The Tazewells: Three generations of talent at TAG
The cover photo is of costumes from The Wiz Live! Photographed By Paul Gilmore – NBC Universal
Three generations of talent featuring designer Paul Tazewell of New York will be showcased in an exhibit opening on Nov. 21-Jan. 3, 2020, filling three galleries at Theatre Art Galleries in High Point. The free opening reception is on Thursday, Nov. 21, from 5:30-7:30 p.m. and features music by Keith Byrd along with food, beer and wine. Paul Tazewell’s work in the main gallery will be shown concurrently with his mother Barbara Tazewell’s work in the Upstairs Gallery, along with her grandson Nathaneal Tazewell’s work shown in the Hallway Gallery, said executive director of TAG Jeff Horney. Both Paul and Barbara will be in attendance at the opening reception.
Horney said that Tazewell’s exhibit in the main gallery would feature 16 costumes from various productions, including six pieces from the Broadway sensation Hamilton, pieces from NBC’s The Wiz Live!, Jesus Christ Superstar Live! In Concert, Showboat, and one piece from The Miracle Worker. He said there would be original costume design renderings from multiple productions and large-scale photographs of the actors wearing the costumes. Horney said that Paul is sending a stylist the week before the show to get the costumes ready for a museum-quality presentation.
Horney gives credit to this show being born out of an idea from Pat Plaxico, a High Point designer, historian, and lover of arts and music who passed away last year. Horney said that Plaxico sent him an email telling him about Barbara Tazewell’s work, and also noted that her son was a costume designer of some renown. When Horney got in touch with Barbara this year regarding showing her and Paul’s work, she said it might be nice to not only feature her son but also to show her grandson’s art. Horney said he thought it would be fun to have all three generations, “as different as night and day under one roof in three self-contained exhibits.”
When Horney had lunch with Barbara, he said she showed him original sketches from The Color Purple costumes that her son had done. Horney, who has seen the show three times (twice in New York and then a third time when Fantasia brought it to Greensboro), said it was incredible to be sitting with her flipping through page after page of the pieces he vividly remembered from the show.
“The next thing I know, I’ve got 16 costumes coming from New York and Chicago, and I had a tiger by the tail working with something a little bit outside the norm for TAG, but that’s what people respond to,” Horney said.
When others told him he might want to charge admission for this show due to the extra costs of shipping and purchasing mannequins, he chose not to. He said it was just a good investment for TAG and that many people would be familiar with Tazewell’s costumes from the live T.V. shows.
Barbara’s illustrations will be shown along with five of her paper mache puppets and marionettes. She is a graduate of Bennet College and has a home in Asheboro. Her book, “Ola, the Water Bearer,” was originally created as a flip book located under the African Pavilion of the North Carolina Zoo.
Nathanael Tazewell is a self-published comic illustrator’s whose work references sequential artists and Japanese manga from the ’70s and ’80s (i.e., Jean Giraud, Yoshitaka Amano).
Horney said that Paul Tazewell’s work in Broadway productions will also be shown in this exhibit. In 2016, Tazewell received both a Tony Award for Hamilton and an Emmy Award for The Wiz Live! that was broadcast on NBC. Tazewell has been designing costumes for Broadway and regional theater, film, television, dance and opera productions for over 25 years. Tazewell is connected to the Triad with his BFA from the North Carolina School of the Arts and has instructed students there as a guest artist.
Horney said that Tazewell’s latest work includes designing the costumes for the upcoming movie Harriet and for Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story. He said that while Tazewell is at the top of the ladder in being super creative, he was a humble, soft-spoken person. “We just love the diversity in our exhibit, and we are so happy we can bring the work of this amazing family to High Point! We are so fortunate that all three of them have chosen to work with us,” Horney said.
For more details about Paul Tazewell and this show, go to https://yesweekly.com/?s=tazewell+exhibit.
TERRY RADER is a freelance writer/editorial/content/copy, creative consultant/branding strategist, communications outreach messenger, poet, and emerging singer/songwriter.
Wanna go? TAZEWELL: Three Generations/Three Voices, Opening on Thursday, November 21, from 5:30-7:30 p.m., on view until Jan. 3, 2020 at Theatre Art Galleries 220 E. Commerce St. in High Point, (336) 887-2137. Gallery hours: Tues. – Fri., noon-5 p.m. or by appt., office hours: Tues.-Fri., 8 a.m.-5 p.m. All exhibitions are free and open to the public, http://tagart.org, natetaz-art.squarespace.com.