Irene Bunis, a wardrobe supervisor who worked behind the scenes on many a Broadway show, died on July 21 in New York City, the public relations firm Boneau/Bryan-Brown reported.
Ms. Bunis’ realm was one of those unseen occupations largely unknown to the theatergoing public. Put simply, she was in charge of seeing to the well-being of every stitch of clothing worn by the cast of whatever show she was assigned to. Her duties ranged from washing and drying to sewing and mending.
She began working on Broadway productions in 1980. Early productions included La Cage aux Folles, Legs Diamond, Peter Brooks’ staging of The Cherry Orchard and Annie 2. Her credits would go on to include Shogun the Musical, I Hate Hamlet, The Chairs, M. Butterfly, Nick & Nora, Crazy For You, Meet Me in St. Louis, Best Little Whorehouse Goes Public, Sunset Boulevard, The Capeman, the 1999 revival of Annie Get Your Gun, Breakfast at Tiffany’s and Mamma Mia!, as well as national tours and regional productions of Whistle Down the Wind, La Cage aux Folles and Sunset Boulevard.
Over the years, Ms. Bunis guarded the structural integrity of the sartorial works of famed costume designers such as Theoni V. Aldredge, Colleen Atwood, Bob Crowley, A. Christina Giannini, Willa Kim, Florence Klotz, William Ivey Long, Bob Mackie, Chloe Obolensky, Anthony Powell, Ann Roth and Mark Thompson.
She first worked on the Tony Awards in 1992 and served as the wardrobe supervisor for the broadcast from 1995 to 2015.
Ms. Bunis was a graduate of SUNY Brockport. She started her career in the wardrobe department of the Jose Limon Dance company and subsequently worked with the Dance Theater Foundation, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre and the Metropolitan Opera.
She joined the Theatrical Wardrobe Union Local 764 in 1981.
The Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, Easter Bonnet Competition, a major industry charitable fund-raiser, was started by the wardrobe department and chorus of La Cage Aux Folles, when she was the assistant wardrobe supervisor on the show.
She is survived by her husband Barry Gelda, her children Michelle and Samuel Gelda, and her brother, Harvey Bunis, and sister, Sobyl Bunis.
A memorial service is being planned for the near future.