Costume Designer Carrie Robbins Dies at 81 | Playbill

Related Articles
Obituaries Costume Designer Carrie Robbins Dies at 81

The four-time Drama Desk winner was responsible for the original Broadway productions of Grease, White Christmas, Yentl, and more.

Costume designer Carrie Robbins died April 12 due to complications from COVID-19. She was 81 years old. News of her passing was confirmed by her good friend Daniel Neiden.

Personally modest, Ms. Robbins' designs were anything but unassuming. As the designer for more than 30 Broadway productions, she devised the eye-popping '50s fantasy of the original production of Grease, the shimmering gowns of Irving Berlin’s White Christmas, and the transformative menswear of Yentl, with many, many more in her arsenal.

Born in Baltimore, Maryland February 7, 1943, Ms. Robbins was an art-obsessed child, attending an arts school before marrying a surgeon (Richard D. Robbins) in 1969, the same season she as her dual Broadway debut, designing for Leda Had a Little Swan and The Time of Your Life

In addition to her iconic designs, Ms. Robbins oeuvre included the original Broadway productions of Look to the Lillies, Narrow Road to the Deep North, The Secret Affairs of Mildred Wild, Let Me Hear You Smile, Molly, Over Here!, Truckload, Happy End, Fearless Frank, Frankenstein, It Had to Be You, The First, Agnes of God, The Octette Bridge Club, The Boys of Winter, Raggedy Ann, Anna Karenina, and A Class Act.

On the revival stage, she breathed fresh life into successful revivals of The Good Woman of Setzuan, An Enemy of the People, The Crucible, The Plough and the Stars, The Iceman Cometh, The Beggar's Opera, Macbeth, and The Shadow Box. For her efforts, Ms. Robbins received two Tony nominations (for her work on Grease and Over Here!), and four Drama Desk awards for Best Costume Design in just two years (for The Beggar's Opera, Grease, Over Here!, and The Iceman Cometh).

In recent years, Ms. Robbins added playwriting and puppet design to her resume, writing several plays that drew on her husband's medical field, including Sawbones and the Diamond Eatere. At the time of her death, Ms. Robbins was writing a new play about her unique perspective as a costume designer, titled Fly on the Wall

As a teacher, she was a Master Teacher of Costume Design at NYU Tisch, where she taught for 32 years before retiring from the profession in 2004. A book of her designs, The Designs of Carrie Robbins, was published by Samuel French.

In 2012, Ms. Robbins received the Irene Sharaf Award for Sustained Excellence, an honor bestowed by the Theatre Development Fund. She was a member of the League of Professional Theatre Women and received its Ruth Morley Award, according to past president Shellen Lubin, “Because of her brilliant costume designs, and we loved her as a sister for her warmth and her support of women in theatre.”

Ms. Robbins was predeceased by her husband.

Today’s Most Popular News:

Blocking belongs
on the stage,
not on websites.

Our website is made possible by
displaying online advertisements to our visitors.

Please consider supporting us by
whitelisting with your ad blocker.
Thank you!