New York City restaurant manager Haley Walker – the protagonist of “Bad Dates,” which begins a return engagement at Boston’s Huntington Avenue Theatre on Jan. 26 – may have better taste in clothes than in men.
That could explain why there are so many dresses and shoes in the single mother’s closet, and so many names crossed out on her dance card.
In the one-person comedy by Theresa Rebeck (“Mauritius”), first presented by the Huntington Theatre Company in 2004, Haley is played this time around by actress Haneefah Wood (“Vania and Sonya and Masha and Spike”). She shares her experiences while dressing up for dates and then, home alone afterward, wearily calling it a day.
The action takes place in Hayley’s bedroom, on a set designed by Alexander Dodge (“Tartuffe”), and featuring her wide-ranging wardrobe by costume designer Sarah Laux (“Come Back, Little Sheba”).
Helping carry out the artistic visions of Dodge and Laux are members of the Costumes and Properties departments at the new Huntington Theatre Company Production Center in Everett.
“Hayley actually puts on a dozen pairs of shoes, while another 75 pairs are on nearby shoe racks,” explained assistant costume director and Dedham resident Virginia V. Emerson.
“The shoes she wears have been selected by the costume designer, and they, of course, have to fit,” pointed out properties master Kristine Holmes.
The search for the other shoes needed to dress the set, however, can be both narrow and wide.
“The costume shop has a great collection of shoes, so we’ll pull from their stock first. We’ll probably look elsewhere, too, and maybe even put out a call to staff members to let us borrow their extra shoes,” said Holmes, a longtime Brockton resident who now makes her home in Peabody.
And there will be plenty of outfits to go with each pair, too, thanks to Emerson, costume director Nancy Hamann, and costume design assistant Mary Lauve, who together will execute Laux’s designs.
“Hayley’s look is close-fitting - straight skirts, and neoprene print dresses. Her dresses will be what you see in stores today,” said Emerson, now in her 30th year with the Huntington.
“Sarah Laux makes all the decisions and then those are passed on to us in Boston. There are costumes that will be worn on stage, and others that will serve as props. If it is on stage as an article of clothing, then the costume designer has the final say.
“There are about eight to 10 costume changes over five scenes, and a total of about 30 costume pieces in the show – including dresses, hosiery, bras, foundation garments, purses and scarves,” according to Emerson.
Props will be facilitated and managed by Holmes and her team, including assistant properties master Justin Seward, properties artisan Ian Thorsell, properties run crew member Andrew DeShazo and apprentice Margot Adolphe.
“There are roughly 160 set pieces and props used in this show – from furniture, art, rugs, light fixtures, linen and bedding, to magazines, books and shoe boxes,” said Holmes, who joined the Huntington Theatre Company in 1991 after stints with both the Opera Company of Boston and the Nickerson Theatre in Norwell and Sudbury.
“Working on a show is a very collaborative process. We get information from the director and the design team. Then we have to read everyone’s minds and figure out how to transpose their ideas into something that exists in the world. That can be challenging, but it’s also a lot of fun,” said Holmes.
And when it comes to shoes, it can also provide new purpose to pairs that might otherwise have been consigned to a closet floor.
“At least two pairs of my own shoes will be on the set, including a pair of sandals that I bought to wear to a wedding. They hurt like heck, so I’m loaning them to the show,” said Holmes with a laugh.
WHEN: Jan. 26-Feb. 25
WHERE: Huntington Avenue Theatre, 264 Huntington Ave., Boston
TICKETS: Start at $25
INFO: 617-266-0800; huntingtontheatre.org