About Me

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Howard Vincent Kurtz is Professor of Theater at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, where he teaches costume design, fashion history, pattern making, makeup design, and an introduction to the theater arts for non-majors. Professor Kurtz was honored to receive the George Mason University Outstanding Excellence in Teaching Award, Fenwick Library Fellowship for Research Award, and numerous Outstanding Service awards.

In recognition of his service at George Mason University, and with the support of his colleagues and friends, Howard has endowed a scholarship in his name.  The Howard Vincent Kurtz Theater Endowed Scholarship was established for undergraduate theater students pursuing a concentration in the areas of design and technical theater. 

Mr. Kurtz’s previous work experience includes several years as a draper in New York City, creating costumes for Broadway, Hollywood films, and television. As a member of the professional costume union, Howard has designed costumes at many regional and local theaters in the Washington, D.C. metro area. He was honored to receive the Helen Hayes Outstanding Costume Design Award.

In addition to his academic and professional work, Mr. Kurtz is the Associate Curator of Costumes and Textiles at the Hillwood Museum and Gardens in Washington D.C., the former residence of the Post cereal heiress, Marjorie Merriweather Post.  For the museum, Howard, curated two exhibitions that highlighted the Post family costumes.  He is currently writing a comprehensive book and am accompanying exhibition that chronicles seventy year of fashion from the Marjorie Merriweather Post’s costume collection.

Mr. Kurtz is currently working on several other important research projects, including a study of a Czech American designer in collaboration with the Museum of Decorative Arts in Prague and an examination of costume design for the Federal Theater Project of the Works Progress Administration.

Howard is a member of United Scenic Artists Costume Division, the United States Institute of Theater Technology, the Costume Society of America, the Textile Society of America, and the American Association of Museums.
  • Professional

    Academic

    Curatorial

  • EDUCATION

    • 1989 – 1990

    • Pennsylvania State University
    • MFA – Theatre Arts
    • Dual Concentration: Costume Design and Costume Production

      1986

    • Clarion University of Pennsylvania
    • BFA – Technical Theatre
    • Concentration: Costuming

    EMPLOYMENT HISTORY

    ACADEMIC TEACHING

      1993 – Present

    • George Mason University, Fairfax, VA
    • Professor
    • Teach courses in Theatrical Medium, Costume Design, Costume History, Draping and Drafting, Design Concepts, Seminar in the Major, Advanced Design and Construction, and Makeup

      2000 – 2007

    • Marymount University, Arlington, VA
    • Adjunct Professor
    • Teach courses in Survey of Fashion, Clothing Construction, and Apparel Design III – Advanced Draping

      2000 – 2004

    • Chautauqua Institution, Chautauqua, NY
    • Instructor
    • Taught adult summer session classes, From Page to Stage, Acting the Part, The Director’s Concept, and Dressing the Part

      1994 – 1999

    • American University, Washington, DC
    • Adjunct Professor
    • Taught undergraduate level courses in Scene and Costume Design

      1987 – 1991

    • Clarion University of Pennsylvania, Clarion, PA
    • Instructor
    • Taught summer session classes in Costume Design and Construction

      1986 – 1989

    • Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA
    • Graduate Assistant
    • Full responsibility for teaching undergraduate classes in Costume Craft and Design

    PROFESSIONAL COSTUME DESIGN

      1995 – Present

    • Member of United Scenic Artists, Local 829

      2001 – 2010

    • Olney Theatre Center, Olney, MD
    • Resident Costume Designer
    • Designed 13 productions

      1994 – 2012

    • Theatre of the First Amendment, Fairfax VA
    • Designed 18 productions

      2007

    • RepStage, Columbia, VA
    • Designed 1 production

      2005 – 2006

    • Metrostage, Alexandria, VA
    • Designed 3 productions

      2004

    • Washington Shakespeare Company, Arlington, VA
    • Designed 1 production

      2001

    • Arena Stage, Washington, DC
    • Designed 1 production

      1996 – 2000

    • Kennedy Center Education Division, Washington, DC
    • Designed 3 productions and 3 remounts

      1991 – 1999

    • Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, Washington, DC
    • Designed 10 productions and 2 remounts

      1989 - 2002

    • Fredericksburg Theater Company, Fredericksburg, VA
    • Designed 2 productions

      1996

    • Sherman Productions, Rockville, MD
    • Designed ABC after-school television movie special ELI’S COMING

    ACADEMIC PRODUCTION DESIGN

      1994 – 2010

    • George Mason University Players, Fairfax, VA
    • Designed 18 productions

      1993 – 1998

    • George Mason University Dance Department, Fairfax VA
    • Designed 45 dance pieces

      1992 – 2001

    • American University, Washington, DC
    • Designed 10 productions

      1984 – 1992

    • Clarion University, Clarion, PA
    • Designed 30 productions as a student and returning designer

      1987 – 1989

    • Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA
    • Designed 3 productions during graduate school

    COMMUNITY PRODUCTION DESIGN

      2000 – 2005

    • Little Theatre of Alexandria, Alexandria, VA
    • Designed 5 productions

    COSTUME SUPERVISORY EXPERIENCE

      1993 – 1999

    • George Mason University, Fairfax, VA
    • Costume Director/Resident Designer
    • Responsible for eleven mainstage and six workshop productions per season
    • Supervised 12 – 15 professional staff and students per season
    • Primary liaison for guest designers, students, and faculty with dance, music, and theater departments and professional theater companies
    • Planned academic calendar and prepared weekly work schedules

      1991 – 1993

    • Shakespeare Theatre, Washington, DC
    • Male Draper/Tailor
    • Supervised costume construction team of 5 working in various historical periods

      1991

    • Harlequin Dinner Theatre, Rockville, MD
    • Head Draper
    • Instructed staff of 5 in women and men’s construction of period costumes for musical comedies

      1987 – 1991

    • Clarion University Summer Musical Theatre, Clarion, PA
    • Costume Shop Supervisor
    • Performed all aspects of costume production
    • Performed all responsibilities for pattern drafting and construction
    • Supervised staff of 10 students

      1986

    • University of Rochester Summer Theater, Rochester NY
    • Costume Shop Manager
    • Performed all aspects of costume production
    • Supervised staff of 12 students and volunteers

      1984

    • Summerfun Summer Theater, Montclair, NJ
    • Costumer
    • Supervised workroom staff of 8 students and volunteers
    • Supervised wardrobe staff of 8 students and volunteers

    CONSTRUCTION/TAILORING EXPERIENCE

      1993

    • Centre Stage, University Park, PA
    • Head Tailor
    • Responsible for 16 male American Colonial period costumes

      1992

    • Arena Stage, Washington, DC
    • Freelance Tailor
    • Patterned 3 male outfits for Restoration comedy

      1992

    • Center Stage, Baltimore, MD
    • Menswear Tailor
    • Responsible for 12 sets of quick-change country western costumes

      1989 – 1991

    • Studio Costume Shop, New York, NY
    • Tailor
    • Responsible for suit alterations of orchestra members in LIZA at Radio City

    CONSTRUCTION/DRAPING EXPERIENCE

      1998

    • Arena Stage, Washington, DC
    • Freelance Draper
    • Patterned 4 women’s outfits for a period drama

      1991

    • Hartford Stage, Hartford, CT
    • Draper
    • Responsible for creation of multi-layered women’s clothing

      1990 – 2001

    • EuroCo Costume Shop, New York, NY
    • Draper/On-site Alterations
    • Created costume patterns for various Broadway productions and Hollywood films

      1989 – 1991

    • National Shakespeare Company, New York, NY
    • Draper/Costume Construction
    • Constructed period costumes for repertory company

    1989 – 1991

    • Studio Costume Shop, New York, NY
    • Draper
    • Duplicated original costumes for cast replacements of Broadway and touring companies

      1989 - 1990

    • Michael-Jon Costume Shop, New York, NY
    • First Hand
    • Duplicated and resized patterns for theme parks and industrials

      1989

    • Juilliard School, Costume Shop, New York, NY
    • Pattern-Maker
    • Created patterns and worked with a construction team of 3 stitchers to create costumes for dance, opera, and theater

      1986

    • Centre Stage, University Park, PA
    • Draper
    • Responsible for 8 female 1930’s cruise costumes

      1986

    • Centre Stage, University Park, PA
    • Craft Artisan
    • Responsible for 10 male fantasy costumes

    WIG STYLIST EXPERIENCE

      2000

    • Circle in the Square, New York, NY
    • Wig Stylist
    • Responsible for maintaining 9 Restoration comedy wigs

      1989 - 1991

    • Saturday Night Live, New York, NY
    • Wig Stylist
    • Responsible for styling character wigs for television

      1986

    • Centre Stage, University Park, PA
    • Wig Stylist
    • Responsible for maintaining 13 period and fantasy wigs

    MUSEUM EXPERIENCE

      1997 – Present

    • Hillwood Museum & Gardens, Washington, DC
    • Associate Curator of Costumes and Textiles
    • Conduct archival research and catalog findings
    • Coordinate preservation and display procedures
    • Present public lectures throughout the year

    MUSEUM EXHIBITIONS

    • Ingenue to Icon: 70 years of fashion from the collection of Marjorie Merrweather Post
    • June 2, 2015 – January 17, 2016
    • Hillwood Museum & Gardens, Washington, DC
    • Wedding Belles: Bridal Fashions from the Marjorie Merriweather Post Family, 1874-1958.
    • June 18, 2011 – January 16, 2012
    • Hillwood Museum & Gardens, Washington, DC
    • An Invitation to the Ball: Mrs. Post's Fancy Dress Costumes of the 1920's.
    • March 14 – July 12, 2009
    • Hillwood Museum & Gardens, Washington, DC

    PRESENTATIONS/WORKSHOPS (selected list)

    • Behind the Seams: The dress collection at Hillwood. Lecture, September 2010
    • Hillwood Estate, Museum & Gardens, Washington, DC
    • New York Luxury Department Stores. Lecture, June 2010
    • Hillwood Estate, Museum & Gardens, Washington, DC
    • Fashion Research “Post” and Present. Lecture, May 2010
    • Arts at Mason Annual Board Meeting, George Mason University, Fairfax, VA
    • The Essential Ingredients of Theater. Lecture, May 2010
    • Great Performances at Mason: Olympia Dukakis as ROSE, George Mason Univeristy, Fairfax, VA
    • Elegant French Fashions, 1900-1950. Lecture, April 2010
    • Hillwood, Estate Museum & Gardens, Washington, DC
    • All the World's a Stage: Costuming Shakespeare. Lecture, November 2009
    • Faculty Arts Board, George Mason Univeristy, VA
    • The 1950s and Oldric Royce of New York. Lecture, November 2009
    • Corcoran Masters Program, Hillwood Estate, Museum & Gardens, Washington, DC
    • The Fashions of Hillwood and the Art of Design. Lecture, July 2009
    • Westminster at Lake Ridge, Alexandria, VA
    • Masterpieces in Fabric - Art Deco Fashions of the 1920s. Lecture, June 2009
    • Hillwood Estate, Museum & Gardens, Washington, DC
    • An Invitation to the Ball. Lecture, March 2009
    • Public Exhibition Opening, Hillwood Estate, Museum & Gardens, Washington, DC
    • Mrs. Post's Dressing Style at Hillwood. Lecture, September 2008
    • Hotel Tourism & Relations Lecture, Hillwood Estate, Museum & Gardens, Washington, DC
    • Fashions of the Roaring 20s. Lecture, February 2009
    • Hillwood Estate, Museum & Gardens, Washington, DC
    • Children’s Clothing at Chautauqua. Lecture, June 2006
    • Chautauqua History Lecture Series, Chautauqua Institute, Chautauqua, NY
    • From Page to Stage. Lecture, April – May 2006
    • Osher Lifelong Learning and Arlington Learning in Retirement, Fairfax and Arlington, VA
    • The Costume Designer’s Search for Inspiration. Lecture, November 2005
    • Fenwick Fellows Fall Lecture Series, George Mason University, Fairfax, VA
    • Images of Dress at Chautauqua. Lecture, July 2005
    • Chautauqua History Lecture Series, Chautauqua Institute, Chautauqua, NY
    • Dressing in the Style of Art Deco. Lecture, August 2005
    • Hillwood Museum and Gardens, Washington, DC
    • Ready-to-wear in the U.S.A. Lecture, October 2004
    • Arlington Leaning in Retirement Institute Arlington Public Libraries, Arlington, VA
    • A Liberal Dose of Costume. Panel/Lecture, March 2004
    • United States Institute of Theater Technology, Long Beach, CA
    • Dress for Success! Lecture, October 2001
    • Hillwood Museum and Gardens, Washington, DC
    • Tech Day. Events Coordinator, August 2000
    • Educational Theatre Association, George Mason University, Fairfax VA
    • Portfolio and Resume Workshop. Workshop presenter, February 2000
    • United States Institute of Theater Technology, George Mason University, Fairfax, VA
    • Historical Threads. Costume Symposium Coordinator, May 26 - 30, 1999
    • United States Institute of Theater Technology, Washington, DC
    • Marjorie by Day, Marjorie by Night. Lecture, February – April 1997
    • Two-part lecture on fashions worn by Marjorie Merriweather Post from 1903-1967
    • Hillwood Museum and Gardens, Washington, DC
    • A Walk in the Shop, from community to Broadway. Lecture, January 1996
    • United States Institute of Theater Technology, George Mason University, Fairfax, VA
    • The Costumer. Workshop Presenter, January 1995
    • United States Institute of Theater Technology, University of Maryland, University Park, MD

    PUBLICATIONS

    • A Novel Approach to Costume Design. USITT Handbook for educators, Fall 2006
    • Costume Designer’s Guide to Historical Resources. George Mason University, 2005
    • Reflections on The Heiress, a Resource Guide. George Mason University, 2003
    • Keeping her Toes Post Toasty. Preservation, v. 53 no. 1, January/February 2003, p. 67
    • Best Foot Forward. Hillwood Post, v. 2, no. 2, Fall/Winter 2002
    • Caps Off. Dramatics, v. 70, no. 8, April 1999, p. 20-24.
    • Basic Bags. Dramatics, v. 69, no. 3, November 1977, p. 32-36.
    • In the Bag. Dramatics, v. 68, no. 2, October 1996, p. 46-48.
    • Victoria’s Other Secret. Dramatics, v. 67, no. 5 January 1996, p. 23-25.
    • Putting on the Weight. Dramatics, v. 65, no. 3, November 1993, p. 40-43.
    • A Small Price to Pay for Period Footwear. Reprinted in Dramatics, v. 63, no. 9, May 1992

    HONORS/AWARDS

      2005 – 2006

    • Little Theatre of Alexandria
    • The Pearl Mahaffey Award for Most Outstanding New Member

      2004

    • George Mason University
    • Fenwick Fellowship for Research

      2001

    • George Mason University
    • Excellence in Teaching Award

      1995

    • Washington Theatre Awards Society
    • Helen Hayes Outstanding Costume Design Award

      1995

    • American College Theatre Festival
    • Costume Design Award

      1994

    • Washington Theatre Awards Society
    • Nomination for Helen Hayes Outstanding Costume Design Award

      1993 – 1999

    • George Mason University
    • Exceptional Performance Award

      1992

    • United States Institute of Theater Technology
    • Nomination for Herb Gregg Outstanding Journal Article Award

    PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATIONS

    • United Scenic Artists, Local 829, Costume Division
    • United States Institute of Theater Technology
    • Costume Society of America
    • Victorian Society of America
  • August 25

    September 14

    September 27

    • Presenter Pre-Performance Discusssion before
    • Patti LuPone COULDA, WOULDA, SHOULDA...
    • Played That Part
    • Arts By GEORGE
    • George Mason Univeristy
    • Fairfax, VA

    October 4

    November 20-23

    January 17

    • Opening
    • Invitation to the Ball
    • Montgomery Museum of Fine Art
    • Montgomery, AL