Suttirat Anne Larlarb

Suttirat Anne Larlarb is the costume designer for Waitress the Musical. Suttirat is also an Associate Professor in Costume Design at Carnegie Mellon University.

Suttirat trained with theatre mentor, Ming Cho Lee, co-chair of the design department at the Yale School of Drama. “Anybody who’s anybody of note in the last 30 years all refer to him in this sort of cult-y way, like, we’ve all gone through the cult. It could be a magazine tear-up of Obama, or James Dean, or whomever. It could just be a picture of a girl in overalls at a gas station. But for some reason she looks like Aida.”

In addition to costume design for a wide range of theatre, including Frankenstein in London and Finding Neverland at the ART and on Broadway, Suttirat has also designed for TV and film. Her work in film has included extensive collaboration with Danny Boyle, whom she worked with on “The Beach” and “Sunshine,” before working with him on “Slumdog Millionaire,” for which she won the Costume Designers Guild award in 2009 for excellence in contemporary film. They later worked together with Mark Tildesley on the opening ceremony of the 2012 London Olympics, for which she won an Emmy award.

On designing for Waitress, Suttirat said: “The clothes needed to have a real, breathable honesty – setting a world that Jenna is stuck in, the here, the now – and therefore she could ‘escape’ from in her pie-making reverie, and of course when she is liberated in the end from the old life that’s held her down. All of this real life weighs her down, so to set that tone was really important for us – because it meant there was something livelier, happier, more idealistic to dream about – and then she eventually gets there and it’s a rebirth – colours are brighter, life is lighter, and it shows.

“There’s a book I loved called ‘Plates and Dishes’ by a photographer who documents road-side diner waitresses across America. That was a great window into the world of the diner – for all the characters – the diner waitresses, the customers, the spirit..starting with the real. I found it inspiring to have a real grounding for the characters so that we could heighten when the special moments, the music, the story and Jenna’s life circumstances called for it… I unfortunately or maybe fortunately was a big fan of the movie, and already had it in my head. But I just tried to make it a point to not revisit it. There is a huge fan base for it so I went back to make sure that if there was something we needed to pay homage to it, we would do it.

“The biggest challenge was keeping Jenna on stage the entire time while trying to show different states, and transformation – between reality and her dream states; between her home and work life; between her private thoughts and the demands of her reality – and of course throughout the stages of her pregnancy. I think we got there by having the world around her change when required, and then she only changes when she really needed to burst free from the day-in, day-out… It’s a lot for any performer to take on, but Jessie Mueller was right there the whole time, so collaborative and diligent and working so hard to make the costume design ideas as important as all the technical and performance demands on her. She’s amazing.

“We wanted to make sure that each person has a little sliver of their personality coming through in the uniform. Becky is a very sassy, no-holds-barred big personality. Her uniform is open quite low — you might see her bra occasionally — and she wears these big gold-hoop earrings and comes to work in a studded jean jacket. Dawn, who is much more of a wallflower and a bit nerdy, is very buttoned-up and in perfect regulation and has clean shoes and tidy shoelaces. With shoes, all the ladies are on their feet all day long, so you want to be true to that working-class environment. There is choreography, too. Jenna, whose life hasn’t turned out to be what she expected, doesn’t spend her money on things that don’t lead to a better effect for her, so her shoes are unremarkable. Becky has these loud turquoise suede heels with a leopard-skin top. For her wedding, Dawn, whose world has been the diner or home, has a neat pair of Keds that she bedazzled just a bit to indicate her blossoming, but not too much.”

Selected Previous Credits


  • Finding Neverland
  • Of Mice and Men

West End

  • Frankenstein


  • Gemini Man
  • The Walk
  • Steve Jobs
  • 10,000 Saints
  • Trance
  • Cinema Verite
  • Beastly
  • 127 Hours
  • The American
  • Peacock
  • Slumdog Millionaire
  • Sunshine
  • The Beach
NameSuttirat Anne Larlarb
FromNorth Carolina
TrainedStanford University
RoleCostume Designer