Candlelight Theatre 'Into the Woods'

Candlelight’s costumer: Nurse by day, designer by night

Betsy PriceCulture, Headlines

Candlelight Theatre 'Into the Woods'

The cast of Candlelight Theatre will be on stage through Oct. 29. Photo by Tisa Della-Volpe

There are a lot of Cs in Timothy Cannon’s life.

C for his last name.

C for ChristianaCare, where he is an assistant nurse manager during the day.

C as in Candlelight Theatre, where he’s worked in his off time since 2004.

And C for costumes, because his largest theatrical role since 2004 has been designing costumes for Candlelight Theatre and others.

“It’s an outlet for self expression,” he said. “It’s a release of stress for me; it lets me get my creativity going.”

His day job is structured and rule-heavy.

“Costuming is another way for me to get my artistic fix,” he said. “It gives me a chance to just dream and then to take those dreams and make them a reality.”

His latest project is Candlelight’s current show, “Into the Woods.”

Candlelight Theatre 'Into the Woods'

Costume designer Timothy Cannon envisioned the witch in Candlelight Theatre’s production of ‘Into the Woods’ as mirroring her decaying garden. Photo by Tisa Della-Volpe

“What really made me want to do this story was the witch’s outfit,  because I thought, ‘Oh, that’s creative. And fun.'”

He’s been working with the theater since 2004, when he appeared in the ensemble of “Grease,” but in recent years focused almost entirely on costumes.

Candlelight Theatre Into the Woods Timothy Cannon

Timothy Cannon

He tries to keep the budgets small, under $1,000 and sometimes under $500.

Cannon accomplishes that by shopping in Candlelight’s costume collection to reuse, recycle and repurpose with style.

When the “Woods” witch first appears in the musical, she tells the baker and his wife that they must make amends for his father stealing vegetables from her magic garden.

“My idea was to make it look like she was transforming into the dying vegetation in her garden,” Cannon said.

He decided to start with leper costumes that he had used in a production of “Jesus Christ Superstar,” adding bits of material and vines to give her a ragged look.

“I just wanted to make her look like she just crawled out of her own garden,” Cannon said. “She was punished.”

But then he turned around and had a lot more fun and a much lighter touch on the costumes worn by Cinderella — who does meet and marry her Prince Charming to surprising results.

They offer a more traditional Broadway-style look.

Candlelight Theatre Into the Woods Timothy Cannon

 Tori Healy, left, as the baker’s wife, admires the fancy footwear of Cinderella, played by Anne Bragg. Photo by Tisa Della-Volpe

For Cinderella, he spruced up a costume from a holiday “Christmas Carol” show.

For her sisters, he did a few alterations on ballet costumes donated to Candlelight by the Rock School for Dance in West Chester, Pennsylvania, for a production of “The Nutcracker.”

Path to Candlelight

Canon has been enthralled with theater since he was a child.

He was born in North Carolina and his father’s service as a Marine moved the family to California and Okinawa, Japan, before Cannon returned to attend Delaware State University.

His first time on stage came at the age of 6 in a California summer honors program when he was cast as Kurt Von Trapp in “The Sound of Music.”

As a Black child, he stood out in more than one way.
“It created a bit of a scandal,” he said. “Ha!”
He has continued to sing, dance and act.
“My parents encouraged my artistic side,” he said.
In addition to performing, he was always drawing and making things. Then in eighth grade, he learned to sew in a home economics class.
During his years as a costumer, he often has sewn the outfits himself.
“I love being able to envision, create and design,” Cannon said.

Some of Cannon’s designs

DSU degrees

At Delaware State University, he started out studying music education. But after teaching one class, he decided he needed a back-up plan so he added business administration and graduated with two degrees.
After earning a master’s in business administration from Wilmington University, he was working with JP Morgan when his desire to work in the medical field resurfaced.
He had thought a lot throughout his life about being a doctor and decided in 2015 to attend nursing school at Immaculata University.
“During the next couple of years, I wasn’t able to perform so I focused on costuming more but my first love is always performing,” he said.
Hands down, he said, the largest shows he ever designed were for the musicals put on by the Delaware All-State Theater because the casts were huge.
Cannon said he likes to costume shows with a little Broadway magic, which generally means musicals, and he prefers them to dramas and comedies.
He likes the moments where a perfectly ordinary street scene becomes a show-stopping musical number.
The designer enjoyed the challenge of reimagining the characters in “A Christmas Carol;” as well as interpreting “Cats” (for which he played Old Deuteronomy), “White Christmas,” “Hairspray,” “Mamma Mia!” “Sweet Charity” and providing some “fun nun accessories” for “Sister Act.”
Cannon hasn’t looked forward to next year yet, he said, and the year could mix some on-state and off-stage work.
“I’m slowly getting back into performing now that my schedule allows it more,” he said, “but I plan to continue costuming too. I love being able to envision, create and design.”
Details: “Into The Woods” runs through Oct. 29. The Candlelight Theatre is at 2208 Millers Road in Arden. (302) 475-2313. Tickets are about $70 for adults for dinner and the show and $33 for children. Get ’em here.



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