Marilynn Wick just couldn’t resist snapping up a Boca Raton theater of her very own.
“I never thought I’d be opening up a theater in my own lifetime,” says Wick, who along with her daughters Kim and Kelly run Costume World Rentals, with stores in Austin, Dallas, Pittsburgh and Deerfield Beach. “But I worked all these years to be a collector … and I want to make people understand what it is.”
So she has moved the Costume World Broadway Collection from a warehouse museum in Pompano Beach — “We had 10,000 people in 2 1/2 years and we never advertised,” she says — to an expansive building on U.S. 1’s northern Boca Raton border, just south of Delray Beach. The site used to house the Caldwell Theatre Company.
It has been re-christened the Wick Theatre and Costume Museum, and a season that includes five musicals opened with “The Sound of Music.”
Other shows to follow include “White Christmas,” “42nd Street,” “The Full Monty” and “Ain’t Misbehavin’.” “Steel Magnolias” is the only non-musical on the schedule.
“I’ve got half of the original Mary Martin clothes right here,” says Wick, laying out her strategy. “Half of the season, I got the costumes. We have the original costumes from ‘42nd Street.’ We have the original national tour and the Broadway revival.”
Wick has had a lot of business ventures, ranging from real estate to an industrial cleaning company. After dabbling in natural salvage work, which sharpened her negotiating skills by dealing with foreign exchanges, she started the costume empire with a humble five Santa Claus suits in 1976.
“I was always involved with my high school theater,” she reminisces. “It seems like I was always fooling around in the costuming department. But then I left to have a couple of kids. One hot summer day the girls came to me and said, ‘We want to make money,’ I said to them, ‘Well, what are you going to do? You’re too young to work.’ So we thought that if we could make something, then they could sell it. So I made a couple of Santa suits. And that was the beginning of everything.”
Her entrepreneurial talents are evidenced in the new theater. What used to be the Caldwell’s office is now a gift shop. Wick refurbished the reception room with chandeliers, silverware and linens from the storied Tavern on the Green restaurant in Manhattan. The space will host a combination luncheon, matinee show and museum tour for groups.
“It’s new and exciting and almost scary,” Wick says. “We have worked feverishly.”
“The Sound of Music” will run through Oct. 20 at the Wick Theatre, 7901 N. Federal Highway in Boca Raton. Performances are 7:30 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays; 2 p.m. matinees Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays. Tickets cost $58. Call 561-995-2333 or go to TheWick.org.