Costume Designer Florence Klotz to Receive 2002 Patricia Zipprodt Award
During a recent TheaterMania interview, Klotz declined to name a favorite among the shows she worked on, likening that to naming a favorite among one's children. "They all were wonderful challenges and they were all very different," she says. "After I did Follies and won a Tony, I didn't think I could do anymore. Then Hal Prince handed me A Little Night Music. I was frightened, but I did it -- and I won another Tony."
For many theatergoers, Follies was Klotz's supreme achievement. "Everyone remembers that show, and it was more than 30 years ago," she says. "I think Hal did a super job. The show was way ahead of its time. Most people didn't understand it, but those that did understand went back to see it 10, 12, 20 times. I wish the costumes still existed; Hal wanted to do a movie version of the show, so we put them in storage at 20th Century Fox -- but, somehow, they all disappeared. Actually, when I was out in L.A. doing another show, we needed to have some costumes on stage on a rack. They brought out some stuff and, among it, I found the cape that I had made for Alexis Smith to wear in Follies. It was amazing!"
Klotz credits much of the success of her designs to the inspiration of terrific material and talented colleagues. "Those were great musicals," she says. "I was very, very fortunate, and I appreciate being where I was at the right time. I don't think I could stand working on any of the stuff today, I'm sorry to say." Her most recent work was for the Hal Prince revival of Show Boat. "That had 585 costumes," she says with awe in her voice, "and the time period ranged from 1896 to 1926, so I had to do a lot of research. I don't know how they could afford to do a show like that; the laundry bill alone must have been astronomical!"
The Patricia Zipprodt Award is named for the late, highly respected costume designer whose myriad Broadway credits included such classic shows as Fiddler on the Roof, Cabaret, and Sweet Charity. "Pat and I grew up together, and we remained very good friends," says Klotz. "We never lost track of each other. I spoke to her about a week before she died. She was a wonderful designer and a wonderful person."