Disco Diva! Jessica Rush Serves You '70s Style Icon as Joyce Bogart & Others in Summer, The Donna Summer Musical
Jessica Rush co-stars as Joyce Bogart, the Queen of Disco's longtime friend and business manager, in Broadway's new bio-musical blockbuster Summer, The Donna Summer Musical. She is the definition of fierce in her big feathered wig and stunning Paul Tazewell costume pieces. Every time she walks onstage, it's a mini event. Scroll on as Jessica brings us into Joyce's world as she shares each of her fabulous Summer lewks.
Welcome to the '70s! It is beyond fun to go back in time and wear the most fabulous clothes as Joyce Bogart. This is a lady of style who, along with her husband Neil Bogart, was living the high life as half of the management team for Donna Summer—not to mention being one of her closest confidantes and friends. It’s a blast to slip into all these looks down at the disco at the Lunt Fontanne.
That Studio 54 Life
This is actually one of the few pieces I wear in the show that was designed for me by Paul Tazewell. I wear this look for the numbers that take place in Studio 54. I feel like the design of this really evokes the time period, the skirt is super swishy, which makes it so fun to dance in! Not to mention my wig, by Charles LaPointe is literally on point with regard to the era. (See what I did there? ;) ) Fun fact...it’s the only blonde wig in the entire show!
Here Comes Joyce
Immediately after “I Feel Love” at the top of the show, I become Joyce, and get to live in her for almost the rest of my show. Here is how we first meet her....wearing sunglasses and carrying a glass of champagne in a limo. One must always travel in style. And this wig. I LOVE HER SO MUCH!!!!
One of the best parts of our show, I think, is how the female ensemble, all 12 of us in the show nightly, vacillate between the world of men and women. It was a very deliberate choice on the creative team’s part to embrace the androgyny of the era, and have us portray both sexes, and it doesn’t hurt that it gives us an opportunity to step out of the box and show what we are capable of with regard to range and storytelling. This look is for “White Boys”, when Donna has joined the German cast of HAIR. Everything on my body in this pic is vintage; it instantly transports me right to that time.
In my quickest change of the show, I exit before the end of “White Boys”, and have just a few seconds of music to change in the wing DR and re-enter as Joyce. Really perceptive audience members will notice that I keep the pants on from my boy costume, but change my top, shoes, and wig, and throw on the trench and my ring to enter as a different person and gender! This jacket is from Elizabeth&James and is buttery and luscious—and everyone fights over who gets to take it home one day.
Donna Is A Star!
I LOVE this look. A blush tux suit?!!!! DREAMS! Thank you, Alice & Olivia, for helping that come true. Haha! This is the look for the press conferences immediately following “MacArthur Park”, when Donna has been “discovered” here in America. This is Aaron Krohn, my onstage husband (Neil Bogart) and partner in crime...he also sells that curly wig like nobody’s business.
Out For A Ride
Have you noticed I’ve reapplied my lips? I’m lucky to be one of the ladies who doesn’t have to change it much during the show; I only have to take it off and on once. This look is for the scene where Brian and I are helping Donna learn how to drive. I’m wearing the blush pants from the last scene, and I throw on this Max Mara wrap coat and grab my clutch and we are good to go.
She Works Hard For The Money
IT’S A CAPELETTE! I mean. This pin-striped suit is the only one to have survived the run from La Jolla. And obviously. I wear this for “She Works Hard For the Money”. It takes place in our offices and I’m in charge of the wine...cause nothing says professional in a business meeting like wine in the afternoon, but the cape definitely helps.
Dim All The Lights
*Spoiler Alert* This is my funeral look, believe it or not. In La Jolla, I wore a black skirt suit, very Jackie O, but not very Joyce. It was really lovely to have open discussions with Paul, and the fantastic Sue Makkoo (Associate Costume Designer), with regard to who Joyce is, the statement she makes, and how that translates in her wardrobe....And she definitely wears white Halston pantsuits.
Okay. So, clearly, I didn’t get the pic of the finale costume for “Last Dance”. It’s a quick change, in the dark, and wigs are immediately removed when we exit from the bows, so this shot has to do. Fail. But I do have this one! It’s from the day we shot our b-roll, and this is one of our changing areas. You’ll also notice it’s also the stage door entrance and callboard area...it’s a bit tight backstage, with space at a premium. Thanks to David Alpert for the sneaky pic!
Joyce Bogart was on the forefront of the disco era. She is a fabulous, intelligent, super sharp business woman and mother, and an integral part of the story we are telling. It’s super fun to bring her to life and wear these fabulous costumes. Thanks for joining me on the journey. It’s a great party at Summer!! Come join us, you won’t regret it!
Don't miss Jessica Rush in 'Summer, The Donna Summer Musical' at Broadway's Lunt Fontanne Theatre.