Fordham Off-Stage Spotlight: More to Theater Than It Seams



Former poli-sci major Alyssa Rosenberg, FCLC ’21, discovered her true passion in the costume shop.


Theater is a beautiful art. Actors take on a whole different being and create illustrious performances. However, we tend to focus on what is shown on stage rather than the behind-the-scenes work. For every Fordham Theatre production, there is a large amount of work offstage. Whether it’s set design, prop making or tech, it is something we tend to forget. Alyssa Rosenberg, Fordham College at Lincoln Center (FCLC) ’21, is a costume design major who has worked on the mainstage shows “Orlando” and “Antigonick” last semester. As of late, she has worked on designs and fittings for the upcoming mainstage show “Satellites.” Rosenberg discussed switching her major, her experience backstage working on Fordham shows and her passion for theater.

Originally a political science major, Rosenberg is an internal transfer into the theater program. “I switched to costume design because it’s what I love doing.” Theater was a large part of her middle and high school life. She worked with costumes, makeup and hair in productions at her school, and she knew it was something she wanted to pursue.

“In high school, I would always stay after and help with rehearsal or I would help with fittings and makeup … I didn’t take a sewing class until my senior year,” she said. “But I had basic sewing skills from my grandparents and my mom. In terms of designing a show, I didn’t do a full show design until my senior year of high school.”

Through her experiences in high school, she realized she especially enjoys wig design. She has big hopes for her future post-graduation. “I would definitely love to intern somewhere doing wig master stuff or at a company that builds wigs. Eventually, I would like to design wigs or be able to design makeup. If there is some way I could combine those things, that would be the perfect world.”

Her favorite production that she has worked on at Fordham was a student-written play, “Erotophobia.” She said, “It was actually only the second show I designed at Fordham. It was really different from any show I did. It was a surrealist play so it was definitely something I wasn’t used to, which was making the costumes fit the world because it wasn’t hyper-real.” It was a challenge for Rosenberg, but she wanted to push her skills and think outside the box.

In the future, Rosenberg hopes to see more colorful period and surrealist costumes in regard to Fordham Theatre. “I think there are so many fun things to build when you’re dealing with period costumes and so many fun things to learn. You learn the most, in my opinion, when you are doing stuff that is not necessarily modern, especially with building.” She has the most fun seeing and working with intricately costumed shows and wants to see more of that in the future.  

For anyone wanting to go into costume design or theater, Rosenberg said, “Try as much as you can, try new things, assist as much as you can and talk to as many as you can in that concentration.” Since she was an internal transfer, she initially had did not know how the productions worked. She is grateful to Elizabeth Ryan, FCLC ’19, who helped her with everything she needed and demonstrated how the shows run when she was new to the program.

Regarding the Fordham Theatre department, Rosenberg said, “It’s a really good group. I am lucky to know the people in it. Everybody is unbelievably artistic and creative and talented, and it’s really cool to see how people make art together.”