Costume Designer Paul Tazewell Establishes Scholarship at UNCSA

by Michael Eddy

Renowned costume designer Paul Tazewell, a Tony and Emmy Award-Winning alumnus of UNCSA, has established a merit-based scholarship for undergraduate students of color in the School of Design and Production at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in 1986. With this gift, Tazewell “hopes to inspire emerging artists of color to follow their dreams and become the next generation of creative innovators.” Tazewell spoke at UNCSA’s 52nd Commencement Ceremony, where he received an honorary doctorate.

“We are deeply honored for Paul's scholarship support,” said Chancellor Lindsay Bierman. “He serves as an exceptional role model for our aspiring professional artists and costume designers. The impact of his legacy will be tremendous not only on our campus, but also on the global theater industry.”

Over the last three decades, Tazewell has reached ever-greater heights as a designer and a fixture on Broadway. He has been nominated for six Tony awards, including his 2016 win for Hamilton. He and his design team won an Emmy for their work on NBC’s The Wiz! Live in 2016. He has also been nominated for an Olivier Award, and has received four Helen Hayes Awards, two Lucille Lortel Awards, and the Princess Grace Statue Award, among many others.

He has worked as a costume designer on the Broadway productions of A Streetcar Named Desire, Memphis, In the Heights, The Color Purple, and Bring in ‘da Noise, Bring in ‘da Funk. He has also designed costumes for the Bolshoi Ballet, the Metropolitan Opera, and the Goodman Theatre. Most recently, his costumes for NBC’s live production of Jesus Christ Superstar caused a sensation on social media and were hailed by The Cut as, “unbelievably fashionable.”

“Paul’s résumé speaks for itself, but this scholarship is a reminder that he’s also very grateful to this school for helping him get his start,” said Michael Kelley, dean of the School of Design and Production. Kelley is also an alumnus of D&P, graduating one year after Tazewell.

The inaugural Paul Tazewell Scholarship will be awarded fall 2018.

Further information from UNCSA: