Patricia Zipprodt, Designer Who Draped Tevye, Charity and Emcee, Dead at 74

Obituaries   Patricia Zipprodt, Designer Who Draped Tevye, Charity and Emcee, Dead at 74
 
Patricia Zipprodt, the Tony Award-winning designer who created the "look" for Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof, the pointillistic characters in Sunday in the Park With George, and the seedy denizens of the original Cabaret, died July 17 in New York City.

Patricia Zipprodt, the Tony Award-winning designer who created the "look" for Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof, the pointillistic characters in Sunday in the Park With George, and the seedy denizens of the original Cabaret, died July 17 in New York City.

The cause was cancer, Ms. Zipprodt's sister, Constance Zonka, told The New York Times. Ms. Zipprodt was 74.

Among a clutch of Tony Award nominations, Ms. Zipprodt won three, for her designs of Fiddler on the Roof, Cabaret and Sweet Charity. She also designed for ballet, opera (the Met's Tannhauser in 1977) and film ("The Graduate").

Among her theatre credits are The Washington, DC, Shakespeare Theatre's The School for Scandal, Guthrie Theatre's The Bacchae, Off Broadway's The Blacks and The Balcony, Broadway's My Fair Lady (with Richard Chamberlain), Macbeth (with Christopher Plummer and Glenda Jackson), My Favorite Year, Shogun: The Musical, Pippin, Big Deal, Chicago (1975), King of Hearts, Mack and Mabel, 1776, She Loves Me, Plaza Suite and Zorba.

Born in the Chicago area, she attended Wellesley College and earned a sociology degree, but moved to New York to study painting. There, she fell in love with the visual elements of ballet and theatre. She studied at the Fashion Institute of Technology and apprenticed with couturier Charles James. Ms. Zipprodt became a designer for the landmark Off-Broadway companies Circle in the Square Theatre and Phoenix Theatre in the 1950s and '60s. Her work there caught the eye of producer Harold Prince and the director choreographer Jerome Robbins. A major career in American theatre design followed: She designed Robbins' staging of Oh Dad, Poor Dad (1962) and Fiddler (1964), as well as Prince's Cabaret in 1966.

Ms. Zipprodt was inducted into the Theatre Hall of Fame in 1992. She was predeceased by her husband, Col. Robert E. O'Brien. She is survived by sister Constance and six nieces and nephews.

Services are July 24 in Upperville, VA. A public memorial will be announced.

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