Backstage Role Moves New Graduate to Shakespearian Stage

Bailey Rosenberg '14 (SFA) styles a wig backstage at the Harriet S. Jorgensen Theatre. (Peter Morenus/UConn Photo)

Bailey Rosenberg ’14 (SFA) styles a wig backstage at the Harriet S. Jorgensen Theatre. (Peter Morenus/UConn Photo)

For a student to take what is learned in a classroom into a professional environment usually involves quite a bit more time than it may take to walk from one building on campus to another. Yet that is what students in the Department of Dramatic Arts often do when they participate in productions staged by the Connecticut Repertory Theatre, the producing arm of the School of Fine Arts.

During her four years in Storrs, Bailey Rosenberg ’14 (SFA) has served as an assistant stage manager, wardrobe supervisor, and wig, hair, and makeup supervisor for seven CRT productions, while completing her degree in Theater Studies.

“We take what we learn in class, and maybe hours later that day we put it to use in the real world,” says Rosenberg. “It is a professional setting. It’s been really helpful.”

Bailey Rosenberg '14 (SFA) styles a wig backstage at the Harriet S. Jorgensen Theatre on May 22, 2014. (Peter Morenus/UConn Photo)

Bailey Rosenberg '14 (SFA) styles a wig backstage at the Harriet S. Jorgensen Theatre on May 22, 2014. (Peter Morenus/UConn Photo)

Bailey Rosenberg '14 (SFA) styles a wig backstage at the Harriet S. Jorgensen Theatre on May 22, 2014. (Peter Morenus/UConn Photo)

Rosenberg’s experiences have also included working closely with the professional directors and actors who headline CRT productions each year, providing the opportunity to display her skills as part of the UConn production team. Working with director Tony Simotes earlier this year during the CRT production of “The Three Musketeers” has helped her land a job this summer as a member of the costume department at the renowned Shakespeare & Company in Lenox, Mass., where Simotes serves as artistic director.

After teaching herself hair and makeup while participating in high school plays in Woodstock, Conn., Rosenberg says she began to learn about costume design while working in the costume shop for CRT productions as a student assistant. In addition to classes focused on her Theater Studies track, she also took classes in costume design with Professor Laura Crow, who has won major awards for her work on Broadway and in productions staged in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Chicago.

“We are so lucky to have the faculty and staff we do,” Rosenberg says. “They come from all over the world, and they are able to teach us the importance of detail. Because of that, Equity actors want to come to Connecticut Repertory Theatre because of our level of professionalism and detail. We truly do good work here.”

I was exposed to every element of theater. That’s how I was able to choose what I loved. —Bailey Rosenberg ’14 (SFA)

The curriculum in Theater Studies provides an overview for students as well as the opportunity to take classes in acting, lighting, and stage design that, Rosenberg says, provides students with the opportunity to decide on an area of concentration. Her elective courses in liberal arts and the humanities have also helped in theater productions.

“I was exposed to every element of theater. That’s how I was able to choose what I loved,” she says. “I’ve taken anthropology, music, history, and English classes. It’s been great to see how we can apply it to our life in the theater.”

Rosenberg says an emphasis on research in the department has also been critical in providing accuracy for costume and set design. And this, in turn, helped in her role as assistant stage manager, a role she describes as being “the main communicator” between the actors, director, and designers involved in the production.

Her skill with hair and makeup has already earned Rosenberg professional work. Following her work in the CRT production of “Hairspray,” actress and singer Tina Fabrique commissioned Rosenberg to design wigs for her and some friends.

“It was eye-opening,” Rosenberg says, “because I saw that the work I’m doing here is something I can do in the real world.”