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September 17, 2014 at 3:17 PM

R.I.P. Carolyn Keim, ACT Theatre costume shop director

From Misha Berson, Seattle Times theater critic:

For three decades, if you were a performer in an ACT Theatre show your probably entered the special realm of Carolyn Keim.

Ms. Keim, who died at age 62 in Seattle on Sept. 10 after a long illness, was the respected and beloved longtime director of ACT’s busy costume shop.  And while she was the overseer of hundreds, probably thousands of outfits in ACT productions, she was also a gifted designer herself whose vivid costumes graced shows at various Puget Sound theaters.

Her clothing always suited the occasion and astutely served the production.  Some of her standout designs for me included her work in ACT’s staging of  “Dirty Blonde,” for which Keim conjured the elaborately sexy costumes sported by the character of Mae West , and her garb for some 50 characters over five generations in “Handing Down the Names.”  For Alice B. Theatre, she provided fashionable safari togs in “Why We Have a Body.”  And she handsomely clothed Sherlock Holmes and company in Village Theatre’s “The Mask of Moriarity.”

Born in Whittier, Calif., Ms. Keim acted as a youth but later switched to costume creation.  She met her life partner Connie Rinchiuso while toiling  in the University of Montana costume shop.  In 1980 they moved to Seattle, to work together at ACT, where Connie is still on staff.  The couple married last April.

After developing acute pulmonary disease eight years ago Ms. Keim received a life-extending double lung transplant at UW Medical Center. She encouraged friends to become organ donors, and remembrances can be made in her name to the University of Washington Lung Transplantation Program, as well as ACT Theatre.

Ms. Keim is survived by her wife Connie, as well as her two brothers and extended family.  A celebration will be held in her honor at a later date.

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