Nelia Riccetti-Schubert, longtime costumer, dies at 91
Jean Wolf (left) & Nelia Riccetti-Schubert.
Nelia Riccetti-Schubert, who worked in the SI theatre department designing and making costumes for 63 shows spanning two decades, died Nov. 13 at the age of 91.
“Nelia designed the most beautiful costumes for our shows,” said former SI director Peter Devine ’66. “I was blessed with two great costumers during my time as director: Jean Wolf from 1973 to 1979 and then Nelia Shubert from 1980 through 1999. Mrs. Schubert started with My Fair Lady in 1980 before designing for Cabaret, Cyrano de Bergerac, Mack and Mabel, Camelot, Nicholas Nickelby, Elephant Man, The Secret Garden, Evita and South Pacific. She continued all the way through Man of La Mancha.”
Mrs. Schubert was, according to Devine, “a special gift in my life. She had so much joy, passion and love for the children. She always wanted them to love their costumes, so sometimes she would make another costume if she sensed someone was not happy with one. She gave special attention to details and the extra touches that made her work so magnificent. For My Fair Lady, she personally sewed every Ascot costume, fashioned every lady’s hat, and made an entire other set of elegant gowns for the embassy ball sequence for a cast of 75. She designed and sewed every single costume for Camelot’s cast of 80.”
Devine also praised Mrs. Schubert’s wisdom. “She often would alert me to children who were going through particularly difficult times because she would listen to their sorrows with great compassion. She always took some of the sewing home with her. Off she would drive in her scooter with bags filled with material for costumes that she would stay up until the late hours fashioning.”
Meredith Cecchin Galvin ’97, SI’s dance instructor who wore many of Mrs. Schubert’s costumes while an actor at SI, also recalled how she “dressed us all with love and care. I recall her notes on boxes in a mixture of Italian and English and what a sweet woman she was.”
She is survived by her son, Sergio Schubert ’81, who noted that his mother “loved her time working at SI and with the Loyola Guild more than anyone will ever truly comprehend.”
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