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Repertory Archive

Theoni V. Aldredge


Biography

With over 150 stage productions, numerous ballets and several films to her credit, Theoni V. Aldredge ranks as one of the most prolific and successful costume designers of the late 20th century.  Born and raised in Greece, Aldredge was inspired to become a costumer after seeing the film version of Caesar and Cleopatra in 1946.  Moving to the United States, she trained at the Goodman Theatre School where she made her debut with The Distaff Side (1950).  In 1953, she married actor Tom Aldredge and the couple settled in New York.  After debuting in films with Girl of the Night (1960), Aldredge began her long association as one of the resident designers at Joseph Papp’s New York Shakespeare Festival with a 1961 production of Much Ado About Nothing.  Over the next three decades at the NYSF, she crafted the appropriate clothing for many Shakespearean productions, including the acclaimed Edwardian-set Much Ado About Nothing in 1973, and revivals, Threepenny Opera (1977), as well as the landmark musicals Hair (1967) and A Chorus Line (1975).

In 1974, producer David Merrick asked Aldredge to create the lavish, beautiful 1920s wardrobe for the film version of The Great Gatsby.  Douglas Slocombe’s pristine cinematography captured Aldredge’s  ravishing designs and the Academy took note by bestowing that year’s Best Costume Design Oscar on her.  Three years later, Broadway honored Aldredge for her stage work, presenting her with the 1977 Tony Award for her witty 1940s wardrobe featured in the musical Annie.  She continued to design extraordinary designs for several of Broadway’s most popular shows, including Barnum (1980), 42nd Street produced by Merrick (1981), Dreamgirls (1982), La Cage aux Folles (1984) and The Secret Garden (1991).

Onscreen, Aldredge dressed Faye Dunaway and her co-stars in such films as Network (1976), The Eyes of Laura Mars (1978) and The Champ (1979).

John Huston asked her to revisit her award-winning designs for the film version of Annie (1982).  Cher wore clothing designed by Aldredge in her Oscar-winning Moonstruck (1987), as did Jessica Lange in Night and the City (1992) and the 1995 remake of A Streetcar Named Desire.  She also designed costumes for the film The Rage: Carrie 2 and the stage revival of Gore Vidal’s The Best Man (2000).  In 1990, Aldredge was inducted into the Theatre Hall of Fame in the Gershwin Theatre in New York.

For American Ballet Theatre, Aldredge has designed costumes for Hamlet Connotations (1976), La Bayadère (1980), La Sonnambula (1981), Interludes, Paquita and Symphonie Concertante (1983), Amnon V’Tamar (1984) and Theme and Variations (1986).  She died in January 2011 aged 88.