Blog Archives

This is turning into a week of loss… Arthur Laurents, giant of Broadway writers, dies at 93…

Arthur Laurents earlier this year.

He wrote the libretti to Gypsy, West Side Story, Anyone Can Whistle, Hallelujah, Baby, La Cage Au Folles and the plays Home of the Brave, The Time of the Cuckoo and The Bird Cage, among so many others.  In 1973 he wrote the screenplay for the Redford/Streisand film The Way We Were. In his very early career he wrote for radio, especially the Lux Playhouse.

Arthur Laurents was the Dean of Broadway writers, working with other greats like Jule Styne, Stephen Sondheim, Jerome Robbins and Leonard Bernstein. He was also a director of stature, often directing productions he had written.

From the NY Daily News:

His agent, Jonathan Lomma, said Laurents died “peacefully in his sleep.”

Lomma told the Los Angeles Times that Laurents upon his death wanted it noted that “he was predeceased by his partner, Tom Hatcher, with whom he had lived in happiness for more than 50 years.”

He worked right up the end of his life. In 2008 he directed the Broadway revival of Gypsy starring Patty LuPone, for which he won the Tony for Best Director of a Musical.
He died of complications from pneumonia.
This is someone who will really be missed… whose career provided so much for so many other creative people.

Theoni V. Aldredge, one of the greatest Costume Designers of the 20th Century, Dies at 88

It is always a landmark for me when a theatre great passes on, and reading in this morning’s NY Times that costume designer Theoni V. Aldredge had died in Connecticut three days ago. struck me as one such landmark.

Aldredge won three Tony Awards for Costuming: Annie in 1977,  Barnum in 1980 and La Cage aux Folles in 1987. She was nominated for Tonys 12 other times, most recently in 2006 for the revival of Follies.

Aldredge was born Theoni Athanasiou Vashlioti in 1932 in Salonika, Greece (which, oddly enough, is where my relatives on my Father’s side come from). She acquired her last name in 1953 when she married actor Tom Aldredge, who she remained with for the rest of her life.

She often worked for Joe Papp at the Public Theater and, when Papp brought his big pieces to Broadway, like Two Gentlemen Of Verona in the 1970s, it was Theoni Aldredge who costumed the huge cast. Aldredge was known for beautiful designs that took large budgets to create… surprising since she did so much non-profit work for Papp.

In films, she won three Oscars and had five other nominations. Her films included Ghostbusters, Network, Moonstruck and Addams Family Values – indicative of the range of styles she commanded.

In 1985 she designed both costumes and environment for Akyvernites politeis, a television series in Greece.