Tony Winning Designer Joins Theater Program

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By: Joe Esposito 

Ramos has designed over 200 shows in the last 15-18 years nationwide and internationally. (Photo courtesy of Clint Ramos)

Starting earlier this semester, Tony award winner Clint Ramos began work at Fordham University as an assistant professor of design, as well as the head of design and production.

Ramos is a production designer, and his work involves designing costumes and sets for various Broadway plays, operas and ballets. He attended graduate school for design at NYU Tisch School of the Arts and started designing immediately after his graduation.

He has designed all over the country, including over two hundred shows over the last fifteen to eighteen years. He has also done a lot of work internationally.

Ramos has designed for many shows on Broadway. In 2016, he won a Tony Award for Best Costume Design of a Play for the show “Eclipsed.” He currently has two shows running on Broadway, “Once On This Island” and “Torch Song;” the former was nominated for a Tony Award.

Throughout his design career he also taught at schools such as Georgetown University and NYU. Before coming to Fordham, he was a professor of scenic design at SUNY Purchase.

“Education has always been important to me,” said Ramos.

Ramos said he was led to Fordham through word of mouth. A few of his colleagues at Purchase mentioned the opportunity. His relationship with Matthew Maguire, the theater program director at Fordham, also had an impact. He had notified Ramos that Fordham was looking for a new head of design and urged him to apply.

“It was really through the community that I learned about it,” said Ramos. In fact, his first contract with Fordham was in the late 2000’s when he designed a show there, “Man Equals Man.”

Stefanie Bubnis, the associate director of the theater program, said she believes Ramos was the right choice for the job.

“Clint connected with our students immediately during the interview process; his breadth of work as an award-winning designer and his previous teaching experience proved to strike the right balance between the artistic and the administrative,” said Bubnis. “Simply put-Clint was a perfect fit for our program at this point in time.”

Ramos said the Fordham community was never far from his orbit.

“I’ve always been impressed by the program,” he said. “I’ve always been aware of all my colleagues who had been teaching there and also all of the graduates. I actually collaborate with quite a number of Fordham graduates in the Broadway community.”

For Ramos, his short time at Fordham thus far has been dedicated to getting comfortable in the environment. “I’ve really given myself this first year to do a lot of reconnaissance, to sort of immerse myself in the culture. It’s a lot of observing and immersing myself in the system,” he said.

Ramos said he has found Fordham students to be stellar.

“It is clear to me that Fordham has the right quality of students that we need; the students who I’ve encountered are extremely sharp and very talented,” he said.

With that being the case, it is important to him to analyze the current design and production track itself in order to see what can or ought to be changed. He is focused on doing an assessment to be able to look at where the program is compared to other schools that offer an outstanding theater education.

“I think the question now really is about how do I position the design and production track so it meets up with what is out there in terms of exemplary theater education,” he said.

Ramos hopes to continue the tradition of excellence that the Fordham program has had while repositioning it to be future-focused in their approach.

He said he also hopes to attract more students.

“It is sort of a tall order, but I think we can do it,” said Ramos.

Bubnis has faith in Ramos going forward.

“Clint’s exuberance for the craft and his love of teaching will no doubt mold and shape our students’ already bright futures,” she said.

Ramos feels that Fordham’s location in the city is important.

“One of the things that is working for us, aside from Fordham’s tradition of academic excellence, is that the school is positioned in New York City,” he said. “Not only can we offer this exemplary liberal arts education through theatre, we can also immerse them culturally through the arts because we are in New York City.”

Ramos has a history with Jesuit education.

“I was educated by Jesuits from a very young age. This is almost like coming home really,” he said.