Theoni V. Aldredge

Designer
Theoni V. Aldredge

Also known as: Theoni Vachlioti Aldredge

Female

Born: August 22, 1922
Salonika, Greece

Died: January 21, 2011
Stamford, Connecticut

Obituary: Theoni V. Aldredge, the three-time Tony Award-winning costume designer, died Jan. 21 2011 in a Stamford, CT, hospital after an illness, her husband actor Tom Aldredge announced.

Ms. Aldredge, 88, worked on everything from Shakespeare to Sondheim, but was best known for her designs for musicals. She won Tony Awards for her costumes for the original Broadway productions of Annie, Barnum and La Cage aux Folles. She was Tony-nominated a total of 15 times, and created iconic costumes for such shows as A Chorus Line, Dreamgirls and 42nd Street. She was called on to recreate her simple, yet memorable work for A Chorus Line when the musical was revived in 2006. It was her final Broadway credit.

She was born Theoni Athanasiou Vachlioti on Aug. 22, 1922, in Salonika, Greece, and, despite spending the majority of her life in the U.S., never quite lost her accent. Her mother died when she was five; her father was active in Greek politics and encouraged her to travel. She was educated at the American School in Athens and then went to the Goodman Theatre in Chicago, to which she won a scholarship to study design. There she met actress Geraldine Page, who told her to look her up when she came to New York.

Ms. Aldredge did, and Page remembered her. The designer's first of more than 100 Broadway jobs was creating the costumes for Page in 1959 premiere of Tennessee Williams' Sweet Bird of Youth. In the next few years, she worked on a long-running comedy, Mary, Mary, the Gore Vidal drama The Best Man and the musical I Can Get It For You Wholesale, which introduced theatregoers to Barbra Streisand. She garbed the actors in the original productions of Any Wednesday, Anyone Can Whistle, Luv, Cactus Flower, A Delicate Balance, Annie, Woman of the Year, The Secret Garden and Barnum.

She frequently worked for producer Joe Papp, where she was the principal designer for more than 20 years. ''Papp made me learn my craft, whether I liked it or not,'' she told the New York Times in 2001. ''He paid me $80 a week. I'd say, 'Joe, that's not enough for my cigarettes.' He'd say, 'You have to stop smoking.' ''

She designed costumes for the landmark premieres of Sticks and Bones, That Championship Season, the musical Two Gentleman of Verona, Short Eyes, and, most famously, A Chorus Line, which began at the New York Shakespeare Festival before transferring to Broadway for a long run. That show also resulted in a long collaboration with director-choreographer Michael Bennett, whose Ballroom and Dreamgirls she worked on. Her showy creations for the Dreamgirls cast were among her most remarkable. Critic Stanley Kauffmann called them "tropical foliage gone artfully insane."

Ms. Aldredge was known for the large budgets her opulent costumes often required, and in recent years she bemoaned the limitations that shrinking funds and rehearsal schedules placed on her art.

According to fellow costume designer, Martin Pakledinaz, she did not possess a big ego and was press shy. "People didn't always realize the scope of her work on Broadway plays and musicals, which I think changed design on Broadway," said Pakledinaz. "Then, she also had an amazing ability to design for movies as diverse at 'Network,' 'The Great Gatsby' and 'Ghostbusters.' But I must admit what she taught me most was respect for actors. She loved actors."

She won Drama Desk Awards for Outstanding Costume Design for a 1970 production of Peer Gynt, a 1973 Much Ado About Nothing for the NYSF, Annie, 42nd Street, La Cage Aux Folles and Two Gentleman of Verona. She won an Irene Sharaff Lifetime Achievement Award in 2002. Also active in film, she received an Oscar for her work on the 1974 film "The Great Gatsby." Her designs for the movie were adapted for a clothing line sold at Bloomingdale's. Subsequent movie work included "Network," "The Rose," "Annie," "Ghostbusters," "Moonstruck," "Addams Family Values," and "The First Wives Club."

She is survived by her husband. There will be no services. Ms. Aldredge's ashes will be flown to Greece. A family spokesman initially reported Ms. Aldredge's age as 78; this was later corrected to 88.

Playbill.com looks back at Aldredge's work:

[flipbook]

 

Roles

Playbill Cover - A Chorus Line A Chorus Line
Oct. 5, 2006 - Aug. 17, 2008
Costume Design
(Original)
Who's Who
Playbill Cover - Follies Follies
Apr. 5, 2001 - Jul. 14, 2001
Costume Design
(Original)
Who's Who
Playbill Cover - The Best Man The Best Man
Sep. 17, 2000 - Dec. 31, 2000
Costume Design
(Original)
Who's Who
Playbill Cover - Annie Annie
Mar. 26, 1997 - Oct. 19, 1997
Costume Design
(Original)
Who's Who
Playbill Cover - The Three Sisters The Three Sisters
Feb. 13, 1997 - Apr. 6, 1997
Costume Design
(Original)
Who's Who
Playbill Cover - Taking Sides Taking Sides
Oct. 17, 1996 - Dec. 29, 1996
Costume Design
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - The School for Scandal The School for Scandal
Nov. 19, 1995 - Dec. 17, 1995
Costume Design
(Original)
Who's Who
Playbill Cover - The Flowering Peach The Flowering Peach
Mar. 20, 1994 - Apr. 24, 1994
Costume Design
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - The High Rollers Social and Pleasure Club The High Rollers Social and Pleasure Club
Apr. 21, 1992 - May 2, 1992
Costume Design
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - Nick & Nora Nick & Nora
Dec. 8, 1991 - Dec. 15, 1991
Costume Design
(Original)
Who's Who
Playbill Cover - The Secret Garden The Secret Garden
Apr. 25, 1991 - Jan. 3, 1993
Costume Design
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - Oh, Kay! Oh, Kay!
Nov. 1, 1990 - Apr. 14, 1991
Costume Design
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - Gypsy Gypsy
Nov. 16, 1989 - Jul. 28, 1991
Costume Design
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - Chess Chess
Apr. 28, 1988 - Jun. 25, 1988
Costume Design
(Original)
Who's Who
Playbill Cover - Teddy & Alice Teddy & Alice
Nov. 12, 1987 - Jan. 17, 1988
Costume Design
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - Dreamgirls Dreamgirls
Jun. 28, 1987 - Nov. 29, 1987
Costume Design
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - Blithe Spirit Blithe Spirit
Mar. 31, 1987 - Jun. 28, 1987
Costume Design
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - The Rink The Rink
Feb. 9, 1984 - Aug. 4, 1984
Costume Design
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - The Corn Is Green The Corn Is Green
Aug. 22, 1983 - Sep. 18, 1983
Costume Design
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - La Cage aux Folles La Cage aux Folles
Aug. 21, 1983 - Nov. 15, 1987
Costume Design
(Original)
Who's Who
Playbill Cover - Private Lives Private Lives
May 8, 1983 - Jul. 17, 1983
Costume Design
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - Merlin Merlin
Feb. 13, 1983 - Aug. 7, 1983
Costume Design
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - A Little Family Business A Little Family Business
Dec. 15, 1982 - Dec. 26, 1982
Costume Design
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - Ghosts Ghosts
Aug. 30, 1982 - Oct. 2, 1982
Costume Design
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - Dreamgirls Dreamgirls
Dec. 20, 1981 - Aug. 11, 1985
Costume Design
(Original)
Who's Who
Playbill Cover - Woman of the Year Woman of the Year
Mar. 29, 1981 - Mar. 13, 1983
Costume Design
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - Onward Victoria Onward Victoria
Dec. 14, 1980 - Dec. 14, 1980
Costume Design
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - 42nd Street 42nd Street
Aug. 25, 1980 - Jan. 8, 1989
Costume Design
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - Barnum Barnum
Apr. 30, 1980 - May 16, 1982
Costume Design
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - Clothes for a Summer Hotel Clothes for a Summer Hotel
Mar. 26, 1980 - Apr. 6, 1980
Costume Design
(Original)
 
The Madwoman of Central Park West
Jun. 13, 1979 - Aug. 25, 1979
Costume Design
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - I Remember Mama I Remember Mama
May 31, 1979 - Sep. 2, 1979
Costume Design
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - Break a Leg Break a Leg
Apr. 29, 1979 - Apr. 29, 1979
Costume Design
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - The Grand Tour The Grand Tour
Jan. 11, 1979 - Mar. 4, 1979
Costume Design
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - Ballroom Ballroom
Dec. 14, 1978 - Mar. 24, 1979
Costume Design
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - Annie Annie
Apr. 21, 1977 - Jan. 2, 1983
Costume Design
(Original)
Who's Who
Playbill Cover - The Eccentricities of a Nightingale The Eccentricities of a Nightingale
Nov. 23, 1976 - Dec. 12, 1976
Costume Design
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - Threepenny Opera Threepenny Opera
May 1, 1976 - Jan. 23, 1977
Costume Design
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - The Belle of Amherst The Belle of Amherst
Apr. 28, 1976 - Aug. 8, 1976
Costume Design
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - Mrs. Warren's Profession Mrs. Warren's Profession
Feb. 18, 1976 - Apr. 4, 1976
Costume Design
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - Trelawny of the Trelawny of the "Wells"
Oct. 15, 1975 - Nov. 23, 1975
Costume Design
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - A Chorus Line A Chorus Line
Jul. 25, 1975 - Apr. 28, 1990
Costume Design
(Original)
Who's Who
Playbill Cover - Little Black Sheep Little Black Sheep
May 7, 1975 - Jun. 1, 1975
Costume Design
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - A Doll's House A Doll's House
Mar. 5, 1975 - Apr. 20, 1975
Costume Design
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - In Praise of Love In Praise of Love
Dec. 10, 1974 - May 31, 1975
Costume Design
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - Mert & Phil Mert & Phil
Oct. 30, 1974 - Dec. 8, 1974
Costume Design
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - An American Millionaire An American Millionaire
Apr. 20, 1974 - May 5, 1974
Costume Design
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - Dance of Death Dance of Death
Apr. 4, 1974 - May 5, 1974
Costume Design
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - The Au Pair Man The Au Pair Man
Dec. 27, 1973 - Jan. 27, 1974
Costume Design
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - Find Your Way Home Find Your Way Home
Dec. 13, 1973 - May 4, 1974
Costume Design
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - Boom Boom Room Boom Boom Room
Nov. 8, 1973 - Dec. 9, 1973
Costume Design
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - Nash at Nine Nash at Nine
May 17, 1973 - Jun. 2, 1973
Costume Design
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - No Hard Feelings No Hard Feelings
Apr. 8, 1973 - Apr. 8, 1973
Costume Design
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - Much Ado About Nothing Much Ado About Nothing
Nov. 11, 1972 - Feb. 11, 1973
Costume Design
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - That Championship Season That Championship Season
Sep. 14, 1972 - Apr. 21, 1974
Costume Design
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - Voices Voices
Apr. 3, 1972 - Apr. 8, 1972
Costume Design
(Original)
Who's Who
Playbill Cover - Sticks and Bones Sticks and Bones
Mar. 1, 1972 - Oct. 1, 1972
Costume Design
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - The Sign in Sidney Brustein's Window The Sign in Sidney Brustein's Window
Jan. 26, 1972 - Jan. 29, 1972
Costume Design
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - Two Gentlemen of Verona Two Gentlemen of Verona
Dec. 1, 1971 - May 20, 1973
Costume Design
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - The Incomparable Max The Incomparable Max
Oct. 19, 1971 - Nov. 6, 1971
Costume Design
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - The Gingham Dog The Gingham Dog
Apr. 23, 1969 - Apr. 26, 1969
Costume Design
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - Billy Billy
Mar. 22, 1969 - Mar. 22, 1969
Costume Design
(Original)
 
King Lear
Nov. 7, 1968 - Feb. 12, 1969
Costume Design
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - The Only Game in Town The Only Game in Town
May 20, 1968 - Jun. 1, 1968
Costume Design
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - Weekend Weekend
Mar. 13, 1968 - Mar. 30, 1968
Costume Design
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - Portrait of a Queen Portrait of a Queen
Feb. 28, 1968 - Apr. 20, 1968
Costume Design
(Original)
 
I Never Sang for My Father
Jan. 25, 1968 - May 11, 1968
Costume Design
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - Before You Go Before You Go
Jan. 11, 1968 - Feb. 3, 1968
Costume Design
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - The Trial of Lee Harvey Oswald The Trial of Lee Harvey Oswald
Nov. 5, 1967 - Nov. 11, 1967
Costume Design
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - Daphne in Cottage D Daphne in Cottage D
Oct. 15, 1967 - Nov. 18, 1967
Costume Design
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - Little Murders Little Murders
Apr. 25, 1967 - Apr. 29, 1967
Costume Design
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - Illya Darling Illya Darling
Apr. 11, 1967 - Jan. 13, 1968
Costume Design
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - That Summer - That Fall That Summer - That Fall
Mar. 16, 1967 - Mar. 25, 1967
Costume Design
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - You Know I Can't Hear You When the Water's Running You Know I Can't Hear You When the Water's Running
Mar. 13, 1967 - Jan. 4, 1969
Costume Design
(Original)
 
    Costume Design
(Original)
 
    Costume Design
(Original)
 
    Costume Design
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - A Delicate Balance A Delicate Balance
Sep. 22, 1966 - Jan. 14, 1967
Costume Design
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - A Time for Singing A Time for Singing
May 21, 1966 - Jun. 25, 1966
Costume Design
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - Happily Never After Happily Never After
Mar. 10, 1966 - Mar. 12, 1966
Costume Design
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - First One Asleep, Whistle First One Asleep, Whistle
Feb. 26, 1966 - Feb. 26, 1966
Costume Design
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - UTBU UTBU
Jan. 4, 1966 - Jan. 8, 1966
Costume Design
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - Cactus Flower Cactus Flower
Dec. 8, 1965 - Nov. 23, 1968
Costume Design
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - The Playroom The Playroom
Dec. 5, 1965 - Jan. 1, 1966
Costume Design
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - Skyscraper Skyscraper
Nov. 13, 1965 - Jun. 11, 1966
Costume Design
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - Minor Miracle Minor Miracle
Oct. 7, 1965 - Oct. 9, 1965
Costume Design
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - Ready When You Are, C.B.! Ready When You Are, C.B.!
Dec. 7, 1964 - Feb. 13, 1965
Costume Design
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - Poor Richard Poor Richard
Dec. 2, 1964 - Mar. 13, 1965
Costume Design
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - P.S. I Love You P.S. I Love You
Nov. 19, 1964 - Nov. 28, 1964
Miss Page's Clothing Design
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - Luv Luv
Nov. 11, 1964 - Jan. 7, 1967
Costume Design
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - The Three Sisters The Three Sisters
Jun. 22, 1964 - Oct. 3, 1964
Costume Design
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - Anyone Can Whistle Anyone Can Whistle
Apr. 4, 1964 - Apr. 11, 1964
Costume Design
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - Any Wednesday Any Wednesday
Feb. 18, 1964 - Jun. 26, 1966
Costume Design
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - Strange Interlude Strange Interlude
Mar. 11, 1963 - Jun. 29, 1963
Miss Page's Costume Design
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - Tchin-Tchin Tchin-Tchin
Oct. 25, 1962 - May 18, 1963
Costume Design
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - Mr. President Mr. President
Oct. 20, 1962 - Jun. 8, 1963
Costume Design
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - I Can Get It for You Wholesale I Can Get It for You Wholesale
Mar. 22, 1962 - Dec. 8, 1962
Costume Design
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - First Love First Love
Dec. 25, 1961 - Jan. 13, 1962
Costume Design
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - The Devil's Advocate The Devil's Advocate
Mar. 9, 1961 - Jun. 17, 1961
Costume Design
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - Mary, Mary Mary, Mary
Mar. 8, 1961 - Dec. 12, 1964
Costume Design
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - The Best Man The Best Man
Mar. 31, 1960 - Jul. 8, 1961
Costume Design
(Original)
 
A Distant Bell
Jan. 13, 1960 - Jan. 16, 1960
Costume Design
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - Silent Night, Lonely Night Silent Night, Lonely Night
Dec. 3, 1959 - Mar. 19, 1960
Costume Design
(Original)
 
Flowering Cherry
Oct. 21, 1959 - Oct. 24, 1959
Costume Design
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - The Nervous Set The Nervous Set
May 12, 1959 - May 30, 1959
Costume Design
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - Sweet Bird of Youth Sweet Bird of Youth
Mar. 10, 1959 - Jan. 30, 1960
Costumes for Miss Page created by
(Original)
 
 

Inside the Playbill (20)

See more Who's Who

Awards


Drama Desk Award

Year Category Production Winner/Nominee
1984 Outstanding Costume Design La Cage aux Folles Winner
1982 Outstanding Costume Design Dreamgirls Nominee
1981 Outstanding Costume Design 42nd Street Winner
1981 Outstanding Costume Design Onward Victoria Winner
1979 Outstanding Costume Design Ballroom Nominee
1977 Outstanding Costume Design Annie Winner
1976 Outstanding Costume Design Trelawny of the "Wells" Nominee
1973 Outstanding Costume Design Much Ado About Nothing Winner
1972 Outstanding Costume Design Two Gentlemen of Verona Winner
1970 Outstanding Costume Design Peer Gynt Winner

Outer Critics Circle

Year Category Production Winner/Nominee
2001 Outstanding Costume Design Follies Nominee
1984 Outstanding Costume Design La Cage aux Folles Winner
1976 Outstanding Costume Design Winner

Tony Award

Year Category Production Winner/Nominee
2001 Costume Design (Play or Musical) Follies Nominee
1991 Costume Design (Play or Musical) The Secret Garden Nominee
1990 Costume Design (Play or Musical) Gypsy Nominee
1984 Costume Design (Play or Musical) La Cage aux Folles Winner
1982 Costume Design (Play or Musical) Dreamgirls Nominee
1981 Costume Design (Play or Musical) 42nd Street Nominee
1980 Costume Design (Play or Musical) Barnum Winner
1979 Costume Design (Play or Musical) Ballroom Nominee
1977 Costume Design (Play or Musical) Threepenny Opera Nominee
1977 Costume Design (Play or Musical) Annie Winner
1976 Costume Design (Play or Musical) A Chorus Line Nominee
1974 Costume Design (Play or Musical) The Au Pair Man Nominee
1973 Costume Design (Play or Musical) Much Ado About Nothing Nominee
1972 Costume Design (Play or Musical) Two Gentlemen of Verona Nominee
1961 Costume Design of a Play The Devil's Advocate Nominee
 
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