Titanic

Mannequins at the Wick Theatre and Costume Museum don outfits from the musical "Titanic." (Wick Theatre and Costume Museum/Courtesy / November 14, 2013)

A giant lighted Times Square sign beckons visitors to 42nd Street. Nearby, a display features blue-and-purple striped gambler suits from "Guys and Dolls." And a few steps away, a carousel under a Victorian trellis unveils classic gowns from "My Fair Lady,'' which starred Julie Andrews in 1956.

Some of Broadway's most famous duds have a new home — after being moved from a nondescript warehouse in Pompano Beach to the grounds of the Wick Theatre in Boca Raton. Although the theatre opened this fall, the adjacent costume museum was still being renovated. It finally raises its curtains Nov. 15, offering daily tours of the 5,000 pieces on display, which include 120 outfits on mannequins, from 35 Broadway productions.

"The appeal to me is preserving all this history,'' said Kimberly Wick, who runs the theatre and costume museum with sister Kelly Wick Kigar and their mother, Marilynn Wick. "To preserve it and put it in a box, what's the appeal in that? Sharing it with folks so it stirs up all of those wonderful memories and emotions is what rings my bell."

Wick recently gave visitors a tour of the museum before its official opening, welcoming them in full costume herself: a pink-and-black lingerie ensemble from the 2004 production of "La Cage Aux Folles."


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"It is our job as costumers to help tell and perpetuate the storylines,'' she said. "Nothing makes me feel better than having one of my guests come up and say, 'You just brought back so many incredible wonderful memories.' And that makes it all worth it."

The Wicks said they have spent more than $1 million to dress up the new location, which formerly housed the Caldwell Theatre Co. Marilynn Wick began the costume collection in 1976 from her dining room table in Boca Raton. She and her children made five Santa Claus suits and began renting out clothes. Through the years, she designed or bought thousands of costumes and opened Costume World Rentals, which has locations in Deerfield Beach, Austin, Dallas and Pittsburgh.

Before the relocation, their Costume World Broadway Collection could be seen by appointment only at the warehouse. The collection drew 11,000 visitors during the three years there, Kimberly Wick said.

During the tour, she led visitors through 14 wardrobe displays for productions including "Guys and Dolls," "The King and I" and "Fiddler on the Roof," as soundtracks played in the background.

For Broadway buffs, it was a trip through musical history. "The closest thing to being on Broadway," said Grace Shafir, a Boynton Beach filmmaker who is working on a documentary about the costume museum. "The costumes are incredible, everything from historical to modern."

As guests oohed and aahed over the designs, Kimberly Wick played the role of an enthusiastic cruise director, providing background on the costumes, their designers, the year the musicals were launched, their revivals as well as the number of performances they had.

"Look at these gorgeous jackets,'' said Wick, pointing to a rack filled with red band jackets from "The Music Man." "Any idea how many there are?"

Several responded — correctly — "76 jackets!" (There's a song in the musical titled, "76 Trombones.")

Toward the end of the 35-minute tour, she brought them to the "Hello, Dolly!" exhibit, which features a red cabaret dress worn by Ginger Rogers in the 1965 production,

Then she propped open the display wall unveiling the backstage area of the theatre's current production of "Irving Berlin's White Christmas." Half of the museum's displays will be changed every two months to reflect new productions at the theatre.

The costume tour will be 11 a.m. daily and includes a lunch in the adjacent Wick Tavern on the Green, which Wick said has a chandelier from the original Tavern on the Green in New York.

Kathy Brown, of Boca Raton, had visited the previous costume collection when it was in Pompano Beach, where she remembered seeing outfits hung from the ceiling. A fan of "The King and I,'' Brown wanted to see the display in its new home.

"It's beautiful,'' she said. "It shows more with less. You can really appreciate the displays more. They did a great job."

johnnydiaz@tribune.com or 954-356-4939

If you go

What: Tours of The Wick Theatre and Costume Museum

When: 11 a.m. daily tours; RSVP required

Where: 7901 N. Federal Highway, Boca Raton

Cost: $48, for tour and lunch; $58 for tour, lunch and a cabaret performance; $88 for tour, lunch and a matinee theater performance.

Contact: 561-995-2333, thewick.org