Gustie Alum Wins Helen Hayes Award for “Outstanding Costume Design”

Posted on June 6th, 2018 by

Photo Credit: RoSeTta RC

Robert Croghan ’11 has been designing costumes for Broadway productions since he was a 17 year old student at Gustavus. This month, he was awarded the prestigious Helen Hayes Award for “Outstanding Costume Design” for his work on the world premier of the Spanish language production of In the Heights at the GALA Hispanic Theatre in Washington, D.C.

Croghan designed the costumes for all 22 actors in the production, which included four to five looks for each character. This is the third time he has been nominated for the award, which is given to exceptional productions in the Washington, D.C. area. He says he was surprised by the win, especially given the modern nature of the costumes in the show. “I was sitting next to my assistant who I had on that show. I was just staring, and she had to push me up to go up onto the stage,” he says.

Robert Croghan ’11 receiving the Helen Hayes Award for “Outstanding Costume Design.”

Croghan was approached by director Luis Salgado (who also worked on the original Broadway production of In the Heights) after Salgado saw some of his work in a dance production at the Kennedy Center. The nature of the collaboration between Croghan and Salgado proved to be an extremely positive aspect for Croghan. “It was a really refreshing experience to work with someone who from the get-go had complete trust in me,” he says.

After landing the job, he had three weeks to shop and acquire as many pieces of costuming as possible. The actors arrived in Washington, D.C. four days before the opening of the show. During those four days he worked to fit all of the costumes for the actors in the short breaks between their time rehearsing on stage. Luckily, several of the actors had been in previous productions and were able to collaborate with Croghan to create an authentic vision of their character in a short amount of time.

In the Heights is just one of many productions Croghan has been a part of since his time at Gustavus. Other credits include design roles for shows at the Guthrie Theatre, Circle in the Square Theatre on Broadway and Wolly Mammoth Theatre in Washington, D.C., among many others.

While at Gustavus, Croghan was a theatre major and designed costumes for Broadway shows during his summer breaks. He hopes that Gustavus students interested in going into theatre follow their passion and take advantage of the support he found within the Gustavus theatre department. “Try not to listen to those outside forces saying you can’t make a living off of this. That was something I heard constantly. Some people view the arts as a cute hobby, but you can make a career out of this, I’m living proof of that,” he says.

Upcoming projects for Croghan include the national and international tours of Anastasia The Musical as well as the Metropolitan Opera’s production of Samson et Dalila.



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