The cast and crew of New Year’s Eve at Grandma’s House is going to great lengths to recreate the look and feel on New Year’s Eve 1960. Some of the furniture on stage during our April 13 performance, for example, actually comes from the Smaldone House which forms the inspiration for the play.
Costumes are being assembled to recreate what people were wearing. The time, 1960, saw fashion trends which still looked back more to the 1950s. The Hippie Era and look, which many now associate with the 1960s, was still some years away. Men almost uniformly wore white shirts while ties were about two inches wide and straight rather than tapered, narrow by today’s standards.
Furniture was largely traditional, which meant bulky with dark wood finishes. Anything sleeker was often dubbed “Danish Modern” or Scandinavian and relegated to younger people just starting to live on their own.
Grandma’s House is a traditional New York brownstone with rooms lined up front to back, an arrangement known in New York as railroad rooms because they resemble the cars on a train. The front door led into the living room or a side hallway that might lead to the middle dining room or parlor. The kitchen was usually in the back, behind the dining room.
So you’ll see people coming in from the living room into the dining room and going out the other direction to the kitchen repeatedly at Grandma’s House. They’ll also be hearing the front door from the dining room since sound travels freely from room to room.