ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The 75th Tony Awards celebrated the return to the state Sunday evening following nearly two years of COVID shutdowns. Among the winners, is a costume designer from right here in New Mexico.
His Broadway debut ended with a Tony award during the biggest night in theater. Montana Levi Blanco is a costume designer from Albuquerque. “I’m just feeling really grateful and thinking about all the people who have helped me along the way,” said Blanco. “I actually began my journey as an oboist in Albuquerque, like I played classical music so it’s kind of awesome in a way because the theater combines all of those things. It combines music and art and history.”
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Blanco designed the costumes for the Tony-winning Broadway play Skin of Our Teeth which takes place over three time periods, the 1950s, the 1920s, and post-Civil War. “I think the challenging part of Skin of Our Teeth was actually physically accomplishing it so I think there was a total of 120 costumes total which is quite a big show,” Blanco said.
Blanco says he loves all of the different parts of costume designing from picking out the fabric to working with the artisans in New York’s garment district, to seeing it all come together on the performers. He says he draws his inspiration from his grandmother who ran a lamp shade business for 50 years.
“I grew up with her playing around with fabric and beads and trim and really a lot of the materials that I work with now,” Blanco said. “I think for me it’s just so integral with how I grew up and learning those skills from my grandmother and having a relationship to those materials is such a through-line to the work I do.”
Now that Blanco has one Tony under his belt, he’s already working on plans for next season and doing some off-Broadway work, but he’s also ready for some R&R. “I’m going to spend some time on the beach,” Blanco said.
Blanco also did the costumes for Strange Loop which won best musical at Sunday night’s Tony Awards.