Meadows School of the Arts 2022
Claudia Stephens, associate professor of theatre in Meadows School of the Arts, is a native Texan with a B.F.A. from UT Austin and M.F.A. in costume design from Carnegie Mellon. She joined SMU in 1996 after 12 years as a freelance costume designer based in New York City. For 37 years, she worked on over 170 productions across the U.S. In New York City, she designed for Lincoln Center, Juilliard, Manhattan School of Music, Playwrights Horizons, Big Dance Theater, Primary Stages and many others. Professor Stephens worked on Broadway shows with Martin Short, Bernadette Peters, Brenda Vaccaro, Kate Burton and Cynthia Nixon. Notable Broadway shows include Neil Simon's Jake's Women and Stephen Sondheim's Into the Woods. She designed for opera companies, and her U.S. theatre experience includes Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Utah Shakespeare Festival, St. Louis Repertory, Cleveland Play House, Denver Center and Dallas Theater Center. She also worked on Dirty Dancing. Professor Stephens has served on multiple SMU committees and the Faculty Senate and as chair of the Division of Theatre. She also served on the national board of the University Resident Theatre Association. After SMU retirement, Professor Stephens begins her next chapter as chaplain at Houston Methodist Hospital.