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Disney costumer has work cut out for him

Scott Lane, a Los Angeles-based costume designer, had lots of territory to cover in producing the costumes for the newest "Disney on Ice" show — "75 Years of Disney Magic," opening Tuesday at the Delta Center and continuing through March 18. (For tickets, call 325-SEAT or purchase tickets through Ticketmaster outlets at all Fred Meyer and Graywhale CD stores.)

Previously, he had designed costumes for "Little Mermaid on Ice," but this show was a bigger challenge. Scripts, sketches and concepts changed rapidly during the eight-month development process.

"There's just too much in 75 years of Disney to pack into one show," Lane noted during a telephone interview from Los Angeles. "There's not too much in the show now, but there was when we began. By the time we started piecing the show together, it was a process of elimination. We designed three different 'Mary Poppins' numbers and none of them even made it into the show."

By the time the Disney production was ready to tour, Lane had a wardrobe full of outfits for the various characters that had been produced by six different costume houses — four in New York City, one in Florida and one in Los Angeles.

Lane's career in the entertainment industry started as a singer/dancer in regional theaters and civic light operas throughout Southern California — plus one season at the Pink Garter Playhouse in Jackson, Wyo. ("That's about as close as I came to Salt Lake City," he said.)

Later — it might have been a combination of having to rent bad costumes and creating original stuff for his friends to wear for Halloween and Renaissance fairs — he switched to full-time costuming.

"The biggest challenge (in this show) is making the characters look like they need to look, but allowing the performers — athletically — to do what they need to do. They really are athletes first, then they're sort of forced into becoming performers. It's very challenging to put athletes in mouse ears," Lane said.

Even Disney's most famous character — Mickey Mouse — isn't your standard, everyday Mickey Mouse. "We've pulled some historic reference looks to replicate the old 'Mickey Mouse Club,' and he got glitzed up for 'It's a Small World,' with silver and mirrors," said Lane. "The costuming process is amazing. You have to look at so many pieces of fabric, and so many of the costumes are hand-painted. All of the bugs in 'A Bug's Life' are hand-painted, and the 'Mulan' segment is a mini-epic in and of itself."

But now the Disney on Ice production has a life of its own, and Lane is no longer involved. Instead, he's been working on some theater projects, including "Strike Up the Band," a new production of "Hair" and — hopefully — a new musical called "Dorian," based on "The Picture of Dorian Gray." For the latter, he's been helping a small group of New York actors get their wardrobe together for a workshop edition of "Dorian," which he hopes will eventually evolve into a full-fledged Broadway musical.