IWU Senior Interns for Tony Award-Winning Costume Designer
September 7, 2005
BLOOMINGTON, Ill. – Janessa Styck of Watseka, Ill., a senior theatre arts major at
Illinois Wesleyan University, spent the summer of 2005 sewing doublets and petticoats
as a stitching intern with the Glimmerglass Opera in Cooperstown, N.Y.
Styck, a graduate of Watseka Community High School, interviewed for the internship
last spring at the annual South Eastern Theatre Conference convention in Greensboro,
N.C., which she attended with other IWU theatre students seeking summer employment
Founded in 1975, the Glimmerglass Opera celebrated its 30th anniversary festival season
this summer with new productions of Mozart’s Cos Van Tutte, Donizetti’s Lucie de Lammermoor, Britten’s Death in Venice and a double bill of two one-act operas, Massenet’s Le Portrait de Manon and Poulenc’s La Voix Humaine.
The internship, which began in May and continued until mid-July, challenged Styck
to achieve a highly professional standard of work. “I always felt like I was working
with the best of the best,” she said. In fact, over the summer, Catherine Zuber,
the costume designer for Lucie de Lammermoor, won a Tony Award for her work on the musical A Light in the Piazza.
Styck found constructing costumes for the opera a challenge, even after three years
of stitching for productions on the IWU campus. “[This summer] I was tailoring a lot
of men’s doublets, which could not even be 1/8 of an inch off,” she said, adding that
it was both intimidating and exciting to work with silks, taffetas and velvets that
cost up to $200 per yard.
In a play, the actors must adapt to their clothes, Styck explained. “If you put an
actress who is supposed to be Queen Elizabeth into a tight corset, it will help her
understand what it was like to live in that period.” However, in an opera, “you can’t
push the performers into a costume. Corsets are just not meant for singing.”
This fall, Styck will be the associate costume designer for IWU’s production of the
musical Urinetown, which will run from Oct. 4-9 in the McPherson Theatre.
After pursuing graduate work on the East Coast, Styck aspires to launch a career as
a professional costume designer for both theatre and film productions. “I want to
have two Tonys under my belt before I win my first Oscar,” she said, jo
king about her ambition.
Contact: Rebecca Welzenbach, (309) 556-3181