Broadway costume designer Aldredge dies

Iconic designs included "A Chorus Line," "Dreamgirls"

Theoni V. Aldredge, the venerable Broadway costumes designer whose work earned her three Tonys and an Oscar, died Friday at a hospice in Connecticut. She was 78.

Aldredge’s wide range of memorable costumes include those for “Annie” in 1977, “Barnum” in 1980 and “La Cage aux Folles” in 1984 — the three shows for which she scored a Tony — as well as those for “A Chorus Line,” “Dreamgirls” and “42nd Street.” Besides her three wins, she also was nominated for a Tony 11 other times.

She won the Oscar in 1975 for the screen adaptation “The Great Gatsby” that starred Robert Redford and Mia Farrow. “The Eyes of Laura Mars,” “Ghostbusters,” “Moonstruck” and “The First Wives Club” also were among her film credits.

She also designed outfits for ballet, opera and TV.

The Greek-American Aldredge was born Theoni Vachlioti on Aug. 22, 1932 in Macedonia, to a father who was a member of the Greek parliament and a mother who died when Aldredge was four. She and her three brothers were raised in Athens, where she attended the American Girls College, and at 17 she moved to Chicago to study at the Goodman School of Drama.

Her first big break came when Geraldine Page, who saw Aldredge’s work in one early production, convinced Elia Kazan to commission the actress’ costumes from the then-unknown designer. Aldredge’s first Main Stem gig was designing Page’s costumes for the 1959 Broadway bow of “Sweet Bird of Youth.”

Soon thereafter Joseph Papp tapped Aldredge to become the resident designer at the Public Theater, a role she would fill for some 20 years. It was while she was at the Public that she created the costumes for the original production of “A Chorus Line” — designs that were reprised for the 2006 revival.

For a time her Broadway activity was so constant that in 1984, there were five concurrent shows on the Main Stem designed by Aldredge, totalling more than 1,000 individual costumes.

In 2002 she won the Theater Development Fund’s Irene Sharaff Lifetime Achievement Award.

Aldredge is survived by her husband, Tom Aldredge.