The single mother said she fell in love with the theater decades ago when she saw her first Broadway play at age 7. Little by little, she purchased costumes and Broadway trinkets from auctions. She now runs four costume stores around the country, a division that rents costumes to theaters and the museum.
"I figured out a way to make Broadway part of my everyday life," she said.
Once the Wicks obtain a show's wardrobe, they look at the historic value of the show and decide whether to restore it to display or whether it's more valuable to rent.
It costs up to $145 to rent a Broadway costume, but nearly half their business comes from much cheaper high school rentals — they handle about 50 productions a year. "The Producers", "Guys and Dolls", "The King and I" and "42nd Street" are currently in heavy rotation.
They also receive frequent phone calls from the White House press secretary and handle costumes for shows at army bases around the world, as well as national historic libraries.
For many of the shows, the Wicks own multiple sets: the original Broadway costumes, the Broadway revivals and two or three that their own wardrobe company has recreated to rent out for school productions.
The Wicks possess nearly 25 of Harold Hill's reversible band jacket from "The Music Man."
And yes, all 76 jackets, hats and trombones are in storage above the museum.
If you go: Tours range from $38-$58. http://www.costumeworld.com/museum.php
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