Lake County costume designer is a big hit from Broadway to Disney to the 3-ring circus

Costume designer for who productions is a big hit

WAITE HILL, Ohio - In his studio in his Waite Hill home, Greg Poplyk is surrounded by drawings for the costumes which will be worn by characters when the Disney producers take their hit film "Frozen" to the ice.

"The producers were kind enough to say to me, 'We saw 'Frozen,' and you are the designer for us," said Poplyk. "They told me that 'no one can do this but you' and I was flattered," he added.

Poplyk has a long history of hits. He is a much-sought-after costume designer with a long list of hits running from one U.S. coast to another. He was the costume designer for the Broadway theatrical hit, "Scandalous." He shows a glittering dress he designed which had so many hours of labor in it, he estimated its value at $5,000. 

Other shows has worked in various parts of the U.S. have been "My Fair Lady," "The Music Man," "Jesus Christ Superstar" and "A Christmas Carol."

Poplyk's studio is filled with drawings from past productions, but now his focus is on "Frozen," which Disney is bringing from animated film to live action on ice. With assistant costume designer Patrick Wiley watching over the budget and doing research on what characters of the time period would wear, Poplyk is designing clothing for all of the characters in the ice.

"I'll show you some of the stuff I'm working on today," he said to Wiley, as they flipped through the large drawings Poplyk has made.

He is a man whose passion is costume design. His studio is filled with garments which have been worn by actors from across America. A closet is packed with men's suits, many of them used when he was costume designer for a production of "Guys and Dolls."

"Using color and fabric and texture and every other tool that you have, you can bring [costumes] to life," said Poplyk. He said garments worn by the actors on stage help tell the story the author has written as interpreted by the director.

"He's perfectly well-suited to do Broadway musicals and opera and things like that," said Wiley. "He is good with something that appears on a large stage, has a lot of life to it, and has to read well from the back of the house."

Poplyk find his passion while he was sitting in the back of the house many years ago. He was a child who, as he said it, "was dragged" to an opera. He said he was bored until there was an on-state effect of snow falling on the scene. He remembered the scene was in Cleveland Public Auditorium. "It was a big stage and it's snowing inside," smiled Poplyk, his mind racing back over the years to his childhood. "And my mouth just dropped and that's when I decided I've got to do this kind of work," he added, his eyes showing passion for what he remembered and what he does in theater today.

He is also contracted with Ringling Brothers and Barnum Bailey Circus. Poplyk designs costumes for all the performers and the members of the orchestra. "Even the handler who's sweeping up after the elephants," he laughed. "I'm responsible for clothing him, too, as well as the elephants themselves."

Greg Poplyk is in his world with his drawings, looking for inspiration where ever he can find it to help him create costumes which will help tell the story of the characters who are on stage, on the ice, or in the three-ring circus.

When asked if there is pressure in his job as a costume designer, he laughed. "There is always pressure," he said. "You always have to be good."

Greg Poplyk is more than good. His work is show-stopping good. Enough to bring applause from the audience as well as abundant applause from the performers themselves.

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