Don’t Stop the Carnival!


Costume Design of Don’t Stop the Carnival!
A Historical Investigation, Playscript Analysis & Visual Rendering

Annotated Website

by Kaedra Lynn Herink

School of Dance, Theatre & Arts Administration
Submitted to The Honors College at The University of Akron
Honors Faculty Advisor: Adel Migid
Readers: Irene Mack-Shafer & Aubrey Caldwell

Inception:  September 2013 – Completion: April 2014


 The album can also be purchased on here or in the iTunes store here.


Introduction to Don’t Stop the Carnival


The Novel

Don’t Stop the Carnival is a fast-paced, comedic, and adventurous novel written by Herman Wouk in 1965.  This 1950’s-era story follows Norman Paperman, a middle-aged Broadway public relations agent eager to escape his current life and career.  After a heart attack caused by a rapid and high-stress environment, he decides to fly to the fictional island of Kinja to scope out a new business venture.  He falls in love with the Caribbean, and makes the decision with his wife Henny to purchase the Gull Reef Club.  But the façade of an island paradise crumbles quickly, as one gigantic problem after another occurs at Norman’s establishment.  Falling in love with a faded movie star named Iris, battling the machete-bearing brute Hippolyte, facing countless water shortages, and making the passage from tourist to local are just some of the events Norman encounters.  After it all becomes too much for Norman, he and Henny decide to return to their life in New York City and sell the Gull Reef Club to another owner.



First edition cover art.

The novel is written in the 3rd person omniscient narrator form.  Yet Norman is in almost every scene and chapter – giving the reader the feeling of misunderstanding and being an outsider.  The reader, like Norman, views the Caribbean through the eyes of an American.  Events unfold as they are happening in the story; there are no flashbacks or flash-forwards.


A few major themes are present in Don’t Stop the Carnival.  These include fantasy vs. reality, outsiders vs. insiders, morality vs. immorality, and sanity vs. insanity.  Tourists often see the Caribbean as a tropical paradise or fantasy, but Norman learns through experience that reality is much different.  Culture and morals on the island differ greatly from what Norman is used to.  Through a rollercoaster ride of sanity and insanity, he makes the transition from outsider to insider by the end of the novel.


While the novel is lesser-known in America, it has made its impact in the Caribbean. “Every sailor, hotelier and bartender seemed to have a copy of Herman Wouk’s novel sitting around.  The moment [Buffett] read it, he understood why Don’t Stop the Carnival was, and still is, the sailors’ bible to understanding life in the islands.”  (Coconut Telegraph, 1997).  Buffett explains, “Herman went away and didn’t realize the impact he’d left on the Caribbean culture.  Hotel owners that I run into, anybody that lives and exists in the Caribbean knows Don’t Stop the Carnival.  It’s like a bible.  But he had no idea this was going on.”  (Buffett, Coconut Telegraph, 1997).  The book inspired Buffett to contact Herman Wouk with his ideas to turn the tale into a musical.  And he alone succeeded in overcoming Wouk’s “steadfast resistance of nearly thirty years to proposed Broadway, film, and television adaptations of Don’t Stop the Carnival.”  (Humphrey & Lewine, 1996).




Development of Novel into Musical

After much collaboration, rehearsals began for Don’t Stop the Carnival! at the Coconut Grove Playhouse in Miami, FL  (Humphrey & Lewine, 1996).  While Wouk outlined the libretto, Buffett wrote the lyrics and music, drawing on his skills of storytelling and melody (Buffett, Coconut Telegraph, 1998).  When asked about his process, Buffett said:


I approached it as a show. I love Calypso – I can listen to a great Calypso band, I can have two or three glasses of wine, and I can dance the merengue all night, but that’s me.  You have to disassociate your own personal thoughts about things because you’ve got paying customers out there.  Again it comes back to my close personal attachment to the audience.  Who’s the audience going to be for this?  How much of this can they take?  Calypso music, yeah, I can listen to it all night, but I know an audience can’t. ….  You’ve got to know what you’re doing. So Calypso is going to be the backbone of the music, but I wanted to go off in tangents.  I wanted to go to reggae, I wanted to go to soca, to zouk, and a little bit of merengue, so you could break up the pace. I’m not a great singer, I’m certainly not a good musician – I’m passable.  I’m a fair writer, but my strongest suit is I can read an audience and pace a show.  I’ve been doing theatrical things in my show for the past five years. (Buffett, Coconut Telegraph, 1997)


Carnival! opened on April 19, 1997 with mixed reviews.  Most of the reviews wrote positively about the musical, but many agreed that it needed more work to be a true hit.  The music, lyrics, cast, band, and visual elements were praised; the editing and directing were most heavily criticized (Dolen, 1997).  The show closed on May 18th, 1997 and received a total of 14 Carbonell award nominations in the 1996-1997 regional theatre season (Sommers, 1997).




Lack of Archival Material

Due to the short life of the musical and copyright restrictions, there are no public copies of the libretto to view or purchase.  Jimmy Buffett purchased the rights to Wouk’s novel  (Beckwith, 2009) and the libretto has not been released in any format.  Short commentary by Wouk and a book of song lyrics accompany the CD (Buffett, Don’t Stop the Carnival!, 1998).  An adapted libretto was formed for this project through the lyrics, the music, the original source material of the novel, and extensive research of theatrical reviews and commentary.


Only a few black and white photographs of the production are known to exist; four of which are published in the Coconut Telegraph periodical.  A few additional photos were found in various Florida newspapers.  Only one photo was found online, which was scanned in from a  a newspaper.  While this makes analyzing the original production very difficult, it provides an opportunity for a fresh design not influenced by the original team of designers.  This project focuses on new costume designs for the musical.




Gallery of photos retrieved while doing extensive research. Credits to publicity photographers and artists at The Floridian, The Miami Herald, The Sun-Sentinel,The Palm Beach Post, & The Coconut Telegraph.


Author’s Note

I owe a great deal of thanks to my father, John Herink; as well as Steve Hersh at the University of Miami Libraries (Special Collections).  Without the help of these two, I wouldn’t have any access to rare archival material.

The only way I was able to retrieve any of the black and white photos shown in the gallery above (except for one!) is from their help.

Mr. Hersh scanned countless numbers of articles and archival data from the Coconut Grove archive.  The Coconut Grove theatre does not exist any more; so I was unable to contact them directly.  A number of the newspaper records had photos and other promotional information.  I also received a detailed list of everyone who was involved in the production.

My father John surprised me in January (2014) when he said he might have an article or two – maybe a coconut telegraph that might mention Carnival! – and returned with a stack of Coconut Telegraphs dating back to the 1980’s!  I had a whole archive of information in my basement and I didn’t even know it.  There is a lot of information in this project that references these Coconut Telegraphs.

This is all very exciting to a researcher when there is minimal information about a topic – and nearly nothing useful on the Internet!  I learned a lot about digging for research without using the great resource of the WWW that I was accustomed to.



Historical Research


Time Period

The time period of the novel is set in the late 1950’s.  World War II was just over a decade in the past.  While more women joined the work force in America, progress was much slower in the Caribbean (Gilmore, 2000, p.155).  Female teachers were required to resign upon getting married until the 1960’s  (Gilmore, 2000, pp.146-147).  “The assumption that married women had no place in the world of employment because they would be provided for by their husbands was widespread and continued to receive official sanction in parts of the Caribbean until very recently,”  (Gilmore, 2000, pp. 146-147).


Tourism to the Caribbean began to boom in the 1950’s, a few years before the setting of Don’t Stop the Carnival (Padilla, 2003).  The characters in the novel are immersed in the height of the tourist boom (Wouk, 1965).  Gilmore (2000) explains that this was due to cheap and reliable air transport that came about in this decade (p.42).  Still, this travel was a luxury for the middle to upper class.


The environmental and social issues that Norman Paperman has to deal with in the novel are a very accurate representation of what life was like at this time.  Tourism in the Caribbean put stress on already problematic water resources and waste disposal (Gilmore, 2000, p.79).  This tourist boom created many hotels and jobs, but growth was so rapid that there was little planning in terms of the environment and the culture clash (Gilmore, 2000, p.12).


This mix of cultures had a direct impact on fashion: “The growth of the tourist industry throughout the Caribbean region has attracted many visitors to the island nations.  This has led to further commingling of various dress customs, creating more diversity in fashions and the emergence of a vibrant local clothing business for the tourist market,” writes Buckridge (Overview of the Caribbean, 2010).




The two location settings for Don’t Stop the Carnival are New York City and the fictional Caribbean island of Amerigo, or “Kinja”.  These physical environments are direct opposites at certain times of the year, and fashion varies immensely.


In New York, a wide range of clothing is needed due to temperature extremes.  Average temperatures range from 23°F to 83°F; record temperatures range from -4°F to 102°F (Cornell University).  There is consistent rain year-round, and winds bring cold, dry air as well as warm, humid air to the city (Cornell University).


In the Caribbean, a wide range of clothing is not needed, as the climate stays the same year round.  The weather is warm, with a wet season; droughts often occur near the end of summer (Gamble & Curtis, 2008, pp.265-267).  “Temperatures along Caribbean island shores are remarkably steady year round.  Over the year, the daytime high on a beach varies by only a few degrees,” Osborn (2009) says.  Average year round highs range from 80°F to 90°F , while lows range from 70°F  to 80°F.  Precipitation varies from island to island, and even in different elevations on the same island (Osborn, 2009). There are much fewer storms in this locale, so water shortages are a major issue (Gamble, 2008, p.267; Osborn, 2009).  Due to this climate, there is an emphasis on function and comfort among the lower classes, rather than fashion as a top priority.



Caribbean Culture

There are many customs and traditions in the Caribbean that make it a rich and interesting culture.  Caribbean culture is a culmination of many different cultures, due to imperialism.  Spanish, English, French, and Dutch cultures are very prevalent (Gilmore, 2000).  “The many islands in the Caribbean Sea, with their white beaches, tropical vegetation, and marine life have attracted foreigners over many centuries, including gold-seeking Spanish conquistadors; British, French, and Dutch traders searching for lands and resources that would enrich their European aristocratic sponsors and themselves; and modern tourists, most of whom arrive on cruise ships,” states Chico (2010).  There are also Asian, Indian, and African influences present (Gilmore, 2000).  This diversity and vibrancy can be seen in how people dress (Buckridge, Overview of the Caribbean, 2010).


In the Caribbean, clothing can indicate class, status, group associations, or conceal identities (Buckridge, Overview of the Caribbean, 2010).  Body decoration served these same purposes (Craik, 1994, p.154).  Clothing was also important in recreational activities, like dance – a past time that all social classes enjoyed (Gilmore, 2000, pp.164-165).  Skirts were made to aid movement or move in a certain way (Buckridge, Overview of the Caribbean, 2010).


One of the most notable cultural traditions in this area of the world is Caribbean Carnaval.  Its roots lie in both African and European masquerades.  Dress and costume during this celebration allow the islanders to be festive and freer in their individuality (Buckridge, Overview of the Caribbean, 2010).  Buckridge also explains “Masquerade and masking, for some people, is a way to reconnect to their ancestral and African roots, or to establish a connection between the spiritual and supernatural world and the present.” (Overview of the Caribbean, 2010).  The celebrations include lavish costumes and masks, bands, performers, parades and floats (Chico, 2010; Buckridge, Overview of the Caribbean, 2010).  The battle between good and evil is a frequent theme in Carnaval costumes, as well as folktale characters and animals (Mack, 1994, p.100).


Buckridge describes the opulent costumes, rich materials and creation techniques very well in the Overview of the Caribbean:


Rara costumes are diverse and often consist of sleeveless silk tunics of bright colors embellished with sequins, pieces of glass and mirrors, pearls, and colorful scarves over matching sequined pants. Costumes of the mojo jonks who perform ritual maneuvers with batons are usually short pants and tunics made of cotton, silk, or synthetic fabric decorated with beads and sequins. Religious and cultural symbols in Haitian Vodou, such as a bird in flight, are often fashioned into the sequin designs. Some rara processions include characters dressed as royalty wearing tinsel-covered crowns or tiaras. The chausable-like rara tunics reflect French court and ecclesiastical influences, while the elaborate Vodou ritual flags were adapted from the French military standards as part of rara processions. Rara tunics and capes with rounded collars suggest the influence of Catholic capes and bishop’s copes, while the short fringed pants worn by the mojo jonk convey Amerindian dress influence and the spiritual alliance between the indigenous Taínos and African slaves . . . . Costumes in the Dominican Republic, as in Cuba and Puerto Rico, are often made from bright fabrics like satin and taffeta. Costumes are decorated with pieces of glass or mirror, bells, ribbons, whistles, miniature dolls, and strips of paper and fabric (2010).


In celebrations like these, masks can be just as important as the costumes.  Masks symbolically transform a person into a different entity; in the scope of Carnaval, they often represent religious figures, folklore characters, historical figures, mythological creatures and spiritual beings (Mack, 1994).




American Fashion and Design Elements

The decade of the 1950’s was heavily researched in this project.  This section focuses on American fashion, with an occasional worldly view of fashion.


Dresses.  Shirtwaist and other dresses with simple fitted bodices were popular for daytime wear (Cunningham, 1994, p.338).  “Daytime styles of 1957 followed an uncluttered, relaxed simplicity with hems of variable lengths, evening dress going all out for the exotic . . . . After sundown the skirt ranged from short, puffed harem hems to the newest fishtail trains, while the showing of an occasional knee-length by Dior,” (Wilcox, 2008, p.418).  “Sack” or chemise dresses were also popular (Wilcox, 2008, p.417), and skirts were either “pencil-thin” or bouffant (Cunningham, 1994, pp.336-337).  At the beginning of the decade, empire-waisted dresses regained popularity – “slim, high-waisted, full length gowns of elegant silks, chiffons and laces in long-line draperies with bead embroidery,” (Wilcox, 2008, p.417).  Film stars (like the fictional Iris Tramm in Don’t Stop the Carnival) also influenced the 1950’s woman, “who wanted her every outfit to be suffused with elegance, sophistication and sex appeal,” (Peacock, 2005, p.173).


Blouses and Shirts.  For men, dress shirts had narrow collars with pointed or rounded ends, and the button-down collar became a part of business wear (Cunningham, 1994, p.337).  Pastel colors and small patterns were in fashion, as well as the versatile white nylon shirt (Wilcox, 2008, p.430; Cunningham, 1994, p.337).  The bloused top with a larger collar was popular for women (Wilcox, 2008, p.417).


Shorts and Sportswear.  Bermuda shorts were adapted from the breeches that Englishmen wore in the tropics and gained popularity in the 1950’s (Wilcox, 2008, p.430).  These, as well as deck pants, jeans, sport slacks, pedal-pushers, capris, toreadors, golf shorts and ankle-length shorts and pants were worn by women and men (Cunningham, 1994, p.337-229).  In the beginning of the decade pants were cut straight and less full, but began to taper and widen in the mid-1950s (Cunningham, 1994, p.337).  Pleats, creases, and cuffs were seen on trousers – as well as plain colors, stripes, and plaids (Wilcox, 2008, p.426; Cunningham, 1994, p.337).


Suits.  The neck-hugging collar was replaced with a cut-away neckline style for men (Wilcox, 2008, p.417-418), and a slimmer, straighter silhouette of men’s clothing developed (Cunningham, 1994, p.336).  “The introduction of ready-to-wear, the development of mass-production techniques and the new man-made fabrics gave it new life, bringing to the man-in-the-street smart suits and sports jackets, and stylish trousers with permanent creases,” (Peacock, 2005, p.173).  Female suits had straight or circular skirts and jackets that could match or contrast their skirt fabric (Cunningham, 1994, p.338).


Accessories.  Most notably, women wore hats in all shapes and sizes – and more frequently than in past decades.  Materials used to accompany the hats included ribbons, flowers, velvets, feathers, tulle, jewels, felts, buckles, and straws (Wilcox, 2008, p.421).  Long, slim, pointy pumps were in style, as well as other slip-on types (Wilcox, 2008, p.432).  Shorter gloves that accompanied short-sleeve coats, dresses, and suits were popular (Wilcox, 2008, p.422).  Seamless nylon hose and wide belts were also common (Cunningham, 1994, pp.338-339).  Male hats had lower crowns and narrower brims (Cunningham, 1994, p.338).  Jeweled hair combs and hairpins graced up-do hairstyles for women, and men wore their hair in crew cuts or English hairstyles (Wilcox, 2008, pp. 422-432).  Many women preferred shorter haircuts that were styled closer to the head; longer hair was curled and shoulder-length (Cunningham, 1994, p.337).  “Wide picture necklines have influenced the flair for costume jewelry, a particular note being the chandelier earrings.  Fabulous brooches, clips, tiaras and long necklaces are modish,” says Wilcox (2008, p.425).



Caribbean Fashion and Design Elements

Style and Function.  In addition to American design elements, the Caribbean had its own aspects of dress.  Light fabrics were used due to the tropical climate and vibrant colors were common (Buckridge, 2010).  Caribbean fashion is a culmination of dress from many other ethnicities, explains Buckridge:


Some ethnic dress brought to the region has been adapted, nurtured, and maintained over the centuries, such as the Indian sari that is worn by women of Indian descent in Trinidad and Guyana, or the brightly colored batik prints of Indonesian origin in Paramaribo, Suriname, and the African woman’s headwrap, which is popular among many black women . . . . Jamaican dress at first was influenced by two dominant aesthetics, African and European, but other groups, those of non-African and non-European ancestry, also brought their customs in dress to Jamaica in the late nineteenth century and onward (2010).


Purpose and function are also important.  Clothing may be chosen on flattering or protecting the body, communicating status, or representing a social group (Buckridge, 2010).  Dresses worn by women at dance halls eroticized the body and moved well, while Bermuda shorts for men were favored in this tropical climate (Buckridge, 2010, Overview).


Fabric.  Madras cloth was the primary fabric used in Caribbean clothing – especially for long skirts, headwraps, blouses, aprons, and pants (Buckridge, 2010, Overview).  Headwraps were also made from silk and satin (Chico, 2010).  Many fabrics from around the world were imported to the Caribbean (Chico, 2010).  Cotton and linen were other lightweight fabrics seen in many clothes (Buckridge, 2010).  While colors of all shades were popular, some had deeper meanings as well – red was associated with blood and slavery, yellow for gold and wealth, green for the lush environment, and black for the beauty of African people (Chico, 2010).


Headwraps and Hats.  Headwraps have a wide variety of meaning, function, and purpose.  They can indicate ethnicity, legal status, religious affiliation, and social position (Chico, 2010, Buckridge, 2010).  Depending on the island, people of all socioeconomic statuses wore turbans and other headwraps, but the materials varied (Chico, 2010).  For men, the panama straw hats and boaters were in fashion (Chico, 2010).  Dazzling, tall headpieces were used in Carnaval celebrations and included large feathers, exotic flowers and sequins (Chico, 2010).  Berets were associated with Rastafarians and knitted with red, yellow, green, and black designs (Chico, 2010).  Pieces of fabric were used by outside workers in a makeshift headwrap that would cover and protect the ears, neck, and shoulders (Chico, 2010).


Swimwear.  With the discovery of nylon, swimwear in the 1950’s became much more slimmed-down and form fitting (Craik, 1994, p.141).  Bikinis were popular in this time period and replaced many one-piece female bathing suits (Craik, 1994, p.149).  Latex, jersey, and cotton were all used in men’s swimwear, which became skimpier as the decade progressed (Wilcox, 2008, pp.424-425).  Many swimsuits came with wrap-around skirts for modesty when beachgoers went from the beach to club restaurants (Wilcox, 2008, p. 424).  One-piece and strapless swimsuits for women had foundational support built into them (Craik, 1994; Wilcox, 2008).




Show Analysis


Original CD Track Listing


  1. Intro: The Legend of Norman Paperman/Kinja — 7:01
  2. Public Relations — 3:57
  3. Calaloo — 3:15
  4. Island Fever — 4:34
  5. Sheila Says — 3:55
  6. Just an Old Truth Teller — 3:34
  7. Henry’s Song: The Key to My Man — 3:10
  8. Kinja Rules — 3:48
  9. A Thousand Steps to Nowhere — 5:24
  10. It’s All About the Water — 2:21
  11. Champagne Si, Agua No — 1:44
  12. Public Relations (Reprise) — 1:25
  13. The Handiest Frenchmen in the Caribbean — :50
  14. Hippolyte’s Habitat (Qui Moun’ Qui) — 3:10
  15. Who are we Trying to Fool? — 4:35
  16. Fat Person Man — 3:28
  17. Up on the Hill — 4:10
  18. Domicile — :37
  19. Funeral Dance — :51
  20. Time To Go Home — 6:03


Adapted Scene Breakdown

Due to the lack of a libretto, scenes between the musical numbers were added in based on research, commentary, and the original novel.  Small changes were made in the order, addition, and subtraction of musical numbers.  For example, “Green Flash at Sunset” was a short song in the original production that never made it onto the soundtrack, much to the dismay of Wouk (Buffett, Don’t Stop the Carnival!, 1998).  “Steel Drum Panic” is based on an instrumental from another Buffett CD.  These changes were made to improve clarity and order of the story, substitute unobtainable information about the original script, and are also suggestions of ways to improve the production.  This adapted list of scenes is for the purpose of this project only.



  1. Intro: The Legend of Norman Paperman – (Carnival A) – Carnival is in full go; song signifies that the story will begin in the past.
  2. Scene – Lester & Norman arrive in Kinja.
  3. Island Fever – Norman is enchanted by the island, and describes the magic of what he is seeing and feeling.   (Originally Song #4).
  4. Scene – Lester & Norman discuss plans with others to buy the Gull Reef Club.
  5. Scene – Norman meets Iris.
  6. Public Relations – Norman speaks of his past; and realizes what he wants his future to be.  Iris tries to warn him that things are not as they seem in the Caribbean.
  7. Scene – Atlas leaves and tells Norman not to worry about finances.
  8. Scene – Iris shows Norman around the Island.
  9. Calaloo– Norman learns more about the island culture and the employees of the Gull Reef Club; introduction to Sheila; foreshadowing future problems that could arise
  10. Scene – Norman leaves for NYC.  Sheila talks to Iris.
  11. Sheila Says – After Norman leaves, Iris realizes she has feelings for him.  She reflects on her past, present and future.
  12. Scene – Sardi’s – Norman and Henny agree to move forward with buying the club.
  13. Scene – Norman realizes what Lester has done (swindled him out of using any money from Lester).  Norman must sell all his contacts/information.
  14. Just an Old Truth Teller – Lester explains the kind of man he is / as they fly to Kinja to close the deal.
  15. Scene – Lester and Norman close the deal. Lester leaves Kinja.
  16. Henny’s Song: The Key to My Man – Henny is reluctant to move forward with Norman’s plans, but wants to make her husband happy.
  17. Scene: Water running low; Norman misses the barge.
  18. Kinja RulesSenator Pullman arrives to discuss the water shortage and other issues going on with Norman & the club, while explaining how things work differently in Kinja.
  19. Scene – Loud noises interrupt Norman and he sees that Tex Akers & his crew have torn a huge hole in the club.
  20. Scene – Thunderstorm / Party – but no rain for the Gull Reef Club.
  21. Scene – The Gull Reef club runs out of water.
  22. A Thousand Steps to Nowhere – Norman and Iris climb the thousand steps to find Gilbert, who knows how to prime the cistern pump; while Henny sings that she is finally ready to come down to Kinja and leave NYC.
  23. Scene – Gilbert primes the pump with Norman.
  24. It’s All About the WaterCelebration of water returning (via the emergency tank)
  25. Scene – Maids quitting; Lorna left; Norman buys water and the trucks arrive; guests begin to leave the resort because of multiple problems; Tex Akers stops remodeling the club and leaves a hole in the wall.
  26. Scene – Earthquake / Cistern breaks / Tom Tilson asks Norman to host his party
  27. Champagne Si, Agua NoNorman hosts a free champagne party in the lobby for his guests because of all the trouble and the water shortage.  Meanwhile, a huge thunderstorm is occurring.
  28. Scene – Debate Over Hippolyte w/ Sheila
  29. Public Relations – RepriseThe Governor suggests that Norman should give up his investment and go home – that nothing good can come of it.  Norman declines, and “gets his second wind” – he is now more determined than ever to fix the club. He ends with ordering someone to find Hippolyte.




  1. The Handiest Frenchman in the Caribbean – Some time has passed and Hippolyte has fixed the cistern, patched the hole in the wall, and repaired a number of other things at the club.  Everyone is rejoicing, especially Norman, with having things go right for a change.
  2. Scene – Paperman talks to Hippolyte; he is impassive and heads off.  Norman learns more about Hippolyte from others (his mental institution days, attempted rapes, and how he cut off the head of a cop in the past).
  3. Hippolyte’s Habitat – The dispassionate and unresponsive Hippolyte sings this solo alone, with no one else on stage.  Perhaps it is a look into his mind rather than him actually speaking to another person/audience.  He lays out exactly what he thinks and what he intends to do – take over the club.
  4. Scene  – Party w/ Amy & Tom Tilson on a boat; she agrees to lower what Norman owes her.
  5. Scene – Iris & Norman have a date.
  6. Green Flash at SunsetNorman is content yet reflective about love and his past.  He sings this to Iris as they both reminisce about days gone by.
  7. Who Are We Trying to Fool? – Iris and Norman head back to her house and give into temptation. Sheila explains how dangerous the situation has now become.
  8. Scene – Next day…. preparations for Tilson party are underway; Norman’s family arrives; and just as things are all falling into place nicely, Paperman finds out Atlas fired Hippolyte.
  9. Fat Person Man– Sheila warns Norman about the consequences of Lester and Hippolyte being in the same place at the same time – Hippolyte is enraged and will behead Lester if he comes across him.  Norman frets and tries to plan how he can keep them apart, and manage the two parties that will be going on that night (the Tilson party and the beach barbeque).
  10. Scene – The Tilson Party begins / Norman searches for Hippolyte / Iris causes a huge scene at the party.
  11. Up on the Hill– The upper class of Kinja and other notables, attending the Tilson party, sing about themselves.  It’s a slight parody as they muse about “owning the breezes”, managing their blenders, avoiding high taxes, and what their lives are like. It’s a stark contrast to the lives that the native Kinjans lead.
  12. Steel Drum Panic [New Song]The group tries to catch Hippolyte; Sanders and Norman bring a passed-out Iris back to her house; Hippolyte appears and slashes at Meadows; Meadows is sent to the vet; Esme is sent to the Hospital.
  13. Funeral Dance (Carnival B); Extended Dance Scene; Don’t Stop the Carnival reprise Day after– Carnival is now in full swing, and amidst the joy and partying – there is still trouble for Norman.  Someone is shot in the Gull Reef club bar, and Iris rushes to her dog, getting in a fatal car accident along the way.
  14. Scene – Norman learns the news of Iris; Henny & Norman talk about the affair he had with Iris, and they discuss selling the club to Lionel so that they can return to their lives in NYC.
  15. Time to Go Home (Intertwined with Carnival C Scene)



Click here to watch Jimmy explain “Green Flash at Sunset”, a song so special to Wouk, Jimmy added it onto a media portion of his CD after the other songs were recorded.  This song has been included in this project.



When adapting the track listing and adding scenes, I drew upon my memories of when I first sat down and listened to the CD in full [while thinking of this project].  I’ve heard this music since I was young, but really understood it better as an adult.

I have been trying to obtain the script since 2012 with no success.

My father has been an invaluable resource to bounce ideas off of and discuss this project with.  He is the only person close to me that has heard of Don’t Stop the Carnival and remembers a lot about it.  He is more familiar with the CD, but has read the novel in the past.

I mention my father because when I first analyzed the CD, I had an enormous list of questions for him.  Who was the actress Norman fell in love with?  Iris Tramm’s name is never mentioned on the album.  No one calls her name out or references her.  Yet she is one of the two major characters.  Why do some of the tracks seem out of order?  Norman celebrates about how he turned the water back on, and then immediately after there’s a song about him losing water!  What happens at the end?  There is no song on the album that alludes to the climax of the story and falling action.  It simply goes  from Sheila and Norman planning to keep Hippolyte away from Lester; a song from the Hill Crowd speaking about who the rich people on the island are; a little narration about Carnival Day, and the finale of “Time to Go Home” (Norman deciding to leave).  WHAT made him decide to leave?  What happened in that chunk of time that was missing?

This was a huge plot gap that is confusing to a first-time or casual listener!  You must have seen the show or read the novel to understand it.  And recordings of musicals should STAND ALONE as much as possible.  Not every person has access to seeing a show live or even getting a script or source material.  This is one of the major flaws of the album, and I set out to fix that.

The changes I made are not simply personal preference or opinion – I am drawing upon the wealth of information I gathered in my directing, acting, technical design, playscript analysis, history of theatre, dramatic literature, and other theatrical classes.

I opened the show as it was normally done – with the Legend of Norman Paperman.  But after this first musical number, I diverged from the original a bit.  The CD has Public Relations after this, then Calaloo, and then Island Fever.  I changed the order based on ease of the audience understanding the plot.  Sometimes events that happen on the CD just don’t seem to be in order or make the most sense that they could.

Due to Public Relations being the song where Norman definitively chooses to throw his old life away and buy the Gull Reef Club – I felt as if this didn’t make sense to have it as the second song in the musical (and the first time we see Norman).  I felt we needed to see him more entranced by the island first – to see the reason behind his decision.  Island Fever is a song that does exactly this.  He describes the magic of Kinja and what he sees and feels.

After a few short scenes, we then bring in Public Relations.  In this song, Norman meets Iris, and makes his big decision to move to Kinja.

After this, the next major musical number is Calaloo.  So, essentially, the only change has been the placement of the song Island Fever in this part of the production.  Calaloo is an excellent song that foreshadows all of the problems that are to occur, and also introduces us to some of the real island culture.

As Iris’ solo number occurs after Norman leaves, there is a transitional scene before it showing this.  Lester and Norman leave, and Sheila and Iris have a small conversation.  This is what prompts  Iris to sing her ballad.

Listening to the CD, we do not get much of a glimpse of New York City.  There is some of the NY attitude in Just an Old Truth Teller, but this song could really occur in either setting.  So, in between Sheila Says and Just an Old Truth Teller there are short scenes taking place in NYC.  This shows the audience what Norman is leaving behind – and shows visually and metaphorically the contrast of both lifestyles.  In addition, it suggests passage of time.

After arriving back to Kinja and officially closing the deal, we are transported back to NY once again for Henny’s solo number.  She is reluctant to move forward with the plan but knows she has to.

There is a short scene added with Norman realizing his water supply is low at the club, and missing the water barge.  In the midst of trying to solve this problem, Senator Pullman shows up and they sing about Kinja Rules.  A few more scenes added after this event include Tex Akers tearing a giant hole in the side of the club, a huge thunderstorm and party, and the pivotal moment where the Gull Reef completely runs out of water.

This brings us into A Thousand Steps to Nowhere, which occurs in both NY (where Henny sings) and Kinja (where Norman and Iris sing).  It’s All About the Water comes next, but does not jump straight into Champagne Si, Agua No.  Instead, there are short scenes explaining the catastrophes going on.  This includes the major catastrophe in Act I – the cistern overflowing and breaking.  Then comes the Champagne party, prompted by this major event.

A small scene introduces us (via Sheila) to the person that can save Norman – Hippolyte.  Norman decides he will not quit and keep forging ahead to save his club.

Act Two opens with The Handiest Frenchman in the Caribbean – which is a good number, but only 50 seconds long.  It would work well if expanded.

Before Hippolyte sings his solo, I’ve added a short scene where Norman learns about Hippolyte’s past.  This is due to Hippolyte’s solo being – less of a threat – without more exposition.  Without a scene learning about Hippolyte’s days in the mental institution, cutting off the head of a police officer, and other dangerous things – Hippolyte’s Habitat seems more of a soft threat.  Hippolyte merely says he has some plan to make the owners disappear so he can get the club – and also sings about how he can “instill some fear”.  While one of my favorite songs in the show, it needed more exposition.  We need to feel that, “Oh NO!” feeling when Lester rudely fires Hippolyte later in Act 2 – we need to understand that Hippolyte is an incredibly dangerous threat.

Continuing on with a few small scenes, including a date between Norman and Iris – Green Flash at Sunset has been included.  I referenced the original novel and tried to match up when the green flash occurs based on other events, and fit it into act two appropriately.

After Who Are We Trying to Fool?, another exposition scene occurs.  This prepares for the climax to begin.  Just as everything seems to be falling into place for Norman, things get complicated.  Henny and his family arrives, for one, building friction between Norman and Iris.  The preparations for the Tilson party are underway, and Norman must make sure it is perfect to ensure his longevity on the island.  And lastly, we learn that Lester has arrived, made a scene with Hippolyte, and fired him.  This leads us into Fat Person Man where Sheila and Norman discuss the danger and stakes of the situation.

As the search for Hippolyte begins, so does the Tilson party.  And we see Iris causing a huge scene that reveals what has happened between her and Norman. She is taken away from the party. This was alluded to in the album notes by Wouk.

Up on the Hill introduces us to the hill crowd more and Tilson party.  It is a moment for us to breathe and smile, as the number is relaxed, light, and teasing.  A full contrast to what happens next: the number I dubbed Steel Drum Panic.  This is actually an instrumental from Margaritaville Cafe – Late Night Menu called Pan Classique in B Minor (Mad Music).  It can be streamed here.  The subtitle alone explains that it is a heart-racing, panic-inducing sort of track – yet still tropical, as the main instrument used is the steel drum!

After this song addition would be Funeral Dance.  The day after – where Carnaval is in full swing.  There is an extended dance scene added to this drum-heavy instrumental (Carnival “B”) and perhaps it could even be intertwined with a sort of Don’t Stop the Carnival/Intro reprise.

After a scene with the falling action of a shooting at the Gull Reef bar, Iris getting in a fatal car accident, and Norman learning of her death – Henny and Norman discuss everything that has happened.  They decide to go home, which is sung about in the final musical number.





Physical & Psychological Character Analyses

Characters were analyzed by description in the original novel, commentary on the musical CD, and their words and actions in both source materials.  What the characters say about themselves, and what other characters say about them, gave great insight to their character quirks and personality traits (Gillette, 2007, p.442).


Norman Paperman is a middle-aged, medium-built New Yorker who is a fashionable dresser.  He is incredibly ambitious and courageous.  Often, Norman is stubborn, high-strung, and anxious when he deals with the catastrophic problems he faces with his hotel.  He is a gambler, who has confidence and plenty of humor.  Norman recently recovered from a heart attack, and is not supposed to exert himself or he gets very short of breath.  Unfortunately, this happens a lot as he runs around the island trying to fix multiple problems at the same time.


Iris Tramm, whose stage name was Janet West, is a “beautiful and bitter” actress  (Dolen, 1997).  She is disillusioned and sad due to some tragic events in her past, yet remains romantic and flirty.  Iris also has a good sense of humor and likes to tease people.  She is regal and composed when sober, but broken and dangerous when she drinks too much.  Iris is described as being a tall blonde with a lovely face and “strikingly brilliant” eyes (Wouk, 1965).


Lester Atlas is Norman’s friend and the person who pushes him to purchase the Gull Reef Club.  He is well known as a corporate raider, and many people recognize him from the cover of Time.  Not only is Lester greedy, manipulative, and shady; but also loud, rude, self-important and offensive.  He has a boisterous, shameless, and indulgent attitude.   Lester is a middle-aged extrovert with a thick skin and has no remorse for what he does.  In fact, he thinks of himself as a sort of hero – described in the number “I’m Just an Old Truth Teller” (Buffett, Don’t Stop the Carnival!, 1998).  Wouk (1965) describes him as “a big oyster-pale fellow . . . . with a thick bald head like a bread loaf rising out of fat shoulders.” All of these traits make Lester a very alarming, off-putting, and comical character.


Norman’s wife Henny is a beacon of support for his wild endeavors.  She is firm in her opinions, but also easy-going, lighthearted and teasing.  Henny is a very observant woman who is kind and friendly.  She is concerned with making sure her husband is happy, and is worrisome at times when she thinks of changing her lifestyle completely.  Henny’s physical characteristics are that of a petite, round-faced brunette, similar in age to Norman.


The glue that holds Norman and his club together is Sheila, the club’s chef.  She’s worked there for many years and is a resourceful, smart, strong woman.  Sheila helps Norman in every disaster that comes his way, and gives good advice to those around her.  She’s also wise, keen, and calm under pressure.  Wouk (1965) describes Sheila: “a mountainous irascible black woman with dark eyes and thick satanic eyebrows.”  She is a minor character in the novel, but a main character in the musical – often advancing the plot or explaining what is going on.


Another major force in Don’t Stop the Carnival is Hippolyte Lamartine, a former handyman of the Gull Reef Club.  His reputation is that of an unstable, sometimes deranged, unsocial brute.  He is excellent at his job, and knows all the ins-and-outs of the club.  However, Hippolyte is extremely dangerous, short-tempered, and carries a machete with him at all times.  After many catastrophes, Norman decides to hire Hippolyte back as the handyman, and he fixes all of his problems.  When Lester Atlas comes back to the island a few weeks later and fires the handyman, Hippolyte goes after him on a murderous rampage during the climax of the story.  With a tall, strong build, mixed complexion, and a hat that always shades his face, Hippolyte is a physically menacing character as well.





Design Concept


Overall Design Concept

“Theatrical costumes may be faithful to their historical period, or the costume designer may choose to use history as a reference point from which to create a design that is more meaningful to the production concept for a particular play,” (Gillette, 2007, p. 442).  The costume designer must think of practical considerations such as the needs of the actor, the budget, construction of the design, renting costumes, purchasing costumes or pieces, and modifying stock costumes (Gillette, 2007, pp. 448-449).  As this project is theoretical and there are no specific practical parameters given, it will focus on the process of inspiration, research, analysis, and design.


This project’s design concept was based on one of the overall themes of the musical – reality versus fantasy.  While plays might have a more historical design, musicals tend to be realistic to a time period with a fantastical flair.  In a musical, characters could change multiple time places, settings, and costumes all in the span of one musical number.  Musicals are an exaggerated fantasy of life, and the design for this project reflects this.  As this is a hypothetical project, the costume design concept was not under the limitations of a decided scenic design, production style, or preferences of a director.


The time periods chosen as a historical basis for the design include the late 1940’s, the 1950’s, and the early 1960’s.  While wealthier characters may dress at the height or even future of fashion, lower-class characters may only have access to dated clothing.  Styles, lines, and cuts of garments that were easy to adapt to a more modern design were favored.  This project focused on keeping an authentic feel of the time period while adapting it to seem timeless.




Character Design Concept

When designing costumes for specific characters, a few major elements were taken into account.  The character’s personality and mood for a particular scene heavily influenced how they dressed.  Environmental concerns like weather, season, time of day, and location were also examined.  Character motivations and whether their interest was focused on another person were additionally considered, as well as their socioeconomic status and occupation.  Gillette (2007) explains the impact of costume design:


Most people agree that the costume worn by an actor profoundly affects the audience’s perceptions of the character being created by the actor.  If that assumption is correct, then it would logically follow that the costume designer’s job entails the manipulation of the design of each character’s clothing to project some specific personal information about that character and, if appropriate, to affect the physicality of the actor by inhibiting or limiting, in a manner appropriate to the characterization, the way an actor moves, speaks, stands, or sits on the stage. . . . . Each costume that an actor wears in a play is generally designed to visually reinforce the emotional, mental, and physical traits of a unique character at a particular time in a specific play. . . . . An introvert would probably wear something that would make him blend into the crown, whereas an extrovert might wear something that would make her stand out and be noticed.  Similarly, someone who is gloomy might wear something dark and dreary to reinforce and visually announce that mood, whereas a cheerful, happy individual might dress in bright and cheerful colors. (p.438-442).


A very diverse wardrobe of clothing was chosen for the protagonist Norman Paperman.  His first outfit (Plate 096) was a nod to the source material – gray slacks, a navy blazer over a turquoise shirt, and a yellow silk scarf came directly from the first image of Norman described in the novel.  An outfit that “only tourists” wear in the Caribbean (Wouk, 1965, p.6).  While he flew to and from New York, his longer and less-colorful winter wardrobe was designed (Plate 098, Plate 099).  As he became a local of the island, Norman’s clothing changed as well.  Simpler cuts and tropical shirts were added, often partially unbuttoned due to Norman’s shortness of breath.  These costumes are additionally designed for the comfort Norman seeks when running around the island trying to fix multiple problems.  His wardrobe for upscale events he attends remain light, easy, and colorful as well.  His final costume, an all-gray outfit (Plate 158), reflects how he feels after learning of Iris’ death.  It is a costume of mourning, as well as a symbol of his New York life that he decides to return to.


Iris Tramm is the second major character of the musical, and has an even larger wardrobe than Norman.  Her first outfit (Plate 066) is a fun and flirty turquoise dress, with a skirt that flares out while she dances at the club.  This costume, just as many of the outfits in her wardrobe, has elements that criss-cross or twist over her body.  Iris’ character is fun, but more often than not she is conflicted, disillusioned and somewhat tragic.  The turmoil and inner struggles are seen in these twisted or constricting design elements of her clothing (Figure 1).



Figure 1.


She is very attracted to Norman and adjusts her wardrobe as such, always keeping a sexy, flirty, beautiful atmosphere about herself.  Her green evening gown (Plate 074) is worn during the “Green Flash at Sunset” song, and mimics the magical, desirable, and rare green flash occurrence on the ocean.  Her final costume (Plate 075) is a luxurious evening gown of diamond, silver and scarlet materials.  The silver dress opens right under her bust and scarlet fabric spills out from underneath it.  After her wild drunken scene at the Tilson party, the dress is ripped, ruined, and more of the red exposed.  It is a metaphor for her heart being ripped open after the escalating events between her and Norman.  Figure 2 shows the progression of the design of this dress.


Figure 2.

Figure 2.


Iris’ wardrobe is also diverse in style.  She is a former movie star living out the rest of her days in the Caribbean.  While still wanting to dress nicely and impress others, it is not as much of a concern for her as in her prime moments of fame.  Her evening gowns were designed in an older style, as these would have been replaced less frequently than her day-to-day clothes.  They also give a glimpse of her elegant and unique past.  Iris’ more informal outfits are much more modern.


Lester Atlas is also a prominent character in Don’t Stop the Carnival.  He is an extremely loud, offensive, and boisterous character.  Lester’s clothing is just as off-putting and rude to the viewer as his character is.  Color combinations and patterns that were not aesthetically pleasing were put together to portray this.  Larger patterns and accessories were added as well, like larger buttons, cuffs, lapels or hems.  His first outfit (Plate 076) is the epitome of the tacky island tourist.  His upscale suits are unappealing to the eye and often directly clash with the other characters’ attire in a particular scene.


Henny Paperman, Norman’s wife, is a very different character from the rest of the cast.  Her wardrobe reflects an easy-going, proper lady in New York at this time period.  Henny’s costumes worn solely in New York (Plates 057 and 059) stick to a theme of blacks, silvers, and whites – a direct contrast to the explosion of color seen in the attire of Caribbean locals.  She “trades in her mind for a pink sarong” in her most colorful outfit (Plate 060) worn on the island  (Buffett, Don’t Stop the Carnival!, 1998).  Henny “provides the necessary dose of reality” in the play  (Coconut Telegraph, 2001).  Because of this, her costumes are much more realistic and true to the historical time period, as seen in Figure 3.


Figure 3.

Figure 3.


Sheila, the chef at the Gull Reef Club, is a colorful character – an island native with a beautiful tropical voice.  She has only three costumes – the first being a Carnival outfit (Plate 116).  The design of this costume is a tribute to the costume worn by Jimmy Buffett on the Don’t Stop the Carnival! album cover (Figure 4).


Figure 4.

Figure 4.


Buffett’s costume is an example of one at a Carnaval-like Junkanoo street parade, which he recreated in his Don’t Stop the Carnival! concert tour in 1998 (J. Herink, personal communication, January 6, 2014).  Her other two costumes are made from colorful batiks, painted satins, patterned silks, and dyed lace.  While her wardrobe is more of a tropical fantasy, she still has aprons and headwraps to indicate that she works in a service job (Figure 5).


Figure 5.

Figure 5.


Hippolyte is only seen in a few areas of act two, yet is a monumental character in relation to plot.  He is a brutish, machete-carrying, unstable handyman that often speaks in grunts.  His wardrobe is pure function, and tattered.  The novel describes him as being strong, wearing tones of khaki, and having a straw hat pulled down in front shading his face (Wouk, 1965).  Many of the island natives fear him, as he is known for beheading a police officer (Wouk, 1965).  The costume design (Figure 6) displays this savage nature of his character.


Figure 6.

Figure 6.




Color Palette & Design of Notable Scenes

While analyzing the written work is essential, it is also important to consider conceptual topics like stereotypes, character evolution, interpretation of the period, and interpretation of color and fabric (Gillette, 2007, pp.446-448).  Three of the most visually spectacular scenes in the musical are the “three” Carnival numbers.   The first occurs at the beginning of the play (“Intro: The Legend of Norman Paperman”); a carnival where the audience learns the rest of the story will be a flashback.  In this project it is referred to as Carnival A.  The second is near the end of act two; during the musical number titled “Funeral Dance” – and also dubbed Carnival B in this paper.  Carnival C, or the third carnival scene, is entwined in the final musical number (“Time to Go Home”).   Carnival B and C are part of the same Carnival celebration and occur on the same day.


Each carnival scene has its own design concept.  Carnival A is the first scene the audience sees.  The majority of the audience, before seeing this play or other media about the Caribbean, probably has a slightly stereotypical view of the island – unless they are a native of an island culture.  Various people were asked about words they associated with the Caribbean – and images of palm trees, pirates, mermaids, tropical fish, steel drums, and seashells were conjured up.  The inspiration for Carnival A played with these stereotypes. As stated, this is the first image the audience sees of both the locale and tradition of Caribbean carnival.  Just as Norman is entranced with the idea of a beautiful paradise and the stereotypical Caribbean, so will the audience be when viewing these costumes (Figure 7).  As the musical progresses, the “real” nature of the Caribbean is revealed – and this is reflected in the costume design.  More traditional elements and historical aspects of Carnival costumes are seen in the finale of Carnival C.


Figure 7.


Carnival B takes place on the morning of the Carnival celebration in Norman’s timeline.  This is right before he learns about Iris’ death.  “Funeral Dance” is a tribal, drum-heavy instrumental number with partial narration.  It has a foreboding aspect to it, foreshadowing Iris’ death, which was explored when designing Carnival B’s costumes.  Inspiration was taken from voodoo, Caribbean folklore, and other African tribal elements.  The color palette was kept dark in shades of black, gray, dark brown, dark red, and the occasional pop of white or lighter gray (Figure 8).


Figure 8.

Figure 8.


Carnival C, as mentioned before, has a much more traditional Carnival element to it.  In addition, inspiration was taken from different elements throughout the novel and the play.  From the planters punch that is the drink of choice for the tourists, to phrases heard in the lyrics – each costume is a representation of part of the story.  Trade winds, tropical fruit, beaches, and the green flash at sunset are some examples (Figure 9).  Both Carnival A and Carnival C have a full rainbow color palette, just as it would be seen in a real Carnaval celebration.


Figure 9.

Figure 9.


A few of the other musical numbers were themed as well.  “It’s All About the Water” has costumes in shades of turquoise, ocean blue, and sea green.  The circular lines and flow of the hems or seams also echo the water theme (Figure 10).


Figure 10.

Figure 10.


“Champagne Si, Agua No” had a theme that was also inspired by its’ title.  Bubbly shades of pink champagne, ivory and gold are combined with smoothly draped fabric, circular elements, and sleek lines (Figure 11).


Figure 12.

Figure 11.


The calypso number “Calaloo” is sung by the workers of the Gull Reef Club and natives of the island.  Cuts of costumes are much simpler, reflecting their socioeconomic status.  The color palette includes shades of rich purples, blacks, navy blues, greens, terra cotta browns, and bright oranges.  Print is heavily used.  The clothing is more raw and realistic than that of the posh tourists or classy residents (Figure 12).


Figure 12.

Figure 12.


The theme for “Island Fever” was inspired by a passage in Gilmore (2000, p.54); he spoke of the Caribbean being a fantasy to tourists, and that this fantasy is a parody to the locals and natives.  The layers, fabrics, colors, and movement of the dancers’ costumes are also inspired by the lyrics for the song: “Layers and layers of spices and flavors / could this be some kind of charade? / Layers and layers of costumes and players / I think I will join the parade”  (Buffett, Don’t Stop the Carnival!, 1998).  Male dancer costumes were designed with many different green, gold, and black prints layered on top of each other.  Female dancer costumes were inspired by bright tropical flowers, and their flower-petal skirts and shoulder decorations flare out as they twirl (Figure 13).


Figure 13.

Figure 13.


Lastly, “Up On The Hill” has a very different design from the rest of the musical.  It occurs during the upper class black-tie party of the “hill crowd” – the people who live in mansions and “own the cool breezes” at their hilltop manors  (Buffett, Don’t Stop the Carnival!, 1998; Wouk, 1965).  While not as drained of color as the wardrobes designed for New York City residents, a pale palette of colors is used to reinforce the combination of wealthy Americans and the residents of an island.  The shimmering hues of white, ivory, lavender, pale blue, sea foam green, grays and blacks were chosen to convey the classiness of a rich soirée (Figure 14).


Figure 14.

Figure 14.



The Design Process


Inspiration Board

An inspiration board (Figure 15) was made to stimulate creative thought and to be a reminder of the mood, atmosphere, and heart of the musical.


Figure 14.

Figure 15.




Initial Sketches and Concepts

A costume design can go through one draft or many different changes.  It might be rendered multiple times or changed on the original rendering.  Most designs start with sketches and notes that brainstorm the idea of a costume.  Iris’ final costume (Figure 2) went through a number of variations.  Figures 16 and 17 show some of the other costume sketches, changes, and the finalized rendering design they became.  Some are slightly different, while others take one concept and almost completely change it into another.


Figure 16.

Figure 16.


Figure 17

Figure 17





After the finalized sketches were inked, many hours were spent picking out fabric swatches for each design.  They were chosen based on color, print, texture, function, movement, and quality.  Some of the fabric swatches are historically accurate to the time period and others are more contemporary.  In some cases, materials other than fabric – such as trims, fur, and grass – were added based on the design requirements.




Rendering Technique

A good costume rendering accurately depicts how the materials look and drape, to give the clearest view of what the designer intended.  It is also important to render details clearly enough so that a costume builder can understand how the designer wants the garment constructed.  Frequently, notes and sketches of different angles or views of the costume are included with the main rendering.


The technique used in this project to render the costume designs is a lengthy and intricate one.  It is depicted in Figure 18.  Once the research and design concept for a costume were complete, these were the steps taken to illustrate the ideas.


First, the outline of a human body was drawn (A).  Next, the final sketch was drawn onto it (B).  After this, the design was inked in permanent marker (C) and the pencil was erased (D), leaving a clean design to paint on.  Swatches were also added at this stage.  The base layer of gouache paint was then applied to the inked design (E). After the paint was fully dry, more detailing was added in using colored pencils and chalks (F).  To redefine the structural borders and outlines, another layer of permanent marker was applied (G).  Lastly, specialty materials like gold ink and glitter paint were added to depict the metallic nature of the materials and show texture (H).


Figure 18.

Figure 18.


On some renderings, liquid masking was used in between steps D and E.  This technique allows a painter to keep parts of the painting white, after peeling off the places that were masked.  This was an especially helpful technique when rendering batik fabrics.  When finished, each rendering was scanned into the computer, edited, and labeled.




Organizational Documents


Costume Rendering Plate Numbers

Each costume design was labeled with a plate number for quick reference in this paper and in various organizational documents.


  1. Amy Ball 1 – Yellow & Pink Outfit
  2. Amy Ball 2 – Turquoise & Gold Outfit
  3. Mrs. Tilson 1 – Red Print Dress
  4. Amy Ball 3 – Striped Evening Gown
  5. Mrs. Tilson 2 – Green Evening Gown
  6. [Anatone Track] Carnival A Male Dancer – Blue & Coral Fish
  7. Island Male Dancer(s) – Green Outfit & Cape
  8. [Anatone Track] Foreigner – Red, Yellow & Green Outfit
  9. [Anatone Track] Calaloo Male Dancer – Brown, Lime, & Black Outfit
  10. Aker’s Crew Member – Black, Orange & Khaki Uniform
  11. Anatone 1 – Brown & Tan Outfit
  12. [Anatone Track] Partygoer 1 – Cream & Brown Outfit
  13. [Anatone Track] Partygoer 2 – Green & Brown Outfit
  14. [Anatone Track] Lieutenant – Navy Uniform
  15. [Anatone Track] Carnival C Male Dancer – Wind King
  16. Bob Cohn 1 – Green & Brown Swim Attire
  17. Bob Cohn 2 – Gray & Green Outfit
  18. Navy Officer(s) – White & Navy Uniform
  19. Bob Cohn 3 – Turquoise Swimwear
  20. [Bob Cohn Track] Carnival C Male Dancer – Trade Winds
  21. Chunky Collins 1 – Yellow & Pale Green Outfit
  22. Chunky Collins 2 – Brown & Black Suit
  23. [Chunky Collins Track] Foreigners – Orange & Brown Outfit
  24. Chunky Collins 3 – Purple, Tan & Navy Outfit
  25. Chunky Collins 4 – Sky Blue, Tan & Brown Outfit
  26. [Chunky Collins Track] Guest 1 – Cobalt Robe & PJ’s
  27. Chunky Collins 5 – Black & White Suit
  28. [Chunky Collins Track] Carnival C Male Dancer – Genie
  29. [Church Track] Carnival A Male Dancer – Orange, Scarlet & Brown Pirate
  30. [Church Track] Calaloo Male Dancer – Pink, Purple & Cerulean Outfit
  31. Church Wagner 1 – Sky Blue & Navy Outfit
  32. Church Wagner 2 – Blue & Tan Outfit
  33. Church Wagner 3 – Zebra Print & Navy Outfit
  34. Church Wagner 4 – White & Black Outfit
  35. [Church Track] Carnival B Male Dancer – Dan Wedo (Snake)
  36. [Church Track] Carnival C Male Dancer – Tropical Fruit
  37. [Esme Track] Carnival A Female Dancer – Native Costume
  38. [Esme Track] Island Female Dancer – Pink Flower
  39. [Esme Track] Calaloo Female Dancer – Orange, Gold & Magenta Outfit
  40. Maid(s) – Light Pink Uniform
  41. [Esme Track] Carnival C Female Dancer – Sand & Ocean
  42. Gondolier(s) – Red, White, Gold & Black Uniform
  43. Gilbert 2 – White, Green & Brown Outfit
  44. [Gilbert Track] Carnival C Male Dancer – The Thousand Steps
  45. Sanders 1 – Gray & Periwinkle Outfit
  46. Sanders 2 – White & Tan Suit
  47. Sanders 3 – Tan & Yellow Suit
  48. Sanders 4 – Blue, Gray & Black Outfit
  49. Sanders 5 – Gray, Cream & Violet Suit
  50. [Hazel Track] Guest 1 – Tan & Cerulean Swim Attire
  51. [Hazel Track] Guest 2 – Pink and Tan Dress
  52. Hazel Paperman 1 – Black Dress
  53. [Hazel Track] Guest 3 – Pink Robe
  54. [Hazel Track] Guest 4 – Blue Dress
  55. Hazel Paperman 2 – Brown Coat
  56. Hazel Paperman 3 – Blue and White Dress
  57. Henny Paperman 1 – Silver & Black Dress
  58. Henny Paperman 2 – Lavender & Lace Dress
  59. Henny Paperman 3 – Black & White Outfit
  60. Henny Paperman 4 – Pink Swim Attire
  61. [Hippolyte Track] Carnival A Male Dancer – Palm Tree
  62. [Hippolyte Track] Calaloo Male Dancer – Cobalt & Orange Outfit
  63. [Hippolyte Track] Guest 1 – Pale Turquoise Outfit
  64. [Hippolyte Track] Guest 2 – Cerulean & Lime Outfit
  65. Hippolyte Lamartine 1 – Tan Outfit
  66. Iris Tramm 1 – Blue Spotted Dress
  67. Iris Tramm 2 – White and Navy Swim Attire
  68. Iris Tramm 3 – Blue Print Dress
  69. Iris Tramm 4 – Magenta Print Dress
  70. Iris Tramm 5 – Black & Red Dress
  71. Iris Tramm 6 – Cobalt Halter Dress
  72. Iris Tramm 7 – Champagne Dress
  73. Iris Tramm 8 – White & Cream Outfit
  74. Iris Tramm 9 – Green Evening Gown
  75. Iris Tramm 10 – Silver & Scarlet Evening Gown
  76. Lester Atlas 1 – Scarlet & Printed Top Outfit
  77. Lester Atlas 2 – Red & Black Outfit
  78. Lester Atlas 3 – Gold, Brown & Black Suit
  79. Lester Atlas 4 – Scarlet, Black & Green Suit
  80. Lionel 1 – Black Suit
  81. Lionel 2 – White & Black Suit
  82. [Lionel Track] Carnival C Male Dancer – Sea Foam
  83. [Llewellyn Track] Guest 1 /// Carnival A Male Dancer – Steel Drums
  84. Llewellyn 2 – Green, Black & Brown Outfit
  85. Llewellyn 3 – Gray, Orange & Red Suit
  86. Llewellyn 4 – Black & Lime Suit
  87. [Llewellyn Track]  Carnival C Male Dancer – Time
  88. Lorna 1 – Gold & Scarlet Dress
  89. [Lorna Track] Island Female Dancer – Yellow Flower
  90. [Lorna Track] Carnival B Female Dancer – Bosou (Native Hunter)
  91. [Lorna Track] Carnival C Female Dancer – Seagull
  92. Meadows Puppet
  93. Millard 1 – Green & Brown Gardener Uniform
  94. [Millard Track] Police Officer – Black Uniform
  95. [Millard Track] Carnival C Male Dancer – Nature King
  96. Norman 1 – Navy, Gray & Turquoise Suit
  97. Norman 2 – Salmon & Tan Outfit
  98. Norman 3 – Brown Coat
  99. Norman 4 – Navy & Cobalt Suit
  100. Norman 5 – Red & White Outfit
  101. Norman 6 – Green & Lime Outfit
  102. Norman 7 – Blue & Gray Outfit
  103. Norman 8 – Pale Green & White Outfit
  104. Norman 9 – Green, Orange & Tan Outfit
  105. [Reena Track] Carnival A Female Dancer – Mermaid
  106. Reena Sanders 1 – Red Dress
  107. [Reena Track] Diner 1 – Black Evening Gown
  108. [Reena Track] Guest 1 – Cobalt Robe
  109. Reena Sanders 2 – Purple & Navy Dress
  110. Reena Sanders 3 – Lavender & Light Purple Evening Gown
  111. [Reena Track] Carnival C Female Dancer – Shark
  112. Senator Pullman 1 (Carnival A) – Lime, Pink & Black Outfit
  113. Senator Pullman 2 – Red, Yellow & Blue Outfit
  114. [Senator Pullman Track] Carnival B Male Dancer – Loco (Witch Doctor)
  115. [Senator Pullman Track] Carnival C Male Dancer – Color
  116. Sheila 1 – Yellow & Blue Costume
  117. Sheila 2 – Blue, Lavender & Purple Outfit
  118. Sheila 3 – Blue, Green & Navy Outfit
  119. [Sheldon Track] Carnival A Male Dancer – Orange & Cerulean Fish
  120. [Sheldon Track] Guest 1 – Lime, Blue & Yellow Outfit
  121. Sheldon Klug 1 – Yellow & Brown Outfit
  122. [Sheldon Track] Guest 2 – Pale Blue & Brown Outfit
  123. Sheldon Klug 2 – Red & Tan Outfit
  124. [Tex Akers Track] Carnival A Male Dancer – White & Scarlet Pirate
  125. [Tex Akers Track] Guest 1 – Purple & Tan Outfit
  126. [Tex Akers Track] Calaloo Male Dancer – Black, White & Gold Outfit
  127. [Tex Akers Track] Diner 1 – Brown, Black & Gold Suit
  128. [Tex Akers Track] Carnival B Male Dancer – Papa Bois (Old Man)
  129. [Tex Akers Track] Carnival C Male Dancer – Flame
  130. Thor 1 – Black & Silver Outfit
  131. Thor 2 – Lime & Green/Turquoise Outfit
  132. [Thor Track] Guest 1 – Navy & Gray Outfit
  133. [Thor Track] Carnival C Male Dancer – Coconuts & Lime
  134. Tom Tilson 1 – Brown, Yellow, Green & Tan Outfit
  135. Tom Tilson 2 –Red, Yellow & Blue Outfit
  136. [Tom Track] Diner 1 – /// Tom Tilson 3 (Black-Tie) – Gray & Lavender Suit
  137. [Virgil Track] Boat Captain 1 – Navy & Brown Outfit
  138. [Virgil Track] Carnival B Male Dancer – Ashadel (Bull)
  139. [Virgil Track] Carnival C Male Dancer – Stars on the Water
  140. [Dancer A] Carnival A Female Dancer – Yellow Parrot
  141. [Dancer A] Island Female Dancer – Purple Flower
  142. [Dancer A] Guest 1 – Blue Dress
  143. [Dancer A] Calaloo Female Dancer – Yellow, Orange & Magenta Outfit
  144. [Dancer A] Diner 1 – /// Guest (Black-Tie) – Pale Blue Evening Dress
  145. [Dancer A] Guest 2 – Lavender, Blue & Turquoise Outfit
  146. [Dancer A] Native 1 – Tan & Black Outfit
  147. [Dancer A] Carnival B Female Dancer – Marinette (Skeleton)
  148. [Dancer A] Carnival C Female Dancer – Planter’s Punch
  149. [Dancer B] Carnival A Female Dancer – Red Parrot
  150. [Dancer B] Island Female Dancer – Magenta Flower
  151. [Dancer B] Guest 1 – Cheetah Print & Blue Outfit
  152. [Dancer B] Calaloo Female Dancer – Purple Outfit
  153. [Dancer B] Guest 2 – Champagne Dress
  154. [Dancer B] Native 1 – Cobalt & Magenta Outfit
  155. [Dancer B] Guest 3 (Black-Tie) – White Evening Dress
  156. [Dancer B] Carnival B Female Dancer – La Dieblesse (Voodoo Priestess)
  157. [Dancer B] Carnival C Female Dancer – Green Flash at Sunset
  158. Norman Paperman 10 – Gray Suit




Sample of Full Costume Plot

A costume plot normally includes characters, scenes, and a detailed description of everything they are wearing in that scene.  It also indicates when a costume is repeated, or if items are added or removed (struck) from an outfit.  Depending on the show and designer, it may include props that are part of the costume, such as swords or handbags.  Due to the vast size of this project and number of renderings, a full plot is not included in this paper.  A sample of a full plot for one character, Iris Tramm, is included on the next few pages.



Iris Tramm

Costume Plot

Don’t Stop the Carnival


Iris Tramm

Costume Plot

Don’t Stop the Carnival




Simplified Full Costume Plot – Download a PDF version here!

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Scope and Limits

While there are many details of the costume design process in this paper, there can be even more considerations for it that were not discussed here.  These include budgeting factors, information about supply retailers, timeframes for building costumes, specific information and measurements of actors, durability and washability of garments, and cohesion with scenic and lighting design.  These elements were beyond the scope of this paper, but are mentioned here for reference purposes.




Purpose and Benefit to the Public

This vast piece of work was created to serve as an Honors Research Project, but it also had additional purposes.  The first was to raise awareness of an incredible book and unique musical to those who love literature and theatre.  Furthermore, this could create a revived interest and perhaps be a catalyst to bring the show to the Broadway audience it deserves.


The second purpose was an educational one, for the theatrical community or anyone interested in design.  This project has been posted on this page at, available for the entire world to see.  Instead of only posting the costume renderings – the entire process of research, inspiration, analysis, design, explanation, and execution shown in this paper are presented.  It also shows the importance of good design and how it impacts and enhances a production.  This project serves as a rare, in-depth example of the costume design process from inception to completion.  A single costume design has so many more decisions, purposes, and reasoning behind it than the average viewer can imagine.  This resource is for that viewer, as well as students and others interested in theatrical design.



Contact Information

To show support and interest for a revival or Broadway debut of Don’t Stop the Carnival, there are a number of outlets one can contact.  Jimmy Buffett’s management can be contacted through the following addresses:


Front Line Management                                    
            1100 Glendon Avenue                                    
            Los Angeles, CA 90024                                
HK Management
                9200 Sunset Blvd. Suite 530
                 Los Angeles, CA 90069


Letters and e-mails can also be sent to the main Margaritaville Store in Key West at these addresses:


Jimmy Buffett c/o                                               
            Margaritaville Inc                                             
            424-A Fleming Street                                    
            Key West, FL 33040      
Margaritaville Inc. (305)-296-9089
                Store Telephone 1-800-COCOTEL


Fan mail and letters to Herman Wouk and his publishing company can be sent to the following address:

Herman Wouk
             Author Mail
             Hachette Book Group USA
             Grand Central Publishing
             237 Park Avenue
             New York, NY 10017




Sources and Further Reading


(1997). Coconut Telegraph, 13 (1).


(1998). Coconut Telegraph.


(2001). Coconut Telegraph, 17 (2).


(2001). Coconut Telegraph, 17 (2).


Beckwith, D., & Beckwith, N. (2009, August 30). Don’t Stop the Carnival, Plead Wouk and Buffett. Retrieved January 2, 2014, from Florida Keys News:


Buckridge, S. O. (2010). Jamaica in the Nineteenth Century to the Present. In M. B. Schevill (Ed.), Encyclopedia of World Fashion: Latin America and the Caribbean (Vol. II, pp. 264-269). New York: Oxford University Press.


Buckridge, S. O. (2010). Overview of the Caribbean. In M. B. Schevill (Ed.), Encyclopedia of World Fashion: Latin America and the Caribbean (Vol. II, pp. 247-250). New York: Oxford University Press.


Buffett, J. (1997). Coconut Telegraph, 13 (1).


Buffett, J. (1997). Coconut Telegraph, 13 (1).


Buffett, J. (1998). Coconut Telegraph.


Buffett, J. (Composer). (1998). Don’t Stop the Carnival! [J. Buffett, Performer] [CD]. New York: M. Utley.


Buffett, J. (1997). Interview. Coconut Telegraph, 13 (3).


Burton, R. D., & Reno, F. (1995). French and West Indian: Martinique, Guadeloupe, and French Guiana Today. (A. J. Arnold, Ed.) Charlottesville, VA: University Press of Virginia.


Chico, B. (2010). Caribbean Headwear. In M. B. Schevill (Ed.), Encyclopedia of World Fashion: Latin America and the Caribbean (Vol. II, pp. 290-300). New York: Oxford University Press.


Cornell University. (n.d.). The Climate of New York. Retrieved February 21, 2014, from


Craik, J. (1994). The Face of Fashion: Cultural Studies in Fashion. London: Routledge.


Cunningham, R. (1994). The Magic Garment: Principles of Costume Design. Prospect Heights, IL: Waveland Press, Inc.


Dolen, C. (1997). Don’t Stop This Carnival! Coconut Telegraph, 13 (4).


Eicher, J. B. (2010). Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. In M. B. Schevill (Ed.), Latin America and the Caribbean (Vol. II). New York: Oxford University Press, Inc.


Furguson, J. (1999). A Traveller’s History of the Caribbean. New York: Interlink Publishing Group, Inc.


Gamble, D. W., & Curtis, S. (2008). Caribbean Precipitation: Review, Model, and Prospect. Progress in Physical Geography , 32 (3), 265-276.


Gillette, J. M. (2005). Theatrical Design and Production (6th ed.). New York: The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


Gilmore, J. (2000). Faces of the Caribbean. London: Latin America Bureau Ltd.


Heyse-Moore, D. (2010). Trinidad in the Nineteenth Century. In M. B. Schevill (Ed.), Encyclopedia of World Fashion: Latin America and the Caribbean (Vol. II, pp. 277-284). New York : Oxford University Press.


Humphrey, M., & Lewine, H. (1996). The Jimmy Buffett Scrapbook (2nd ed.). New York: Kensington Publishing Corporation.


Jimmy Buffett Presents Herman Wouk’s Don’t Stop the Carnival. (2001). Coconut Telegraph , 17 (2).


Langley, L. D. (1989). The United States and the Caribbean in the Twentieth Century (4th ed.). Athens: The University of Georgia Press.


López, R. J. (2010). Dress and Dance in Puerto Rico. In M. B. Schevill (Ed.), Encyclopedia of World Fashion: Latin America and the Caribbean (Vol. II, pp. 270-276). New York: Oxford University Press.


Mack, J. (1994). Masks and the Art of Expression. New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc.


Maingot, A. P. (1994). The United States and the Caribbean. San Francisco: Westview Press.


Martin, T. (2012). Caribbean History: From Pre-colonial Origins to the Present. Boston: Pearson Education, Inc.


Oostindie, G. (2005). Paradise Overseas: The Dutch Caribbean. Oxford: Macmillan Publishers


Osborn, L. (2009). Caribbean Weather: Annual Temperature & Rainfall. Retrieved February 21, 2014, from Current Results:


Padilla, A. (2003). The Tourism Industry in the Caribbean After Castro. Retrieved March 27, 2014, from


Pattullo, P. (1996). Last Resorts: The Cost of Tourism in the Caribbean. London: Cassell & Co.


Peacock, J. (2006). Costume: 1066 to the Present (3rd ed.). London: Thames & Hudson, Ltd.


Peacock, J. (2005). The Complete Fashion Sourcebook: 2000 Illustrations Charting 20th Century Fashion. New York: Thames & Hudson, Ltd.


San Miguel, P. L. (2005). The Imagined Island: History, Identity, and Utopia in Hispaniola. Chapel Hill, NC: The University of North Carolina Press.


Schevill, M. B. (2010). Overview of Dress and Fashion in Latin America and the Caribbean. In M. B. Schevill (Ed.), Encyclopedia of World Fashion: Latin America and the Caribbean (pp. 3-22). New York: Oxford University Press.


Smith, R. F. (1994). The Caribbean World and the United States: Mixing Rum and Coca-Cola. New York: Twayne Publishers.


Sommers, A. (1997). Don’t Stop the Carnival. Coconut Telegraph , 13 (5).


Tselos, S. E. (2010). Creolized Costumes for Rara, Haiti. In M. B. Schevill (Ed.), Encyclopedia of World Fashion: Latin America and the Caribbean (Vol. II, pp. 257-263). New York: Oxford University Press.


Tselos, S. E. (2010). Vodou Ritual Garments in Haiti. In M. B. Schevill (Ed.), Encyclopedia of World Fashion: Latin America and the Caribbean (Vol. II, pp. 251-256). New York: Oxford University Press.


Wilcox, R. T. (2008). The Mode in Costume: A Historical Survey with 202 Plates. Mineola, NY: Dover Publications, Inc.


Wouk, H. (1965). Don’t Stop the Carnival. New York: Little, Brown & Co.


Reference & Contact Information


 These designs are © Kaedra Lynn and may not be reused, re-posted, edited, sold, or transferred in any manner or format.  Don’t steal – please contact me first. I’ll be happy to help you.

 To reference any original [text] material on my website, here are some facts that may help with your citation:

Author: Kaedra Lynn
Website created: March 30, 2014
Website last updated: April 22, 2015

Web Page URL:
Name of Web Page: Don’t Stop the Carnival!

Website URL:
Name of Website: Kaedra Lynn [Portfolio Website]

A.A.B. in Computer Information Systems & B.A. in Theatre Arts


Please feel free to e-mail me with questions, thoughts or concerns.  I can be contacted by using the “CONTACT” link at the top menu of my website.  

Thank you for reading! —
and don’t ever stop that carnival!