and costume & wardrobe artisans. I’ve been extremely lucky to be able to tour with PNB all over the world and I’ve had a terrific time. Thanks to Peter Boal for continuing to support me and our team; thanks to Mark Zappone for hiring me in 1983; thanks to my husband and daughter for being there for me at the end of the day. And my ultimate thanks goes to my dear friends and colleagues in the PNB Costume Shop and Wardrobe who make us all look good!”

Kudos have been pouring in since Ms. Hascall announced her retirement to coworkers and collaborators (see below.)

Audiences will have a couple of opportunities during PNB’s 2018-2019 season to hear from Ms. Hascall before her retirement: On Tuesday, October 9, Ms. Hascall and her team of artists will be the focus of the discussion at BALLET 101: Dressing the Dance – Costumes & Wardrobe at PNB. And on Thursday, April 11, Ms. Hascall will join PNB Audience Education Manager Doug Fullington for the PNB CONVERSATIONS preceding the dress rehearsal of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. See TICKET INFORMATION, below, for more details.

A national search has been launched to hire Ms. Hascall’s replacement.


Audiences will have two opportunities to hear from Ms. Hascall before her retirement at the end of PNB’s 2018-2019 season:

BALLET 101: Dressing the Dance – Costumes & Wardrobe at PNB

Tuesday October 9, 7:00 pm

The Phelps Center, 301 Mercer St., Seattle

Pacific Northwest Ballet boasts one of the most highly-regarded costume shops in the country. Learn what goes into building and maintaining the many costumes (and more) in the PNB repertory during this panel discussion featuring Costume Shop Manager Larae Theige Hascall and her team of artists. This is the first of a four-part series exploring the many facets of the ballet industry. Moderated by Audience Education Manager Doug Fullington. Tickets are $25 per two-hour session, or $75 subscription (four sessions for the price of three.) These sessions will most likely sell out in advance.


Thursday, April 11, 5:30 pm

Nesholm Family Lecture Hall at McCaw Hall

Join PNB Audience Education Manager Doug Fullington in conversation with Costume Shop Manager Larae Theige Hascall, during the hour preceding the dress rehearsal of PNB’s Martin Pakledinaz-designed A Midsummer Night’s Dream. PNB Conversations offers in-depth interviews with artists involved in putting our repertory on stage. Attend the Conversations event only or stay for the dress rehearsal: Tickets are $30.

Tickets to these special events may be purchased through the PNB Box Office at 206.441.2424, in person at 301 Mercer Street, or online at PNB.org.



From Kent Stowell and Francia Russell, PNB Founding Artistic Directors:

“We can hardly remember a time without Larae in our lives. In 1983 she was hired to assist in our seedy basement wardrobe department in the Good Shepherd Center and within three or four years became the Manager. As the Company grew and then moved into the much bigger, and infinitely nicer and more efficient, space in The Phelps Center, Larae’s shop grew and grew, sometimes appearing to take over the building during major productions. For many years now the PNB Costume Shop has been recognized as a model for ballet companies across the country. Larae’s quiet authority has overseen growth not only in capacity but, most importantly, in quality. Designers love to work there and dancers, from apprentice to principal, will proclaim that the intricate beauty and precise fit of their costumes have given them the confidence to do their very best onstage.

“Larae’s retirement is well-earned and would be the cause of great sadness if she did not leave a Wardrobe Department and Costume Shop with the finest and most dedicated staffs in our business. There is no doubt they will follow her example and carry on her work. From the bottom of our hearts we thank you, Larae, for your years of work, expertise and devotion to PNB.” 

From Roberta Guidi di Bagno, designer (Coppélia and The Merry Widow):

“I am happy to share my admiration for Larae. I was very lucky to have worked with her on two wonderful experiences: Merry Widow and Coppélia. Since I walked in the workshop, I was warmly greeted by Larae and her team who immediately created a very special and friendly surrounding, allowing me to express my vision freely. In other words, I have been spoiled from day one! Larae collaborated with her technical knowledge, her artistic sense, her intelligence and – much more – with her great heart. She helped me in every way and I know that her enthusiasm made everything become possible and each costume, each character took shape exactly as in my mind. I cannot express enough my thanks for her amazing talent and I wish her the all the best for her new life!”

From Jerome and Laura Tisserand, principal dancers:

To say that PNB will miss Larae is a massive understatement. The dedication, passion, love, and humor she has shown this institution is unparalleled and inspiring, and we know that her absence will be felt across all departments of PNB. Rae Rae, you are one of a kind, and we will miss you dearly!

From Jerome Kaplan, designer (Roméo et Juliette, Giselle, Jewels, Don Quixote, Cendrillon): 

“It's difficult to summarize in a few words what it's been like working with Larae. In addition to Giselle and Jewels, she also managed the revivals of Don Q andR&J.  I'm really sad to hear about Larae's retirement. How to replace someone so dedicated to their job? Without hesitation, Larae and the PNB shop is by far the best place I’ve worked with to build costumes in the United States. The attention to detail and the time they take to refine the work proves what high standards they aspire to keep. It simply comes down to, Larae is more demanding than me, and I find myself wanting to go further when I am working with her. I'll never forget her patience with me, even when I was late with the delivery of my designs! The amount of kindness, support, and confidence she's bestowed on me for each production will not be forgotten, and makes it difficult for me to imagine PNB without Larae. I can only hope she will return to PNB from time to time so we have other opportunities to work together. Larae, don't leave!  It's too early! Much love and 1,000 thanks for everything we shared.”

From Lesley Rausch, principal dancer:

“I’ve been fortunate enough to work with Larae for nearly 20 years. Going to the costume shop for a fitting is always a high point in my day. Larae has created a welcoming and supportive environment filled with humor. Her incredibly high standards of fitting every costume perfectly always leave me feeling as beautiful and comfortable as possible, giving me that extra dose of confidence I need to go on stage. It’s hard to imagine PNB without Larae. I’ve begged her more than once to wait to retire until I do, but I wish her nothing but the best. She certainly deserves it!”

From Mark Zappone, designer (Opus 111, Symphony in C, Tarantella and many more) and former PNB Costume Shop Manager:

“Larae and I first worked together for PNB when we were just ‘kids’ ... Then she took over and has maintained the highest aesthetic and construction qualities the ballet world has ever seen! My hat has been off to this genuine, kind, and talented friend ever since.”


From Holly Hynes, designer (In the Night, Red Angels, Tide Harmonic and many more), to be sung to the tune of “How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?,” with apologies to Oscar Hammerstein II:

How do you thank a woman like La-Raeee?

How do you count the shows and all the clothes?

How do you find the word that means La-Raeee?

A saint in the wings! A calm even air! A pro!

How do you thank a woman like La-Raeee?

Keep her-rr close and always in your heart.

Best of luck my friend in the next chapter! Love ya.”

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You know, it’s unlikely I’ll ever cross paths with Larae Hascall, but this statement makes her contributions to the company — both in work product and presence — come alive. She sounds like an amazing force. 

(Also, I love hat PNB’s tributes to often-unseen staff members feel so heartfelt. I don’t know if it’s the quality of the PR writing, a reflection of a company atmosphere that values all contributions, or both, but the effort makes the PNB experience all the more vibrant. I appreciate it.)

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Hooray for Larae!!!  A very nice tribute indeed!!!

Last night there was a Male Solos présentation in the PNB studios.  Larae was there and I thought Peter Boal said she would be going with the group when they present the same program at the Guggenheim in October.  The three dancers were not in costume, but maybe they will be in NYC.  So if you have a ticket to that event, maybe you will see her.

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