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Broadway Costumes, Inc

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Broadway Costumes™, Inc was established in Chicago in 1886 to provide quality rental costumes for the masquerade balls held by Chicago society as well as to provide costumes for, and help develop, opera productions in the United States.

We are the Midwest's largest source for theatrical shows, corporate special events, masquerade costumes and accessories to rent as well as makeup, facial hair, wigs and accessories to purchase.

All of our non-show rental and retail items can be found on this website.

 

 
 
Ben Nye Lumiere Luxe Powders    

The Retail Sales Catalogue link will lead you to our shopping cart where you can find makeup (by Ben Nye, Kryolan, Mehron & Graftobian) and accessories (such as facial hair, wigs, hats, etc) available to purchase.

     
1980s Woman  Queen Elizabeth I  

The Rental Directory link will lead you to costumes and accessories available to rent for commercial and masquerade use.

     
     

The Show Rentals link will lead you to sample show photographs and a way to request Show Order Forms for theater productions.

 

We are not just a virtual store. Please visit us whenever you're in Chicago. We are open Monday through Friday from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM (Central Time) for rentals and 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM (Central Time) for retail sales and return of rental costumes. We are closed on Sundays. Saturday hours vary depending on season.

Follow the Contact/Visit Us link for a detail of our Saturday (and seasonal) hours and for travel directions. There is also a site map available through a link at the top of most pages.

Please be assured that any and all information collected through our website is kept confidential. We do not sell, share or in any way distribute any client information.

Company History

Broadway Costumes™, Inc was originally established in Chicago in 1886 as Fritz Schoultz & Company. Fritz Schoultz, a young German immigrant, had been a producer of operas and operettas. He had made several trips back to Europe to purchase costumes from leading opera companies. This collection was augmented by his wife and local seamstresses and tailors. The Fritz Schoultz Collection soon featured a large number of quality costumes and, in 1886, Mr Schoultz opened his collection for rental by the theatrical community and the general public. Shortly after opening the business, he also began to manufacture costumes and related items for sale to entertainers and theaters nationwide.

As quoted in one of his earliest catalogues

We are able with our enormous stock and great variety of costumes to dress any opera, drama, comedy, musical comedy or any form of entertainment that requires historical or character costumes, absolutely and historically correct.... The space here is too limited to give a list of names of the different companies that we have costumed. We have a special department for the rental of costumes for Masquerades, Fancy dress affairs, etc, etc.

From this, we can see that he had started a business that grew and did very well. So well, in fact, that he was awarded medals for his work for the Columbian Exposition World's Fair in Chicago in 1893.

In 1922, Fritz Schoultz retired from the business and sold it to his son-in-law, John Sandell. Mr Sandell and his company, still known as Fritz Schoultz & Company, were official costumers to La Belle Pittoresque at the Century of Progress World's Fair in Chicago in 1933, where the company had a headquarters building.

In the spring of 1969, Robert Kondor approached Mr Sandell (now 83) about the possibility of purchasing the company. On 1 November 1969, Robert Kondor purchased Fritz Schoultz & Company and immediately changed the name to Broadway Costume House.

In January 1973, the company purchased the 15,000 costume inventory from the estate of the late Maybelle Shearer. Ms Shearer had been an actress, singer and dancer from about 1917 to the late 1920s when she established herself as a Chicago costumer specializing in show girl and nightclub costumes. Among her accounts were The Chez Paree Night Club, The Boulevard Room Ice Shows, The Chicago Theater stage shows, and Sally Rand, for whom she designed the first fans for the Century of Progress World's Fair in Chicago in 1933.

In the spring of 1975, the New York Costume Company of Chicago decided to quit the costume rental business and sold its rental inventory to the recently incorporated Broadway Costumes™, Inc. By combining its original inventory with those of Maybelle Shearer, the New York Costume Company of Chicago, and smaller collections purchased from around the country, Broadway Costumes™ created the largest inventory of professional costume rentals in Chicago - possibly the Midwest.

In November of 1988, vice president Robert Schramm purchased the company from the retiring Mr Kondor.

In July 1999 the company relocated to its current location - a 30,000 square foot space on the second floor of 1100 West Cermak Road in Chicago. Through a dedication to quality costuming, service and continuous construction of new garments and collections, Broadway Costumes™ maintains rental and retail clients nation-wide.

Copyright © 1997-2014. Broadway Costumes™, Inc. Chicago. USA.