Freddy Wittop, the costume designer “… who dressed hordes of Broadway actors, Latin Quarter nightclub dancers and Parisian showgirls…,” is celebrated in a new exhibit featuring two galleries of his artwork.
“Not one for easy compliments, David Merrick, the producer of ”Hello, Dolly!,” wired Mr. Wittop on opening night, saying, ”Freddy, you are the greatest costume designer in the world,'” according to the New York Times in its obituary.
The red-sequined gown with flamboyant headdress, worn during the title number of Hello Dolly!, welcomes visitors to the Hargrett Gallery of the Richard B. Russell Building Special Collections Libraries to see Wittop’s original designs, playbills, and notebook with sketches and swatches. The exhibit is up through Dec. 23.
Hello Dolly! swept the Tony Awards in 1964 winning awards in 10 categories, including Freddy Wittop for best costume designer.
“After winning the Tony for ”Hello, Dolly!,” Mr. Wittop was nominated five additional times for best costume design for ”The Roar of the Greasepaint — the Smell of the Crowd,” with Anthony Newley; ”I Do! I Do!,” with Mary Martin and Robert Preston; ”The Happy Time,” with Robert Goulet; ”A Patriot for Me”; and ”Lovely Ladies, Kind Gentlemen,” the New York Times said.
After formally retiring in 1986, Mr. Wittop joined the school of drama at the University of Georgia as an adjunct professor.
The exhibit also features his successful 8-year career as a Spanish dancer, including costumes he designed for the troupe.
In 2001, Wittop died at the age of 89 in Atlantis, Florida. He had just been chosen as the 2001 recipient of the Theatre Development Fund’s Irene Sharaff Award for “lifetime achievement in theatrical costume design.”