Harold Prince

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Harold Prince
Born Harold Smith Prince
(1928-01-30) January 30, 1928 (age 86)
New York City, New York, U.S.
Other names Hal Prince
Occupation Theatrical producer, director
Years active 1955 – present
Spouse(s) Judith Chaplin (1962–present; 2 children)

Harold Smith "Hal" Prince (born January 30, 1928) is an American theatrical producer and director associated with many of the best-known Broadway musical productions of the past half-century. He has garnered twenty-one Tony Awards, more than any other individual, including eight for directing, eight for producing the year's Best Musical, two as Best Producer of a Musical, and three special awards.

Life and career[edit]

Early years[edit]

Prince was born in New York City and adopted in childhood by Milton A. Prince, a stockbroker, and Blanche Stern.[1] He entered the University of Pennsylvania at age 19, where he followed a liberal arts curriculum and graduated three years later. He later served two years with the United States Army in post-WWII Germany.[2]

Career[edit]

Prince began work in the theatre as an assistant stage manager to theatrical producer and director George Abbott. Along with Abbott, he co-produced The Pajama Game, which won the 1955 Tony Award for Best Musical. He went on to direct his own productions in 1962 beginning with A Family Affair and hit a series of unsuccessful productions.

He almost gave up musical theater right before he hit success with Cabaret in 1966. 1970 marked the start of his greatest collaboration, with composer/lyricist Stephen Sondheim. They had previously worked on West Side Story and at this point decided to embark on their own project. Their association spawned a long string of productions, including Company (1970), Follies (1971), A Little Night Music (1973), Pacific Overtures (1976), and Sweeney Todd (1979). Following Merrily We Roll Along (1981), which was not successful, they parted ways until Bounce (2003).

Prince has directed operas including Ashmedai, Willie Stark, Madame Butterfly, and a revival of Candide. In 1983 Prince staged Turandot for the Vienna State Opera (conductor: Lorin Maazel; with José Carreras, Éva Marton). He directed two of Andrew Lloyd Webber's successes, Evita and The Phantom of the Opera. He was offered the job of directing Cats by Lloyd Webber but turned it down.

Despite creating a number of hugely popular musicals in the late 1970s and 1980s such as The Phantom of the Opera, Sweeney Todd, and Evita, Prince had his first artistic failure with Stephen Sondheim in 1981 with Merrily We Roll Along. Determined to bounce back, he started working on a new musical A Doll's Life with lyricists Betty Comden and Adolph Green that would continue the story of Nora Helmer past what Henrik Ibsen had written in A Doll's House. It was also badly received. Other commercially unsuccessful musicals includes Roza and Grind. Prince himself stopped producing and directing concurrently during this period because the process of financing a show had become so difficult.

Prince was the inspiration for John Lithgow's character in Bob Fosse's film All That Jazz. He was also the basis of a character in Richard Bissell's novel Say, Darling, which chronicled Bissell's own experience turning his novel 7½ Cents into The Pajama Game.

On May 20, 2007, he gave the commencement address at Gettysburg College in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. In 2000, he was awarded the National Medal of Arts.[3]

In 2006, Prince was awarded a Special Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre. The Harold Prince Theatre at the Annenberg Center of the University of Pennsylvania is named in his honor. In 2008 Prince was the keynote speaker at Elon University's Convocation for Honors celebration.

Prince co-directed, with Susan Stroman, the 2010 musical Paradise Found. The musical features the music of Johann Strauss II as adapted by Jonathan Tunick with lyrics by Ellen Fitzhugh. The book was written by Richard Nelson, based on Joseph Roth’s novel The Tale of the 1002nd Night. The musical premiered at the Menier Chocolate Factory in London on May 19, 2010 and closed on June 26, and starred Mandy Patinkin.[4][5]

Personal life[edit]

Prince married Judy Chaplin, daughter of Saul Chaplin, on October 26, 1962. They are parents of Daisy Prince, a director, and Charles Prince, a conductor. Actor Alexander Chaplin, best known as "James Hobert" on Spin City, is Prince's son-in-law.[2]

Work[edit]

Stage productions[edit]

Filmography[edit]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Awards
  • 1955 Tony Award for Best Musical - The Pajama Game (producer)
  • 1956 Tony Award for Best Musical - Damn Yankees (producer)
  • 1960 Tony Award for Best Musical - Fiorello! (producer)
  • 1963 Tony Award for Best Musical -
    A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (producer)
  • 1963 Tony Award for Best Producer of a Musical -
    A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum
  • 1965 Tony Award for Best Musical - Fiddler on the Roof (producer)
  • 1965 Tony Award for Best Producer of a Musical - Fiddler on the Roof
  • 1967 Tony Award for Best Direction of a Musical - Cabaret
  • 1967 Tony Award for Best Musical - Cabaret (producer)
  • 1970 Drama Desk Award Outstanding Director - Company
  • 1971 Drama Desk Award Outstanding Director - Follies
  • 1971 Tony Award for Best Direction of a Musical - Company
  • 1971 Tony Award for Best Musical - Company (producer)
  • 1972 Tony Award for Best Direction of a Musical - Follies
  • 1972 Tony Award Special Award - Fiddler on the Roof
  • 1973 Drama Desk Award Outstanding Director - A Little Night Music
  • 1973 Drama Desk Award Outstanding Director - The Great God Brown
  • 1973 Tony Award for Best Musical - A Little Night Music (producer)
  • 1974 Drama Desk Award Outstanding Director - Candide
  • 1974 Drama Desk Award Outstanding Director - The Visit
  • 1974 Tony Award for Best Direction of a Musical - Candide
  • 1974 Tony Award Special Award - Candide
  • 1979 Drama Desk Award Outstanding Director of a Musical - Sweeney Todd
  • 1979 Tony Award for Best Direction of a Musical - Sweeney Todd
  • 1980 Drama Desk Award Outstanding Director of a Musical - Evita
  • 1980 Tony Award for Best Direction of a Musical - Evita
  • 1988 Drama Desk Award Outstanding Director of a Musical -
    The Phantom of the Opera
  • 1988 Tony Award for Best Direction of a Musical - The Phantom of the Opera
  • 1995 Drama Desk Award Outstanding Director of a Musical - Show Boat
  • 1995 Tony Award for Best Direction of a Musical - Show Boat
  • 2006 Tony Award Special Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement
Nominations
  • 1958 Tony Award for Best Musical - New Girl in Town (producer)
  • 1958 Tony Award for Best Musical - West Side Story (producer)
  • 1964 Tony Award for Best Direction (Musical) - She Loves Me
  • 1964 Tony Award for Best Musical - She Loves Me (producer)
  • 1964 Tony Award for Best Producer (Musical) - She Loves Me
  • 1969 Tony Award for Best Direction of a Musical - Zorba
  • 1969 Tony Award for Best Musical - Zorba (producer)
  • 1972 Tony Award for Best Musical - Follies (producer)
  • 1973 Tony Award for Best Direction of a Musical - A Little Night Music
  • 1976 Drama Desk Award Outstanding Director of a Musical - Pacific Overtures
  • 1976 Drama Desk Award Outstanding Musical/Book - Pacific Overtures (producer)
  • 1976 Tony Award for Best Direction of a Musical - Pacific Overtures
  • 1976 Tony Award for Best Musical - Pacific Overtures (producer)
  • 1977 Drama Desk Award Unique Theatrical Experience - Side by Side by Sondheim
  • 1977 Tony Award for Best Musical - Side by Side by Sondheim (producer)
  • 1978 Tony Award for Best Direction of a Musical - On the Twentieth Century
  • 1985 Tony Award for Best Direction of a Musical - Grind
  • 1985 Tony Award for Best Musical - Grind (producer)
  • 1988 Drama Desk Award Outstanding Director of a Musical - Cabaret
  • 1993 Tony Award for Best Direction of a Musical - Kiss of the Spider Woman
  • 1999 Drama Desk Award Outstanding Director of a Musical - Parade
  • 1999 Tony Award for Best Direction of a Musical - Parade
  • 2007 Drama Desk Award Outstanding Director of a Musical - Lovemusik

Bibliography[edit]

  • Prince, Harold, Contradictions: Notes on twenty-six years in the theatre, Dodd, Mead ISBN 0-396-07019-1 (1974 autobiography)
  • Prince, Harold (1993), Grandchild of Kings, Samuel French,
  • Hirsch, Foster (1989, rev 2005), Harold Prince and the American Musical Theatre, Applause Books, (with Prince providing extensive interviews and the foreword)
  • Ilson, Carol (1989), Harold Prince: From Pajama Game To Phantom of the Opera And Beyond, Cambridge University Press, ISBN 0-8357-1961-8
  • Ilson, Carol (2000), Harold Prince: A Director's Journey, Limelight Editions,
  • Napoleon, Davi, Chelsea on the Edge: The Adventures of an American Theater, Iowa State University Press, (Includes a preface by Prince and a full chapter about the production of Candide.) .
  • Brunet, Daniel; Angel Esquivel Rios, Miguel; and Geraths, Armin (2006), Creating the "New Musical": Harold Prince in Berlin, Peter Lang Publishing,
  • Thelen, Lawrence (1999), The Show Makers: Great Directors of the American Musical Theatre, Routledge,
  • Guernsey, Otis L. (Editor) (1985), Broadway Song and Story: Playwrights/Lyricists/Composers Discuss Their Hits, Dodd Mead,

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Harold Prince Biography". filmreference. 2008. Retrieved 2008-11-25. 
  2. ^ a b Music Division (November 2005). "Harold Prince Scores, JBP 06-2". The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts. Retrieved 2008-11-22. 
  3. ^ Lifetime Honors - National Medal of Arts nea.gov
  4. ^ Fick, David."PARADISE FOUND at the Menier Chocolate Factory"
  5. ^ "Baldwin, Cullum, Hensley and Kaye Will Join Patinkin for London's 'Paradise Found'" playbill.com

External links[edit]