All Her World's a Stage
George Mason University theater student Mailey Shimon spent January and February in New York as a costuming intern on the stage adaption of the movie, A Bronx Tale. The production is co-directed by Robert De Niro and Jerry Zaks, and opened Feb. 14 at the Paper Mill Playhouse in New Jersey.
Shimon, a senior, said she’d been eyeing the opportunity to work with the play’s costumer, six-time Tony Award winner William Ivey Long, since she was a sophomore.
Internships with Long’s studios are competitive are usually given to graduate students with more experience.
Shimon’s mentor, Howard Vincent Kurtz, a theater professor at Mason, mentioned her during a meeting he had with Long three years ago. Long, in turn, recommended that she apply for the internship. Kurtz wrote a recommendation letter for Shimon and helped her pull together an application, which she submitted in 2014 to Donald Sanders of William Ivey Long Studios.
“It was during the summer of 2015 I took on the vigorous campaign on Mailey’s behalf to get her this internship during her senior year,” Kurtz said. “I called Donald directly to talk through project and time slots … Bronx Tale became the best fit.”
Shimon’s strong résumé — costume, hair and makeup work on several Mason productions, and two summers as a supervisor and costume design assistant at Berkshire Theatre Festival — helped her land the gig.
“The great part about this internship is all the people I get to connect with. The networking I get to do is amazing. I've gotten offers for future projects and met some people that would like to work with me in the future.”
Kurtz has been instrumental in her growth since she met him her freshman year, Shimon said.
“We had a game plan every semester to prepare me for life after college,” she said. “He sat me down and said, ‘You know, you can have a real future in this.’ ”
“Mailey has had the passion and determination to be a costume designer from the very day she arrived at Mason,” Kurtz said. “We are all so pleased that Mailey is able to have this opportunity to work with one of Broadway’s greatest designers.”
Shimon acted as a runner between Long’s studio and the costume shop. She went to rehearsals each day to make drop-offs. Shimon also worked on the production’s “show bible,” a breakdown of all the characters’ costumes and where items were purchased, so if something happens to a costume during the show, staff know how it can be replaced or repaired.
Shimon’s next project is Disaster, a show in production at the Nederland Theater on Broadway.
“That will be exciting to see the difference between a pre-Broadway show and a Broadway show,” she said.