Like the U.S. Postal Service, Broadway isn’t about to be slowed down by one wicked winter. And while most theatergoers make no qualms about dressing down, actresses are more inclined to at least try to keep up appearances.
Three leading ladies — Judith Light, Linda Lavin and Michele Pawk — mapped out their tricks to staying warm and stylish now that snow seems to be a recurring weather forecast. Maybe their resourcefulness is linked to Broadway’s first-week banner ticket sales last month — $35 million — despite wintery conditions. Or it could just come down to competition, plain and simple, what with the accident-prone production of “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark” making news left and right, and Vanessa Redgrave of “Driving Miss Daisy” wooing fans in spinster dresses. Further upping the ante in the costume department is 75-year-old Brian Bedford, whose portrayal of Lady Bracknell is amusing crowds at “The Importance of Being Earnest,” which he also directs.
Whatever their incentive may be, this trio isn’t about to let inclement weather or age wipe out its fashion sense.
Judith Light, 61
“Lombardi” at Circle in the Square Theatre.
In Character: One sophisticated shopper — silk shantung-lined dresses and a fake fur coat that looks as real as they come are among the “Mad Men”-type wardrobe staples that make up her five ensembles. Three-time Tony nominee costume designer Paul Tazewell made each item.
Offstage: Katherine Hepburn-inspired wide-leg wool trousers, designer or private label cashmere sweaters, shearling coat, a little wool cap and a scarf made by her pal John Glover. Little sequin tops from J. Crew or Gap for nights on the town.
Preferred Transport: Walking. “I love getting my blood going. I will go over my lines. I can talk to my agent if I need to.”
After the Show: Out with friends or the guys from the cast to Sardi’s, Bar Centrale (above Joe Allen), The Lambs Club or The Palm. “Sometimes I just come home and get into the tub. At night, I don’t do e-mail, I don’t call people, I just stop.”
Energy Boost: Eight shows a week calls for meditation, yoga, eating well and Reiki.
VIP Visitors: Tom Brady, Gisele Bündchen, Miami Dolphins players and former Packers Robby Robinson, Paul Hornung and Jim Taylor.
Last Big Splurge: Ralph Lauren pants and top from Saks Fifth Avenue, and the matching jacket she found at Bloomingdale’s. “There are all these fabulous sales going on. For me, it doesn’t have to be a name. It’s the quality that matters. But I really do like to hop on a sale. My mother used to be a women’s wear buyer and she taught me how to shop at Loehmann’s and Filene’s Basement. Clothes were her life and she really passed that on to me.”
Of Note: With the Packers in the Super Bowl and the show’s run extended through June 19, Light finds herself reading the sports pages for the first time in her life.
Linda Lavin, 73
“Other Desert Cities” at the Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater.
In Character: Palm Beach chic — big auburn tussled hair, Pucci-esque blouse (she bought it at Loehmann’s but tries to pass it off as the real thing to her sister), pencil thin Michael Kors jeans, slingbacks, caftans.
Offstage: “There is no typical with a winter like this.” Her four-layer system includes a Michael Kors shearling coat or a down coat, wool knit caps, lots of scarves, four layers if need be. “My biggest expenditure this winter has been a half dozen pair of boots. One pair is reminiscent of stadium boots. They are lined, fuzzy and completely waterproof. I also have an incredible pair of lace-up Stuart Weitzman boots.”
Preferred Transport: Hoofing it.
After the Show: P.J. Clarke’s, Cafe Fiorello, Shun Lee. “Most of the time I wear what will get me there comfortably. It’s all kind of tabletop dressing, isn’t it? We’re always seated at a table.”
VIP Visitors: Sarah Jessica Parker, Lawrence O’Donnell, Peggy Noonan, Patricia Wettig, Ron Rifkin, Joel Grey and Elaine Stritch.
Fashion Flashback: “Growing up in Maine, we wore knitted hoods like Joan of Arc that our mothers would knit. We walked backwards in the snow. It’s too precarious to do that in New York on the street. All the people make it difficult enough.”
Of Note: A recent Theater Hall of Fame inductee, she plays Birdland Feb. 21 to plug her new CD “Possibilities” and runs Red Barn Studio Theatre in Wilmington, N.C.
Michele Pawk, 49
“A Small Fire” at Playwrights Horizons.
In Character: From dowdy to dressy — maroon bathrobe, mom jeans with an untucked button-down shirt and a midnight blue mother-of-the-bride ensemble. “To be honest, this girl always enjoys a nice heel. It makes the leg look longer.”
Offstage: “Whatever comfy clothes I inhabited that particular day will suffice.”
Secret Picker-Upper: Naps. “I’m old.”
Preferred Transport: “From teaching at Wagner College on Staten Island, I drive. From home, it’s New Jersey Transit all the way!”
VIP visitors: America Ferrera, Julianne Nicholson, Logan Marshall-Green and Kate Mulgrew.
After the Show: A half-hour of mindless television with her husband. “No offense, but reruns of ‘Two and a Half Men’ or ‘Friends’ will do nicely.”
Last Big Splurge: “For me and the gals at the theater, handmade bracelets that tell the story of how the earth was created from my favorite store, Domus on West 44th Street.”