Owen, Bobbi 1949-

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Owen, Bobbi 1949- (Roberta A. Owen)

PERSONAL:

Born August 27, 1949, in Wabasha, MN; daughter of Wayne L. (a farmer and city government employee) and Rita M. Owen; married Gordon J. Ferguson (a computer software engineer and designer), December 13, 1979. Ethnicity: "European-American." Education: University of Wisconsin—Madison, B.S., 1971, M.F.A., 1974. Politics: Democrat.

ADDRESSES:

Home—Chapel Hill, NC. Office— Center for Dramatic Art, CB3230, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3230. E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER:

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, assistant professor, 1974-80, associate professor, 1980-92, professor of dramatic art, 1992—. Worked as theatrical costume designer for more than 150 productions, including affiliations with Playmakers Repertory Company, Charleston Stage, Indiana Repertory Theater, and American Place Theater, New York, NY. U.S. Institute for Theater Technology, vice president for communications, 2002-08.

WRITINGS:

Costume Design on Broadway: Designers and Their Credits, 1915-1985, Greenwood Press (Westport, CT), 1987.

Lighting Design on Broadway: Designers and Their Credits, 1915-1990, Greenwood Press (Westport, CT), 1991.

Scenic Design on Broadway: Designers and Their Credits, 1915-1990, Greenwood Press (Westport, CT), 1991.

The Broadway Design Roster: Designers and Their Credits, Greenwood Press (Westport, CT), 2003.

The Designs of Willa Kim, Broadway Press/U.S. Institute for Theater Technology (New York, NY), 2005.

Contributor to reference books.

SIDELIGHTS:

Bobbi Owen told CA: "I write about theatrical designers, with costume designers my specialty. Until the 1940s costume designers were credited—if at all—in the back pages of playbills along with acknowledgements for purveyors of goods and services such as piano tuners. However, their artistry contributed to the spectacle of plays, musicals, operas, dances, et cetera, and they deserve to be recognized along with their other more visible colleagues in creating productions.

"Before writing Costume Design on Broadway: Designers and Their Credits, 1915-1985, in the mid- 1980s, I searched through thousands of playbills simply looking for their names, and I have since delighted in discovering more about them from a variety of sources. Searching through crumbling newspaper clippings in archives is my idea of a good time, although I am grateful for all the newly available electronic sources.

"I'm especially interested in those designers who created costumes as the profession was developing, such as C. Wilhelm (1858-1925), who did the costumes for the original operettas by Gilbert and Sullivan, and Caroline F. Siedle (died, 1907), who designed costumes for the 1903 Broadway production of the Wizard of Oz, among many other shows.

"My hope is to (someday) write a history of costume design in America."