Johnny Appleseed by Billy Edd Wheeler
venue: Johnny Appleseed Heritage Center, Inc., Ashland, OH
date: Summer 2004, 2005
Director: Russell Henderson
The Johnny Appleseed Heritage Center was created to educate the public about the life of Johnny Appleseed and his time in Ohio. One aspect of this mission was the creation of this historical, musical drama. I designed the costumes for the premiere in 2004 and it continued through the 2005 season.
I designed 200 costumes for a cast of fifty performers. The production was an idealized representation of Appleseed’s life, typical of most historical dramas. Beginning in 1803 and concluding in 1845 the drama details Appleseed’s life in north central Ohio, his interaction between the Delaware Indian tribes and the settlers of the region as well as his involvement in the War of 1812. The outdoor venue presented a big challenge since the backdrop was 100 foot trees and a spectacular landscape. The costumes needed to balance the ideal and the realistic and still stand out in front of the impressive natural scenery.