Published On: Wed, Jan 29th, 2014

The Backstage of Wick Theatre

wicklogo-680By Gina Onori

Marilynn Wick, the 70-year-old president and CEO of the Wick Theatre & Costume Museum, was in a frantic rant as she scrambled for hours throughout her recently opened theatre and museum at 7901 N. Federal Highway.

Entering the museum is like walking through a mannequin filled fairytale. A carousel emblazoned with lights welcomes each guest. Colorful costumes, decorated with glitter of silver and gold, hang neatly and delicately throughout the room. What is more, intricate mini stage sets, with themes ranging from The Mummy to The Secret Garden, are planted all over the museum.

“What do you think of this place?” the former founder and CEO of Costume World asks two customers who came in from Columbus, Ohio, to borrow some costumes.

“It looks a lot less like a warehouse and more like a display,” replies the man.

“Where did you get this stuff anyway?” Wick shouts to the costume renters who are holding a few clothing items.

Wick is wearing black slacks, a black undershirt, and a black suit jacket. Coincidentally, her outfit matches her black eye glasses and black hair which is cut into a bob. The only pop of color on Wick are her green eyes.

The Ohio couple are renting costumes for a Secret Garden play that will be opening on March 19.

“Right over here,” the couple said in unison, pointing. Wick tells them that they are not allowed to take certain costumes and the renters end up with two coats and two dresses from The Wick Museum.

In a flash, Wick rushes behind what appears to be a stage and starts to bark orders. “Just get it done already!” she yells.

As Wick limps back into the museum she complains of her bad knee.

“Are we going to see you again?” asks the female through her thick spectacles.

Wick explains in a somber tone that she has to go to a funeral and pay her respects. Then she quickly changes her tone to get her point across, “but tell her to bring those wigs over to Costume World, or get somebody to!”

The couple explains that they will be leaving Wednesday but that seems to be a problem for Wick.

Wick motions them into a huddled circle and the three start to whisper. “Well I don’t want to talk in front of…..” she whispers, and the next half hour is mumbled and muffled.

Before the museum, Wick opened Costume World in 1975. The idea sprung from her daughters creating Santa Claus suits and making a fortune. Years to follow, The Wick Costume Museum was next, which has just recently opened a few months ago. It received a $250,000 donation from Countess Henrietta de Hoernle.

Both the theatre and museum occupies the former Caldwell Theatre Company’s $10 million Count de Hoernle Theatre. The venerable theatre company was foreclosed on in 2012, leaving a gaping hole in the South Florida theatre scene.

Finally, Wick makes her way into the tavern on the green.

“Isn’t this beautiful?” she asks.

A $75,000 chandelier hangs from the bright room, with white tables and flowers ready for an elite dinner party for the wealthy and fine people of Boca Raton. This room echoes New York’s Tavern on the Green restaurant. People who dine in this room are served with opulent china, silver, and crystal for a memorable dining experience.

Wick admits that there is a lot to do before the place opens up but smiles in delight at her establishment.

She notices an employee, edges towards him and amongst many other whispers she raises her voice.

“You will try to finish setting up…you will come to me… YOU WILL NOT leave!” she tells the employee.

Wick then asks about a room being cleaned.

“He’ll be back Wednesday. He was in the hospital for a couple of weeks that’s why he hasn’t done it,” replied the employee in an irritated tone. The worker’s shoulders are slouched and he seems extremely tired.

“The red and gold stars need to be cleaned!,” barks Wick.  “Those rooms need to be cleaned again; somebody needs to scrub the kitchen floors. I want everything scrubbed fresh!”

She storms off.

“Look at how skinny you are!” says Phillip Morris from the kitchen. Morris is a plump man with chocolate brown eyes that match his hazelnut brown hair. His voice is high pitched and chipper.

Wick is delighted to see her friend and asks, “what do you think of this place?”

He replies, “It looks gorgeous.”

Wick is moving swiftly towards her office and tells Morris not to leave.

As she enters her office another employee knocks on her door.

“Is that something you’d like me to do today?” he asks.

Wick becomes increasingly loud and hostile.

“First of all I want you to do this!” she shouts. “I want the refrigerator out front. [I want it] emptied, scrubbed, and cleaned out. And then you’re going to count how many merlots and wine we have. You realize we’re going to have all these people here in two days? All of that is your responsibility, okay goodbye.”

When a reporter asked Wick about her costume making, she was offended. She assumed the reporter had not done her research and told her about the many articles that had been written about her. She then tossed a newspaper article at the reporter.

“Here’s my card, call my assistant if you need anything,” she said as she kicked the reporter out.

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