In Venus in Fur, Graver wore a black corset, thigh-high boots and a sheer white lace dress created for her by costume designer Ellis Tillman, who’s nominated this year for his Ruined designs. Offstage, the 29-year-old performer’s passion is vintage clothing, particularly things made in the 1940s, ‘50s and ‘60s.
“I love the way vintage clothes make me feel feminine,” says Graver, who visits thrift and vintage shops all over South Florida to score her finds. “I love thinking that there was a woman who loved this dress and bought it, and now I get to wear it.”
Graver appreciates the quality of fabrics, leather and workmanship in vintage clothing. She looks up labels online to figure out approximately when a purse or hat or dress was made. Her Carbonell choice this year is a modern dress under a vibrantly colored ‘60s coat by Jane Justin for Don Sophisticates.
Amadeo will also be having a rare dress-up night on Monday, wearing a daring black BCBG Max Azria gown and black patent-leather Jimmy Choo platform shoes with five-inch heels. She often goes with BCBG, she says, because she doesn’t particularly like shopping “and I know their clothes fit me.”
Her usual attire is dictated by life with her daughter Lara and another Max, her 1-year-old son. Her daily outfits are far more comfortable and practical: flats or boots or sneakers, leggings and loose clothing. While she was performing Turn of the Screw, she says, she’d nurse her baby backstage just before show time, then don her buttoned-up Victorian gown. She’s happy that her performance, despite her sleep-deprived state and the tiny venue, was remembered by nominators. And she’s looking forward to a glam night out with her husband, actor Antonio Amadeo.
Like Elam, Alvarez is a double nominee this year, though unfortunately he’s competing against himself (and with Matthew Korinko, Kevin Reilley and Robert Strain) for best supporting actor in a play. The Cuban-American actor’s nominated performances were vastly different: In GableStage’s The Motherf**ker with the Hat, he was a flamboyant and funny Latino guy, and in Promethean Theatre’s mysterious The Unseen, he was a horrifying prison guard.
Offstage, Alvarez goes with casual and comfortable. But for the Carbonells this year, his first time as a nominee, he bought a chic Calvin Klein tuxedo.
“When I dress up,” he says, “I like classic looks: black, white and a combination of the two.”
Henry, nominated for his M Ensemble performance in the title role of August Wilson’s King Hedley II, is a Chicago actor who has worked steadily in South Florida since moving here with his actress-wife Makeba Pace. Henry has appeared in The Motherf**ker With the Hat and Race at GableStage, and he won raves for his performances in King Hedley and Palm Beach Dramaworks’ A Raisin in the Sun.
The actor went to parochial schools in Chicago and had to wear a tie every day, and though he opted for jeans and T-shirts in college, his usual dress-up look today is a Banana Republic blazer, khakis, shirt and tie. He’s dialing it up a notch for the Carbonells, though, choosing a black pin-striped Mundo Super 120’s suit with a vest, a blue shirt and, likely, a new tie. Why the shirt color?
“My wife likes me in blue,” he says.