Claudia Stephens


Associate Professor





While based in New York City, Stephens designed for opera, theater and dance in New York and nationally. While continuing to freelance costume design, she moved to Dallas in 1997 to teach at SMU. During her 30-plus years as a costume designer, she has designed over 140 productions in New York and across the United States.

Stephens’ students are currently working in the costume industry in New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago and in Texas, Florida, Idaho and Oklahoma.

In New York, her designs have been seen at Lincoln Center, Juilliard, Manhattan School of Music, Playwrights Horizons, Dance Theatre Workshop, Primary Stages, Classic Stage Company, Soho Repertory Theatre and others. On Broadway, including Broadway tours, Stephens has worked with Stephen Sondheim, Ann Hould Ward and Cleo Laine, Into The Woods national tour; James Lapine, Ann Hould Ward and Stephen Bogardus, Falsettos; Bernadette Peters, Martin Short, Neil Simon and Santo Loquasto, The Goodbye Girl; Neil Simon, Alan Alda, Kate Burton and Santo Loquasto, Jake’s Women; Gene Saks, Kevin Spacey, Mercedes Ruhl and Santo Loquasto, Lost in Yonkers; William Ivey Long, Phillip Bosco and Victor Garber, Lend Me A Tenor.

In the U.S., her opera and theatre designs have been seen at Portland Opera, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Utah Shakespearean Festival, St. Louis Repertory Theatre, Cincinnati Playhouse, Cleveland Playhouse, Denver Center Theater, Dallas Theater Center, Merrimack Theater, Triad Theatre and others. A member of Big Dance Theatre since 1995, Stephens’ costume designs for dance have been seen in New York City, the United States and Europe.

Recently she designed the southwest premiere of the opera Angels in America with David Gately and the Ft. Worth Opera; Comme Toujours Here I Stand, with Big Dance Theatre, premiering in Lyon, France, April 2009; Back, Back, Back, with Hal Brooks, opening at the Dallas Theater Center February, 2009; Before Night Falls, with David Gately and Riccardo Hernandez and the Ft. Worth Opera, May 2010.

In 2014, Stephens was selected to serve on the board of directors of the national organization URTA (University/Resident Theatre Association) for a three-year term. URTA advances theatre by connecting educational theatre programs with professional theatre and performing arts industries, promoting professional practices and artistic excellence in higher education, and assisting students with their transition into the profession.


B.F.A. Theatre, University of Texas at Austin
M.F.A. Costume Design, Carnegie Mellon University

Recent Work

Professional Experience
Costume Design member, United Scenic Artists of America, Local 829, New York City

Course list

M.F.A. Stage Design 
Claudia Stephens