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Jenna Miller Has Her Eyes Set on New York

Published Friday, June 15, 2018

Jenna Miller
Jenna Miller

Jenna Miller graduated this past spring with her heart set on the New York theatre scene. It’s a longshot, but the talented alumna has the drive and determination to make it come real.

“I want to live in New York where theatre thrives. I have been there several times, and it gets better every time,” she said.

Miller will be working as a stitcher for Weathervane Theatre, located in northern New Hampshire, for her second summer. She’ll work from July until September. A stitcher cuts and sews the costume together. She is waiting hear if she will also hold the title of Assistant Costume Designer.  

Once she arrives at Weathervane, she will hit the ground running in the fast-paced theatre costume shop. Weathervane Theatre produces seven shows in just 10 weeks. The first production this summer will be The Little Mermaid.

“I would describe the atmosphere in the shop as organized chaos. You are always busy, busy, busy,” she said.

Last year at Weathervane she was the Assistant Costume Designer for various productions. Hair Spray, Gypsy, and West Side Story were the more popular shows she helped with.  

SMSU theatre alumnus Rien Schlecht told Miller about the position. She was not an on-stage performer during her time at SMSU. Rather, she helped behind the scenes, and came to love theatre.

While attending SMSU, she has helped with numerous productions for both SMSU and the Drama Club. She assisted with the costumes for Into the Woods, How to Talk Minnesotan, Boeing Boeing, One Man, Two Guvnors, and The Awesome 80’s Prom. For Drama Club, she helped with Avenue Q, Guys and Dolls and The Last Five Years

“Some costumes can take me anywhere from a couple days to two weeks depending on how elaborate it is” Miller said.

“It is fun designing a costume to help portray the character. You really have to think about how they will be wearing it and how that deals with the character’s personality” she said.

“My favorite costumes to make are dresses. They are all so different, but they have the same basic structure you start with” Miller said.  

Her great-grandmother taught her how to sew at a young age. She made doll clothes as a child and in fifth grade she made herself a shirt. In seventh grade, she learned more about sewing in her home economics class. 

When she graduated from Marshall High School she was looking for a good education at an affordable price. That took her to SMSU. She looked at Psychology, Secondary Education and Political Science before she realized her calling was costume design and became a Theatre Arts major.

Miller enjoys the theatre program at SMSU for the community-like bond the students and professors share, the one-on-one time with professors, and how the inductors get to know the students as individuals.

“The SMSU Theatre program was a warm and welcoming space where the professors preferred to be called by their first name,” she said.

When she is not making costumes, you can find her waitressing and bartending at Shay’s Restaurant and Lounge in Marshall. She was also on the dance team for three years and was a club officer for the Drama Club.

“I encourage everyone, especially incoming freshman, to come to plays, try out for parts and learn how to make costumes. You never know when a button will pop off and you need to fix it. It might come off right before you get out of your car for an important interview. You can use the life skills you learned in the costume shop to fix the button in the car before walking in” Miller said.



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