Sherman’s Showcase

September, 4th, 2019

By Anna Wyckoff

Having previously collaborated with show creators Diallo Riddle and Bashir Salahuddin, Costume Designer Ariyela Wald-Cohain knew Sherman’s Showcase would be an engrossing project. The variety show set in several different decades presented a unique set of challenges, not least of which was the budget. Wald-Cohain explains, “I am so proud of what my team and I did, because we had under $20,000 an episode. There were close to 200 speaking roles, not counting any of the bands and the period pieces.”

The garments for the flashy, titular character, Sherman McDaniel (Bashir Salahuddin) had to reflect his over-the-top, “always on” style. However, Wald-Cohain was intent that his flamboyant persona would be rooted in reality. “I didn’t want it to feel like he’s wearing costumes. As crazy as they are visually, his clothes are not wearing him, he is wearing the clothes.”

Wald-Cohain attributes much of the success of the show to the coordination and communication of the entire production. “It really helped that we were all on the same page,” she explains. “The set didn’t really change except for the lighting–
which was amazing. The DP and the director would ask me what color he’s wearing today and they would change the lighting accordingly. That never happens.”

This spirit of cooperation and teamwork permeated the set and Wald-Cohain gives much of the credit to the show’s leading man. “Bashir was great. He is always excited which helps me get more excited. Even after a long day, he’d always say, ‘Oh, I can’t wait to see what you got for me now.’ Once we tried something on and he looked in the mirror and he said, ‘Yeah, that’s Sherman.’ And for us designers, that’s our moment. That’s why we’re there.”

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