Starlight Express the Musical Wiki

"Simple Starlight" Is a design portfolio with the aim of creating costume designs that would be ideal for an amateur/schools production of "Starlight Express". 

The Brief

The Brief I set myself here was to create designs for an amateur production of Starlight Express.  Ideally with the intention of being commissioned by a company to supply the costumes, however I would rather see my designs helping out productions on tight budgets, rather than sitting on the ideas myself.  

As such these designs are online publicly, for general use with the proviso to please credit the design to "Belle's Costumes".  And please send me a link to photos!

The essential elements to these costume designs are:

  • Clear, strong characterisation - easy for the audience to immediately read who is who.
  • Good movement - while the authentic stage costumes can be very heavy and restrictive, asking a schools-age cast to perform while wrestling with costumes is unfair.  So these designs are all based on street clothes or dancewear, allowing enough movement to skate comfortably and not distract from the performance.
  • Simple and strong design - costumes that will withstand falls and knocks, quick changes and multiple performances.
  • Flexible Casting - expandable ensemble, it's possible to have the 24 performers as in the professional production with ensemble playing multiple roles with quick changes, to having 30+ performers.  Also many ensemble characters are gender-neutral, to help counter the very male-heavy balance of the show.
  • Simple and Affordable - kept as basic as possible with sourced items and simple constrution pieces help keep the budget down for what has to be an extravagant production.
  • Anthropomorphic - the characters represent a child's toys coming alive in a dream, similar to the classic ballet "The Nutcracker". As such the characters need a stylised, clear look, without literal train wheels and doors and windows included.

Rusty, Coaches

Simple Starlight - Rusty and Coaches

Coaches' accessories include: a skate belt - solid leather painted/covered in fabric, with two handles at the back, securely attached, to allow skating in formation; gloves, ideally fingerless for practicality in fixing skates; kneepads, practical quality covered to match the costume; and skate covers, to make the skates match the costume colours.  (Sleepers - extra ensemble coaches)

Rusty - belt and tabard over brown t-shirt and brown jeans/combat trousers.  Headband.

Pearl - pink skater dress over pink lycra unitard, pearl necklace, silver accessories.  Pink wig in bunches

Dinah - baby blue skater dress over blue lycra unitard, puff sleeves, white apron, silver accessories. Blonde 1950s-style wig.

Buffy - orange hotpants and tied shirt over yellow lycra unitard, white waitress apron.  Gold accessories.  High ponytail with gold clip.

Duvay - ruched green dress over mint green lycra unitard. Gold accessories.  Blonde, choppy "bed-head" style wig. 

Sleeper 1 - purple skater dress over lilac lycra unitard.  silver accessories.  Purple bob wig.

Sleeper 2 - red balloon dress over dark red lycra unitard. Gold accessories. Dark blonde short wig.

Electra, Components

Simple Starlight - Electra and Components

Electra and his components must appear as a set, with the components echoing his style.  The restricted colour palette of bright kingfisher blue against monochrome black, grey and silver ties these characters together.  These designs are also closest to the iconic original designs by John Napier, but not directly copying his work.

(Krupp not included in licensed version but included as extra ensemble)

Electra - blue catsuit, silver accessories.  Blue mohawk wig.

Volta - Blue leotard over black leggings, silver tabard and accessories. silver/black fan wig.

Wrench - Grey leotard over black leggings, blue and silver tabard and accessories.  Silver wig.

Joule - Black leotard with white heart apliqué over grey leggins.  Blue and silver accessories.  Silver fluffy wig.

Purse - Black lycra dancewear, silver and black tabard and accessories.  Headband. Purse needs to be sleek and form fitting to distinguish him from the Marshalls, also black and striped but much chunkier.

Krupp - Grey trousers and top, silver accessories and tabard.  Grey hat.

Greaseball, Ensemble - Gang and Marshalls, National Engines

simple Starlight - Greaseball, Gang and Marshalls.

Simple Starlight - National Engines

Greaseball needs to look slick and smooth, stand out from the ensemble.  But his gang need to echo his look.

Also for the ensemble Gang, Marshalls, and National engines, I am envisaging that they will be wearing helmets, much in the style of Roller Derby both for safety and for aesthetics.  For a small ensemble, performers can switch between Nationals, Gang and Marshalls by simply swapping out the tabards and helmet covers, worn over simple blacks.

Bobo and Espresso are not included in the licensed production, but included here as extra ensemble.

Greaseball - Black t-shirt, black jeans. Gold/black jacket. Gold "champion" belt. Elvis-style wig.

Marshalls - Black/white Referee stripes. 

Gang - Black/gold chevrons to echo Greaseball.

Nationals - tabard with silver stripes over colour base, national flag front and back.  Matching helmet cover. 

Poppa, Freight

Simple Starlight - Freight

Poppa - Blue tabard over grey shirt, grey work trousers. Grey train driver's hat.

Hip Hoppers - identical graffiti-style printed shirts with coloured trim over long-sleeved grey shirts, baggy jeans (but not worn low on hips while skating!)  snapback hats in coordinating colours.  Potentially including 4, 5, to expand ensemble. Hidden skate belt under shirts.

Flat-top - street artist, brick red hoodie, grey camoflage short trousers.

Dustin - faded fluro vest over baggy grey sweats, knitted grey beanie. partly hidden skate belt.

Caboose - Bellhop.  smart waistcoat, pillbox hat, shirt and black tie, black smart trousers.

Common Elements

All peformers need to wear certain items -

  • Skates. Obviously. fabric skate covers can make any colour skates coordinate with costumes.
  • Skate belts. Essential for Starlight choreography, solid leather belts with handles on the back, allow skaters to make "trains".  Also allow for standard mic pack storage centre back.
  • Gloves. Both practical and a design feature.  fingerless leather gloves protect the palms in a fall, but also allow easy use of fingers for skate laces etc.  From a design perspective, coordinating gloves make the costume seem finished.
  • Kneepads.  Essential for skating protection.  Can be hidden under trousers, however this will cause considerable wear and tear if they're used in choreography.  Exposed kneepads for coaches can be decorated with coordinating covers.
  • Makeup. Stage lighting bleaches out expression, heavy stage makeup allows the face to be seen distinctly throughout the theatre.  Starlight Express is well known for its elaborate face paint for many characters, and while I have not included makeup designs in this portfolio, ideally coordinating makeup designs would be worn.

Contact Belle

If you're interested in using these designs, please contact me through my facebook page - Belle's Costumes

As a Designer/Maker, I am open to commissions to make all or parts of these designs for productions, or to make and hire. However if you want to make the costumes in-house and use these designs, please just let me know to satisfy my curiosity!