Theater Archives - StoryCorps

As The Curtain Goes Up —Two Performers Remember “Phantom’s” Beloved Costume Dresser

Phantom of the Opera had its Broadway premiere in 1988, at the Majestic Theatre. Not long after its opening, Jennifer Arnold would become a permanent fixture on the crew, working as a costume dresser for over thirty years. 

Jennifer Arnold, courtesy of Janet Saia.

Jen embodied the spirit of the theater world, with a quirky sense of style and an enigmatic spark. She was also known for creating intricate matchboxes with photos and glitter, giving them as gifts to members of the cast and crew. Each one, intentionally designed for the person.

Janet Saia’s collection of matchboxes gifted to her by Jennifer Arnold. Courtesy of Janet Saia.

When the COVID-19 Pandemic shut down Broadway, the theaters closed their doors. Within a matter of weeks, Jen would pass away. 

Kelly Jeanne Grant and Janet Saia are two performers for the show. They came to StoryCorps as the show reopened in 2021 to remember their friend, and the impact she had on their lives.

Janet Saia and Kelly Grant in costume backstage at the Majestic Theatre in January of 2016. Courtesy of Janet Saia. 
Top Photo: From left to right, Kelly Jeanne Grant, Jennifer Arnold, and Janet Saia in New York in 2016. Courtesy of Janet Saia.

Originally aired October 22nd, 2021 on NPR’s Morning Edition.