A graduate of Rutgers University, with degrees in both dance and psychology, Jessica Jahn danced professionally in New York City before beginning a career in design. She has had the opportunity to work with directors such as Tina Landau, Tommy Kail, Francesca Zambello, Kenny Leon, Tazewell Thompson, Leisel Tommy, Diane Paulus and Jessica Blank, as well as writers/composers Charles Fuller, Norah Ephron, Andrea Davis Pinkney, Kevin Puts, Jake Heggie, Steve Earle, Tracy K. Smith, Mark Campbell and Charles Busch.
Jessica’s interest and knowledge of movement is an underlying current in her design work. Along with this, her understanding and respect for the rehearsal process allows Jessica to work with each cast member as an individual with needs specific to themselves and their character. Known for her work in the traditional repertoire, she is also dedicated to innovative work within her field. Jessica collaborated on one of the earliest performances of Tarell Alvin McCraney’s In The Red and Brown Water, directed by Tina Landau. She designed Blue, written by Tazewell Thompson and composed by Jeanine Tesori, winner of the MCANA Award for Best New Opera, and worked with Jessica Blank, Eric Jensen and Steve Earle on The Public’s premiere of Coal Country. She was awarded both the Lucille Lortel and Drama Desk for her design of Charles Busch’s The Confession of Lily Dare.
Jessica’s dedication to racial and social justice is based on her lived experience as a Black woman, and she approaches her work through the lens of equity. Currently, she is a chair of the steering committee on Opera America’s Women’s Opera Network (WON), serves on OA’s Racial Justice Opera Network (RJON) steering committee and the OA Board’s Membership Committee. Jessica was the inaugural chair to the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) committee at the Glimmerglass Festival, as well as the lead coordinator for their equity initiatives. She finds particular enthusiasm for her work with Turn the Spotlight, the Open Stage Project and Children of Promise NYC, organizations that provide mentorships and empower young people. Jessica has taught at both NYU and Rutgers University, and is an Adjunct Costume Design Professor with Brandeis University’s Theater Arts Department. She is currently working toward her master's in cultural anthropology at Hunter College.
Some of the projects that she has collaborated on include Gloria: A Life at the Daryl Roth Theatre, Die Mommie Die! at New World Stages (winner of the Lucille Lortel Award), Once On This Island at Papermill Playhouse, One Night... at the Cherry Lane, Life Is A Dream at Santa Fe Opera, Monodramas and Mose in Egitto at New York City Opera, The Crucible at the Glimmerglass Festival, West Side Story at Lyric Opera of Chicago, The Manchurian Candidate at Minnesota Opera, Dead Man Walking at Washington National Opera, Amahl and the Night Visitors at On Site Opera, Moby-Dick at Utah Opera, Snowy Day at Houston Grand Opera, Castor and Patience at Cincinnati Opera, as well as Norma at the Gran Teatre de Liceu in Barcelona and at the Canadian Opera Company. Upcoming projects include Orfeo ed Euridice at San Francisco Opera and Blue at the Nationale Opera and Ballet in Amsterdam.
Learn more at JessicaJahn.com.