Theatre professor Toni-Leslie James has designed costumes for 20 Broadway shows—including productions with actors Patrick Stewart and Tom Hanks. She’s used her technical expertise and industry know-how to train a generation of theatre students at VCUarts, helping them get a foot in the door on Broadway. Her recent work on Bernhardt Hamlet was nominated for a Tony Award, and CBS 6 News reached out to the designer to learn more about her career.
Toni has created costumes for some of the most memorable productions and names in show biz. The 62-year-old Pittsburgh native said she was bitten by the theatre bug at age nine.
“We went to a production of “Jack and the Beanstalk” and I can remember every minute of it,” says Toni.
Toni’s career carried her to Richmond a dozen years ago so she could share her knowledge and talents with aspiring designers. Some of her students are already working in the industry.
“It is tremendously rewarding,” says Toni. “It is excellent to see your work on stage. It is what we live for.”