Broadway to Dim Its Lights to Honor Martin Pakledinaz

by Jacob Coakley
Martin Pakledinaz, a two-time Tony Award-winner for his costume design
Martin Pakledinaz, a two-time Tony Award-winner for his costume design

Broadway will dim its lights on Thursday, June 12 at 8:00 p.m., to honor the memory of Martin Pakledinaz, a Tony Award-winning costume designer who died Sunday, July 8 of cancer. Pakledinaz was a successful and highly regarded costume designer who was nominated for the Tony for Costume Design 10 times—including this year for his work on Nice Work If You Can Get It—and won twice (for the 1999 Kiss Me Kate revival and for Thoroughly Modern Millie in 2002). Pakledina was 58.

Originally from Sterling Heights, Michigan, Pakledinaz received his BFA from Wayne State University and an MFA from the University of Michigan before moving to New York City to work as a designer. His early work in New York was for designer Theoni V. Aldredge, before he branched out on his own and began to design for such theatres as Roundabout, the McCarter, and the New York Shakespeare Festival. He was first nominated for a Tony for his work on The Life, a 1997 musical about Times Square prostitutes.

In Playbill, Robert Simonson wrote of Pakledinaz:

He seemed particularly at home with fantastical storylines, such as those in the whimsical Millie, the Mark Twain farce Is He Dead?, the hyper-theatrical demimonde of Kiss Me, Kate, and The Life's 1970s Times Square world of pimps and streetwalkers. That said, he could be understated, as in the recent Broadway revivals of The Normal Heart and Man and Boy, Theatre for a New Audience's lauded revival of Harley Granville-Barker's Waste, and the much-awarded 2005 Signature Theatre Company revival of The Trip to Bountiful.

And in The New York Times, Paul Vitello wrote of his work with musical actress Sutton Foster:

Sutton Foster, who won a Tony Award for her performance in the title role of ‘Millie,’ said Mr. Pakledinaz’s costume designs were integral to her characterization of Millie, a small-town girl who comes to New York in the early 1920s hoping to marry a rich man. Her costumes tell her story, evolving from Kansas City high-necked Sunday-best to New York-girl-Friday attire and then to a series of progressively skimpier outfits designed for the free-spirited dancing of an ever more modern Millie, the flapper.

“My characters were defined from the fabric, the seams, the details of his work, his eye,” Ms. Foster said in a statement on Monday.