The Coolest Sunglasses You’ll See in Musical Theatre Numbers

In musical theatre, costume design can express as much as, if not more, than other elements of a character’s overall look. Even more minor details like sunglasses can help visually define a character. Depending on the style, they can add an enigmatic layer of mystery to their personality or make them look cooler and more approachable.

In the case of Vanessa Williams’ upcoming turn as Miranda Priestly in The Devil Wears Prada: The Musical, it’s the former – the iconic editor never made an entrance without her oversized sunglasses. But in general, wearing sunglasses can convey a lot about a character’s inner life and motivations. Sunglasses are also more conspicuous than bare eyes, ensuring audiences can follow along with characterisation even when seated further back. Here are a few clever uses of sunglasses in various musicals throughout time:

Haus of Holbein, SIX

The last thing anyone expected from a musical about the ex-wives of King Henry VIII was a diva-filled technicolour adventure, but that’s what we got. Sunglasses fit right into this 21st-century pop take on the infamous Queens, who burst into dance in this ensemble number and mimic the selection process of a modern-day dating app. They don glow-in-the-dark, square shades that provide a futuristic appeal as the King makes his next choice of bride. In the same way, today’s designer sunglasses from brands like Versace, Prada, and Ray-Ban feature bold styles that turn heads both on and offstage.

For instance, the Versace VE4464 frames are the same shape as those worn by the Queens, with a rectangular frame and Havana-blue accents to exude royal luxury. Sunglasses in this distinctive design are ideal for those with oval and round face shapes, as the sharp corners provide contrast and create balance without compromising that X-factor.

Dancing Queen, Mamma Mia! The Musical

UV protection seems like a given for the characters in the well-loved ABBA jukebox musical, set on a fictional island in Greece. In one of the production’s most recognisable hits, matriarch Donna grapples with the loss of her youth – and the looming question as to the paternity of her only daughter, Sophie. Luckily, Donna has two best friends, Tanya and Rosie, to remind her that she can be the same vibrant woman she used to be.

Rosie dons a pair of luxurious sunglasses to remind Donna of their glory days as the glittering trio ‘Donna and the Dynamos’. Similarly, the Barton Perreira aviators are finished with 100% pure gold for a glamorous finish. Featuring metal and laminated acetate, the Aldrin sunglasses draw inspiration from ’70s modern furniture, perfectly aligned with when ABBA dominated the airwaves in the same decade. Luxe sunglasses are best contrasted with crisp, white ensembles reminiscent of the Mamma Mia! wardrobe: think flowy sundresses, tasteful linen pants, and floppy hats to up the sun protection factor.

One Short Day, Wicked: The Musical

We’ve talked about how many great movies have been adapted into successful musicals, from Legally Blonde to Waitress and more. One body of work that’s undergone various adaptations is Wicked, which began as a book, premiered on Broadway in 2003, and is set for a movie-musical release later this year. The production has no shortage of show-stopping tracks, from powerful anthems to celebratory songs. In this memorable Act One number, protagonists Elphaba and Glinda venture to Emerald City and watch the fictional musical Wizomania.

In the middle of the song, they wear tinted sunglasses to match the town’s high-energy inhabitants, vowing to return for good but content to enjoy the momentary holiday. Channelling this vibe means opting for a similarly shaped pair the Felt Cute sunnies from Quay Australia come in round frames and universal nose pads for comfort. In the case of Wicked, sunglasses help establish separation between the characters’ college-town roots and the big city.

Now that you’ve seen how a cool pair of sunglasses has taken these musical numbers to greater heights, it’s time for you to follow suit. Investing in great sunglasses can boost your offstage star power, whether spending a quick moment under the sun or basking under its rays for longer.

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