“Boston isn't a huge city for our industry, but it's a great scene,” says LD Jeff Adelberg, lighting supervisor for Boston College, who finds local resources to support the ample work he gets in the area.

He likes Backstage Hardware, “a unique theatre-oriented hardware store in South Boston. They stock scenic paints, theatre hardware, lighting expendables, all the colors of gaff tape you can imagine. They also have all the contents of your local True-Value store.”

Adelberg often turns to Jim De Veer, VP of Advanced Lighting and Production Services, “one of those guys who's been there, done that, and now runs a shop with a deep understanding of the industry. It's the only shop in the area that I trust 100%.”

Production Advantage in Vermont ships to Boston fast and, Adelberg says, “they have the best prices and selection in New England.”


Jeannette Hawley, costume shop manager at the American Repertory Theatre (ART) in nearby Cambridge, shops mostly in New York and sometimes in Europe. But she takes advantage of local shops often enough to be able to name the best.

For vintage clothing, there's Bobby From Boston, by appointment only, which was listed in Travel + Leisure magazine's “Ultimate Vintage Guide” [Oct. 2003]. In Cambridge, The Garment District has “wonderful vintage clothing” and Oona's in Harvard Square will “track down incredible stuff,” including beautiful jewelry. Lady Grace's is the place for corsetry and outsized braziers.

For notions, Hawley suggests Solo Slide Fasteners Inc. in Foxboro, MA. Windsor Button has odd buttons and trims. Dorothy's Boutique offers “wigs, makeup, and rhinestones galore.” National Fiber Technology in Lawrence, MA is a good place for specialty furs and wig material — “you can buy hair that's already pre-ventilated on a net.” Boston Costume, a big rental house, also supplies humorous costume props. Freddy Farkle's Fabric Outlet in Watertown has inexpensive and designer fabrics for clothing and home decorating and is located with the Fabric Showroom, which provides custom drapery and upholstery. Zimman's Inc., a decorator fabric store established in 1909, is just minutes outside of Boston in Lynn, MA and “has wonderful trims and beautiful fabrics, particularly for period costumes.”

“Boston was once the shoemaking capital of the world,” says Hawley, who finds cheap dancewear, women's shoes to size 14, and men's Stacy Adams shoes at Teddy's Shoes.

“The [Big Men] Stout Men's Shop is Boston's best kept secret. It's a tiny shop in business for over 100 years. They can do really tall or short and portly.” Newbury Street sports a wealth of boutiques and second-hand clothing stores. Army Barracks has a shop there; “I've been able to call them up and say I need ten World War II Navy guys, and they'll pull it together.”

Liz Perlman does “great work” at Costume Works Inc. in Somerville, the only independent professional shop in Boston.


When scenic designer Alexander Dodge needed a sedan chair for The Rivals at the Huntington Theatre, he found one in the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. “It was terrific to see one in actuality to get a correct sense of scale. The Gardner has, of course, a wonderfully mad collection in addition to their sedan chair. It is a must for anyone visiting Boston.”

Dodge finds out-of-print books at Commonwealth Books, “an incredible art bookstore” with used and vintage books. “I often come across titles that I wouldn't even begin to know how to search for on eBay.”

“The museums at Harvard are wonderful,” Dodge adds, noting the Fogg, “a mini-Met,” and the Peabody, a natural history museum that “is totally old-school fantastic. Cases upon cases of stuffed critters, dinosaur bones, gorgeous minerals-all eerie and enchanting. They also have the Ware Glass Flower collection from the 1880s that is one of a kind.”


Adelberg says his favorite Boston venue is the ART's Loeb theater “that can be converted from proscenium to thrust…and has a delightful and brilliant staff.” Hawley says that ART costume shop, one of a kind, creates costumes that wouldn't be costumes elsewhere and has had to come up with new stitching technology. She also likes the Huntington Theatre for its first-rate productions and fine shop.

Over a dozen companies, small and large, use the four venues in the four-acre complex that is the Boston Center for the Arts (BCA), including SpeakEasy Stage Company (Boston Premieres), Zeitgeist Stage (contemporary brainy stuff), Súgán Theatre (Irish), and The Theatre Offensive (alternative lifestyles). Adelberg credits director and lighting designer Darren Evans and BCA director Jennifer Brown with “a keen sense of the needs of the tenants and patrons of the theatres.”

The schools in Boston have some good theatres and good programs. StageSource, “the alliance of theatre artists and producers,” offers classes, too; it's also the organization to join for job postings, free ticket offers, and health insurance for folks in the business. Adelberg says Boston University (affiliated with the Huntington Theatre Company), Emerson College and Brandeis “are the schools with really significant design/tech programs.”

Visit Davi Napoleon at To suggest cities you would like to see Re:Sources cover, email [email protected].



Advanced Lighting and Production Services:

Backstage Hardware:

Production Advantage:


Army Barracks: 978-745-9412,

Big Men Stout Men's Shop: 617-542-5397,

Bobby From Boston: 617-423-9299

Boston Costume: 617-482-1632,

Costume Works: 617-623-7510,

Dorothy's Boutique: 617-262-9255

Freddy Farkle's Fabric Outlet: 617-926-2888

The Garment District: 617-876-5230,

Lady Grace Intimate Apparel: 617-566-8194,

National Fiber Technology LLC: 978-686-2964,

Oona's: 617-491-2654

Solo Slide Fasteners Inc.: 800-343-9670, [email protected]

Teddy's Shoes: 617-547-0443

Windsor Button: 617-482-4969,

Zimman's Inc.: 617-598-9432,


Commonwealth Books:

Fogg Museum:

Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum:

Peabody Museum:


American Repertory Theatre (ART):

The ART's Main Stage:

Boston Center for the Arts:

Huntington Theatre Company:

SpeakEasy Stage Company:


Súgán Theatre Company:

The Theatre Offensive:

Zeitgeist Stage Company:

Boston University:

Brandeis University:

Emerson College: