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Brian Hemesath '94 continues success as costume designer

Brian with his Emmy

December 2013


One of St. Ambrose's alums is doing great things in New York!

Brian Hemesath graduated in 1994 with a major in theatre and a minor in art—and plenty of experience working in SAU's costume shop. After earning his master's at Carnegie Mellon, Pittsburgh, Pa., Hemesath moved to New York City. He quickly started to succeed in the Big Apple.

A few of his costume designing credits include Broadway shows, Saturday Night Live, The Today Show, and the well-known PBS children's show, Sesame Street. He has been the associate costume designer for SNL for 29 episodes. Just a few of the celebrities on those episodes were Justin Timberlake, Lady Gaga, and Vince Vaughn. Then, on June 18, 2011, Brian took home an Emmy award for Outstanding Achievement in Costume Design/Styling for Sesame Street on PBS. Since then, his career has gotten even better.

He currently is designing a show, Honeymoon in Vegas, at the Paper Mill Playhouse in New York. If the show does well, it might have the opportunity to go to Broadway! The show has gotten great reviews and for Brian, it has been extremely rewarding. Frank Scheck from the New York Post said: "Honeymoon in Vegas could well succeed on Broadway. ... It's the kind of silly, fun musical you'd want to take your mother to." 

Brian said the most gratifying part for him has been "the opportunity to create something new and fresh, but feels like something the audience can relate to."

Additionally, he's worked with some pretty cool people that adds to his job satisfaction.

"I've worked with Jason Robert Brown (who wrote the book and music for The Last Five Years), Andrew Bergman (the director of the film version made in 1992 starring Nicholas Cage), and Gary Griffin (the director, known for his work on the musical, The Color Purple). It's been an amazing insight about how to create a truly funny and heartwarming musical and be able to contribute to the process as well."

The most important thing Brian said he learned at Ambrose was "if you work hard enough and apply yourself, you can accomplish most anything."

He explained that he learned to "think outside the box and try to tackle problems with excitement because it might be a better solution than you originally planned."

He said he feels extremely lucky to have the career that he does; it's rewarding and challenging every day.

"I think anyone who gets to go to their job every day and look forward to whatever surprises are headed their way is the luckiest person."

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