All recent photo’s by Genevieve Rafter Keddy
The end of a musical theatre era has passed now that Harold Prince, Broadway director and producer has taken his final bow. Prince’s publicist Rick Miramontez sent out the sad news this morning, stating Prince, 91 died Wednesday after a brief illness in Reykjavik, Iceland. Broadway will say it’s final good-bye’s on Wednesday as the Broadway marquees dim their lights in his honor.
Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber stated; “Farewell, Hal. Not just the prince of musicals, the crowned head who directed two of the greatest productions of my career, Evita and Phantom. This wonderful man taught me so much and his mastery of musical theatre was without equal.”
Prince started out as a producer, helping to bring to the stage The Pajama Game, Damn Yankees, West Side Story, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum and Fiddler on the Roof, to name a few. As a director Prince forged a partnership with Stephen Sondheim, breaking ground with Cabaret, Company, Follies, A Little Night Music, Pacific Overtures, Sweeney Todd,” Evita, The Phantom of the Opera, Merrily We Roll Along, Bounce, also known as Road Show, Prince of Broadway and many more. For his remarkable achievement, he won a staggering 21 Tony Awards. including two special Tonys — one in 1972 when Fiddler became Broadway’s longest running musical then, and another in 1974 for a revival of Candide. He also was a recipient of a Kennedy Center Honor.
Here is a list of his work:
• Tickets, Please! (1950) – assistant stage manager
• Call Me Madam (1950) – assistant stage manager
• Wonderful Town (1953) – stage manager
• The Pajama Game (1954) – co-producer
• Damn Yankees (1955) – co-producer
• New Girl in Town (1957) – co-producer
• West Side Story (1957) – co-producer
• Fiorello! (1959) – co-producer
• West Side Story (1960) – co-producer
• Tenderloin (1960) – co-producer
• A Call on Kuprin (1961) – producer
• Take Her, She’s Mine (1961) – producer
• A Family Affair (1962) – director
• A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (1962) – producer
• She Loves Me (1963) – producer, director
• Fiddler on the Roof (1964) – producer
• Baker Street (1964) – director
• Flora, The Red Menace (1965) – producer
• It’s a Bird…It’s a Plane…It’s Superman (1966) – producer, director
• Cabaret (1966) – producer, director
• Zorba (1968) – producer, director
• Company (1970) – producer, director
• Follies (1971) – producer, director
• The Great God Brown (1972) – artistic director
• Don Juan (1972) – artistic director
• A Little Night Music (1973) – director, producer
• Sondheim: A Musical Tribute (1973) – performer
• The Visit (1973) – director
• Chemin de Fer (1973) – artistic director
• Holiday (1973) – artistic director
• Candide (1974) – producer, director
• Love for Love (1974) – director
• The Member of the Wedding (1975) – artistic director
• The Rules of the Game (1974) – artistic director
• Pacific Overtures (1976) – producer, director
• Side by Side by Sondheim (1977) – producer
• Some of My Best Friends (1977) – director
• On the Twentieth Century (1978) – director
• Sweeney Todd (1979) – director
• Evita (1979) – director
• Merrily We Roll Along (1981) – director
• Willie Stark (1981) – director
• A Doll’s Life (1982) – producer, director
• Play Memory (1984) – director
• Diamonds (1984) – director
• Grind (1985) – producer, director
• The Phantom of the Opera (1986) – director
• Roza (1987) – director
• Cabaret (1987) – director
• Grandchild Of Kings (1992) (Off-Broadway) – adaptation (from the stories of Seán O’Casey) director and adapter
• Kiss of the Spider Woman (1993) – director
• Show Boat (1994) – director
• The Petrified Prince (1994) – director
• Whistle Down the Wind (1996)
• Candide (1997) – director
• Parade (1998) – director, co-conceiver
• 3hree (2000) – supervisor, director (The Flight of the Lawnchair Man)
• Hollywood Arms (2002) – producer, director
• Bounce (2003) – director
• LoveMusik (2007) – director
• Paradise Found (2010) – director
• Prince of Broadway (2015) – director
• Something for Everyone (1970) – director
• A Little Night Music (1977) – director
Thanks to Hal Prince we have composer Jason Robert Brown who hailed Prince’s “commitment and an enthusiasm and a work ethic and an endless well of creative passion.” Angela Lansbury tweeted “Very sad news: a 21-time Tony Award-winning producer and director, Hal Prince has died at 91. An absolute theatre legend and a giant. What an incredible legacy… RIP, sir”. Carolee Carmello wrote he “lit up a room like no one I’ve ever known and I always felt so lucky when I was in that room.” Elaine Page wrote “With a sad heart I say RIP to dear Hal Prince – The Prince of Broadway, my Prince of #Evita … I owe so much to him. Sending love and deepest sympathy to his personal family and his theatrical family across the world. Hal, you will be missed by us all.”
“The Band’s Visit” and “Tootsie” composer David Yazbek, called Prince “a real giant.” Bernadette Peters, called it a “sad day.” Donna Murphy tweeted Beyond heartbroken to find out that #HalPrince has passed away. Working with Hal was one of the greatest honors of my artistic life-I’ll never forget his kindness,generosity& brilliance as an artist & as a human.Sending love & condolences to Judy,Daisy,Charlie &all loved ones. ″Seinfeld” alum Jason Alexander, who was directed by Prince in “Merrily We Roll Along,” said Prince “reshaped American theater and today’s giants stand on his shoulders.”Audra McDonald tweeted No words. RIP #HalPrince.
Stimg wrote “So sad that we have lost the great Hal Prince. Such energy, such passion, totally inspiring.” Chita Rivera “I am saddened beyond words. There are some people you feel we will never be without. Hal is one of them. I owe so much to him. He knows my love for him.” So many more expressed their broken hearts and grief over losing this giant of theatre.
“Hal Prince was not only a legendary director of musicals, but also a brilliant producer. As the curtain finally falls on his phenomenal career, it is fitting that his greatest success as a director, The Phantom of the Opera, is still both the longest-running musical on Broadway and continues playing to packed houses at its original London theatre Her Majesty’s, where he also enjoyed two of his most enduring hits as the original producer of Fiddler on the Roofand West Side Story. The Gods of the theatre salute you, Hal.” Cameron Mackintosh
Prince wrote “I went to work for George Abbott in 1948, and I was fired on Friday that year from a television job in his office. I was rehired the following Monday, and I’ve never been out of work since.”
Born in New York on January 30, 1928, Prince attended Saturday matinees. When he was 8 a production of Julius Caesar starring Orson Welles made him fall in love with the art.
A stint in the Army during the Korean War (he kept his dog-tags on his office desk), had Prince serving as stage manager on Abbott’s 1953 production of Wonderful Town, starring Rosalind Russell.
The Pajama Game, starring John Raitt and Janis Paige, was a big hit, as was Damn Yankees staring Gwen Verdon. Both introduced Bob Fosse.
In 1957, Prince worked on West Side Story with Stephen Sondheim, which started a friendship that has lasted ever since.
Prince also worked a lot with the composer John Kander. In Cabaret he introduced Joel Grey and Liza Minnelli. Prince actually introduced Liza the year earlier in Flora, The Red Menace.
Another Prince discovery was Patti LuPone,
Prince is survived by his wife of 56 years, Judy; his daughter, Daisy; his son, Charles; and his grandchildren, Phoebe, Lucy, and Felix and the longest running musical The Phantom of The Opera.
With the passing of Harold Prince an era of musicals has ended and like many I am heartbroken over his death.