When the Lights Went Out: Costume Designer Linda Cho

(Linda Cho)

Costume designer Linda Cho shares how she is coping with COVID-19 closing in this series, "When the Lights Went Out," where theatrical designers discuss what they are doing these days.

Linda Cho was in first dress for The Chinese Lady at the Long Wharf, invited dress for the musical Whisper House with the Civilians in NY, in first fittings for Take Me Out on Broadway, in the planning stages for Walk on the Moon, a musical at George Street Playhouse, and The Outsiders, a musical at the Goodman. And she was designing Photograph 51 for Williamstown Theater Festival. "It makes me sad to think about it,” says Cho.  

Since it mostly closed down, Cho has reviewed several graduating students’ costume portfolios from various schools, and she’s been speaking at theatre special events and fundraisers. “Some projects are optimistically forging ahead and initiating design meetings, which is reassuring. I've also been listening to Master classes and lectures on Zoom on a range of topics,” she says.

She’s had time to work on a personal sculptural installation involving kanzashi—folded cloth flowers—brush up on French on the Duolingo app, and watch every episode of Madam Secretary. “I like the fiction of a White House with intelligent humans in charge,” she says. “I wept through Michelle Obama's Becoming—I miss her so freakin' much...I've learned to cook every food my family misses—lo mein, lamb tangine, and spatzle—and committed to a four-minute workout every day.”

At home with her husband and children, Cho stays connected with neighbors with socially distant visits, where they BYOB and BYOC (bring your own chairs), and she Zooms with those too far to bike to. “I've been a perplexed classmate and iffy tutor to my kids as they homeschool,” she says.

She hopes for a better world come January. “We desperately need to get this egotistical, racist, dangerous, horror show out of the Oval Office.”

Read more "When the Lights Went Out" stories here.

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