Amy J. Cianci

The mark of a great costume designer is the ability to find the clothes that express a theatrical character´s personality, and to do so quietly, without distracting our attention from the action on stage. This is precisely what Amy J. Cianci did in two productions at American Stage last season: A Moon for the Misbegotten, and God´s Man in Texas. In Moon, Cianci had to convince us that James Tyrone, a debonair man-about-Broadway, and Josie Hogan, a rough, tough tenant farmer´s daughter, belonged together in the same town — and in the same romance. She did this by putting James in a three-piece suit that he´d apparently owned since time began, and Josie in a dirty smock that still rendered her feminine and sexually attractive. For God´s Man in Texas, Cianci was asked to dress two pastors, one aging, one considerably younger, both of whom wanted the same powerful, highly public job. She did this with some of the sharpest suits ever worn by the clergy, and then added a bit of humor by clothing a pastor´s assistant in amusingly inappropriate country/western togs. And let´s not forget the all-purpose costumes that Cianci crafted for the 15 characters of Stones In His Pockets — all played by two actors. Conclusion: Cianci is a designer who deftly handles every assignment that´s given her, and always without drawing too much attention to her work. And that´s why she´s tops.