Emmy and Tony Award-winning costume designer Paul Tazewell has been appointed to the board of trustees at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts (UNCSA), where he received his Bachelor of Fine Arts from the School of Design and Production’s top-ranked costume design and technology program in 1986. The appointment was announced Thursday by the board of governors of the 17-campus University of North Carolina System.
The winner of a Tony for the Broadway smash “Hamilton” and an Emmy for NBC’s “The Wiz Live!” Tazewell remains deeply engaged with UNCSA, and has established a merit-based scholarship for undergraduate students of color in Design and Production (D&P). Tazewell also serves on the dean’s council and is a guest artist periodically. He was the university’s commencement speaker in 2018, when he was awarded an honorary doctorate.
Also appointed to the board were alumni Al Crawford (B.F.A. Design and Production ’97), lighting director of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and founder of New York-based Arc3design; dancer and choreographer Jeffery Bullock (High School Dance, ’81), chair of the Hollins University Dance Department who taught at the American Dance Festival for 15 years; and actress Rhoda Griffis (B.F.A. Drama ’83), whose credits include feature films “Hidden Figures,” “The Blind Side” and “Runaway Jury” and television series “Claws,” “Beware the Walking Dead” and “Mindhunter.”
“Alumni are among the most important stakeholders of the University of North Carolina School of the Arts,” said Ralph Womble, chair of the UNCSA Board of Trustees. “It is crucial that they have a strong voice on its governing board. We welcome these accomplished alumni, and we look forward to working with them to achieve the mission and strategic goals of our world-class arts conservatory.”
Tazewell has been designing costumes for Broadway, regional theater, film, television, dance and opera productions for close to 30 years. He began his Broadway career with the groundbreaking musical “Bring in ‘Da Noise, Bring in ‘Da Funk,” directed by George C. Wolfe. More recently he is known for his work with both of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Tony Award-winning original Broadway productions of “Hamilton” and “In the Heights,” both directed by Thomas Kail. Other Broadway credits include “Ain’t Too Proud”; “The Color Purple”; “Doctor Zhivago”; “Memphis”; “Caroline, or Change”; “Elaine Stritch at Liberty”; “Russell Simmons’ Def Poetry Jam”; “Lombardi”; and “Magic/Bird.” Revival work includes “Side Show,” “A Streetcar Named Desire,” “Jesus Christ Superstar,” “Guys and Dolls” and “A Raisin in the Sun.”
In the United States and across the globe, Tazewell has designed for such renowned companies as the Metropolitan Opera, the Bolshoi Ballet, the English National Opera, Theatre du Chatelet, the Public Theater, National Theatre UK, the Kennedy Center, the Guthrie Theater, Arena Stage, Houston Grand Opera, San Francisco Opera, Chicago Lyric Opera and many more.
Tazewell’s feature film credits include “Harriet” directed by Kasi Lemmons, “Hamilton” directed by Thomas Kail, and the yet-to-be-released “West Side Story” directed by Steven Spielberg. TV credits include the HBO original film “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” starring Oprah Winfrey, and both “The Wiz Live!” and “Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert” for NBC.
He is the recipient of two Lucille Lortel Awards, four Helen Hayes Awards, a Princess Grace Foundation Fellowship and the Princess Grace Statue Award.
A stand-alone design and production conservatory dedicated to preparing students for every aspect of the global entertainment industry, the School of Design and Production delivers a profoundly creative, hands-on immersion in the behind-the-scenes magic of live theater and events, with undergraduate and graduate programs in costume design, costume technology, lighting, production and project management, scene design, scene painting, scenic art, scenic technology, sound design, stage automation, stage management, stage properties, technical direction, and wig and makeup design. Alumni have won or been nominated for major awards in the arts and entertainment industry, including the Emmy, Tony, Golden Globe, Critics’ Choice, Drama Desk, Lucille Lortel, and Helen Hayes awards.
The University of North Carolina School of the Arts is America’s first state-supported arts school, a unique stand-alone public university of arts conservatories. With a high school component, UNCSA is a degree-granting institution that trains young people of talent in dance, design and production, drama, filmmaking, and music. Established by N.C. General Assembly in 1963, the School of the Arts opened in Winston-Salem (“The City of Arts and Innovation”) in 1965 and became part of the University of North Carolina system when it was formed in 1972. For more information, visit uncsa.edu.