She hasn’t taken a class with her former professor for more than a decade, but Elivia Bovenzi will be following Michael Musial’s every word when they get together this coming summer.
Professor Musial, you see, will be officiating Elivia’s wedding.
That’s both a nice little story, as well as quite the testament to the kinds of bonds that are sometimes formed at Sage.
When Elivia first arrived on campus all those years ago, she knew she wanted to major in Musical Theatre. She also knew, as well as someone that young could know, that theatre was going to be a life-long passion. And though she couldn’t have known she would one day earn an MFA at Yale, she knew she had the drive to succeed.
However, the rigor of the theatre program at Sage did, at first, gave Elivia pause. The level of education was high, she had discovered. She would to need to practice hard.
Looking back, she sees that she got it: “You have to take the time, you have to put in the work.”
Professor Musial, her mentor, was the one who kept Elivia’s eye on the prize, and her feet to the fire. “He’s the one who kicked me when I needed kicking,” she says with affection. “He was also the one who helped me harness the confidence when I needed it most. He’s the one who dug it all out of me.”
In addition to being a successful costume designer today, Elivia also teaches at Queens College, CUNY. She’s the one now doing the kicking and the confidence building.
“This can be a tough life,” she allows. “On paper, having been to Yale, working with people who’ve won Tony Awards, it sounds wonderful. And it has been wonderful. I’m thankful and wouldn’t give it up. But I’m still fighting to make my way in this business. The next job is not going to fall in my lap.”
Elivia also shares with her students a lesson she learned at Sage, usually delivered by Professor Musial: Take the time. Put in the work.
And there’s this: “There are so many different ways to get into this business. But there’s one thing that must come first. You have to love it.”