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Harold Prince

Harold Prince

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Also Known As: Harold Smith Prince, Harold S Prince, Hal Prince Died:
Born: January 30, 1928 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: New York City, New York, USA Profession: producer, director, office boy

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Director-producer Harold Prince changed the face of Broadway as its preeminent showman of the second half of the 20th Century by pioneering the so-called "concept musical", a show built around an idea that incorporated fluid, cinematic staging, a strong score and utilitarian scenery. Beginning in the mid-1960s with "Cabaret" and stretching through to 1998's "Parade", a Prince-directed musical, whether successful or not, always signaled quality.

Director-producer Harold Prince changed the face of Broadway as its preeminent showman of the second half of the 20th Century by pioneering the so-called "concept musical", a show built around an idea that incorporated fluid, cinematic staging, a strong score and utilitarian scenery. Beginning in the mid-1960s with "Cabaret" and stretching through to 1998's "Parade", a Prince-directed musical, whether successful or not, always signaled quality.

Filmographyclose complete filmography

DIRECTOR:

2.
  Little Night Music, A (1977) Director
3.
  Something for Everyone (1970) Director
4.
  50th Annual Tony Awards, The (1996) Director ("Phantom Of The Opera")
5.
  Madama Butterfly (1989) Stage Director
6.
  Candide (1986) Stage Director

VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

1948:
Began his association with George Abbott, starting off working as his office boy (date approximate)
1949:
Met future collaborator Stephen Sondheim at the opening night party for "South Pacific"
1954:
Broadway producing debut (with Frederick Brisson and Robert E Griffith), "The Pajama Game", authored and directed by Abbott; earned first Tony Award as producer
1955:
Produced (with Brisson and Griffith) Abbott's "Damn Yankees"
1957:
With Griffith, produced "West Side Story"; first collaboration with Stephen Sondheim who wrote the lyrics
1957:
First film credit as associate producer on "The Pajama Game"
1958:
Served as associate producer on the film adaptation of "Damn Yankees"
1959:
Reteamed with Abbott and Griffith for the award-winning "Fiorello!"; score by Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick
1960:
Produced back-to-back flops with scores by Bock and Harnick, "Body Beautiful" and "Tenderloin"
1962:
Directorial debut with the ill-fated musical "A Family Affair"; initial collaboration with composer John Kander; book and lyrics by James and William Goldman
1962:
Produced "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum", the first musical for which Sondheim wrote both music and lyrics; directed by Abbott
1963:
Directed and co-produced the musical "She Loves Me", with a score by Bock and Harnick
1964:
Assumed leadership of the League of New York Theatres from producer Herman Shumlin
1964:
Produced "Fiddler on the Roof" on Broadway; score by Bock and Harnick
1965:
Served as a producer on the Kander and Ebb musical "Flora, the Red Menace", starring Liza Minnelli; final collaboration with George Abbott
1966:
Produced and directed last "conventional" book musical the ill-fated "It's a Bird ... It's a Plane ... It's Superman"
1966:
Directed and produced (with Ruth Mitchell) "Cabaret" on Broadway, earning his first Tony for directing for his cinematic staging; score by Kander and Ebb
1968:
Helmed and produced (with Mitchell) the musical "Zorba!", based on the 1964 feature film "Zorba the Greek"; score by Kander and Ebb
1970:
Feature directing debut, "Something for Everyone", starring Angela Lansbury and Michael York
1970:
Directed the landmark Stephen Sondheim-George Furth musical "Company"; first of Prince's "concept musicals" which included fluid, cinematic staging
1971:
Reteamed with Sondheim and James Goldman for the much-admired "Follies", another "concept musical" about the reunion of showgirls; shared directing dutied with Michael Bennett
1973:
Directed and produced (with Mitchell) Sondheim's "A Little Night Music"; book by Hugh Wheeler
1974:
Revived Leonard Bernstein's "Candide" (directing and producing); the environmental staging helped make the production a success despite its initial failure in 1956; Sondheim contributed additional lyrics while Wheeler refashioned the book
1976:
Helmed and produced the Sondheim musical "Pacific Overtures", with a book by John Weidman; plot dealt with the opening of Japan to the West in the 18th Century; staging influenced by Kabuki theater
1977:
Directed feature film version of "A Little Night Music", starring Elizabeth Taylor
:
Directed the Stephen Sondheim-Hugh Wheeler Grand Guignol musical "Sweeney Todd", starring Len Cariou and Angela Lansbury
1978:
First collaboration as director with composer Andrew Lloyd Webber, the London production of "Evita", starring Elaine Paige
:
Restaged "Evita" in the USA with Patti LuPone in the lead
1981:
Stumbled with Sondheim's "Merrily We Roll Along"; production's plot unfolded in reverse chronology and was hampered by his casting young people in roles that aged from teenagers to people in their 40s; book by Furth; last collaboration to date with Sondheim
1982:
Staged "Candide" at the New York City Opera
1985:
As one of the four co-creators of "Grind", suspended by the Dramatists Guild for agreeing to a contract that fell below the Guild's standards
1986:
Resigned from the League of American Theatres and Producers, protesting its lack of concern over rising ticket prices and labor costs
1986:
Reunited with Lloyd Webber to stage "The Phantom of the Opera" in London; its move to Broadway in 1988 would end his eight-year Tony drought, earning him the award for Best Director of a Musical
1992:
Directed "Kiss of the Spider Woman", first in Canada, later in London; show moved to Broadway in 1993
1992:
Directed the Kander and Ebb musical (with book by Terrence McNally) "Kiss of the Spider Woman", first in Canada, later in London; show moved to Broadway in 1993; first collaboration with Livent
1995:
Earned 20th Tony Award for directing the revival of "Showboat", produced under the auspices of Livent
1997:
Experienced a failure with the revival of "Candide"
1998:
Co-conceived (with playwright Alfred Uhry) the Broadway musical "Parade", about the events surrounding the trial of Leo Frank in Atlanta in the early 20th Century; score by Jason Robert Brown; also produced by Livent; received Tony nomination as director
2000:
Staged the trio of one-act musicals under the umbrella title "3hree"; restaged productions in L.A. in 2001
2002:
Directed the stage play "Hollywood Arms", co-written by Carol Burnett and her daughter Carrie Hamilton
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Education

University of Pennsylvania: Philadelphia , Pennsylvania - 1948

Notes

Received the National Medal of Arts from US President Bill Clinton (2000).

"There are a number of reviewers, and to please them all is very rare. Usually, if you do please them all, it's because the material isn't as dangerous as you might wish. We got the cover of Time magazine for 'Follies', and we lost out on the cover of Newsweek only because, at the last minute, someone declared war or jumped off a building or something; but we got a bad review in one of the major newspapers. We also got a lot of Tony Awards, but not for best musical. The original reviews of 'Evita' weren't all that good, but we did get the Drama Critics Award and the Tony. There isn't any logic prevailing, so I can't make an equation. I can only repeat what my wife said to me, impatiently, some years ago. She said, 'When will you learn the difference between 'success or failure' and 'hit or flop?' There can be a vast difference between a success and a hit. That's always been true." --Harold Prince quoted in InTheater, January 30, 1998.

Prince is sanguine about audience reaction to his bigger statements: "After 'Cabaret' one night a woman came up to me and said, 'Why don't you sell dolls of that MC fellow, he's so cute. We'd all buy them.' What, with his swastika armband and everything, I thought." --Prince to the London Times, February 22, 1998.

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Judy Prince. Concert pianist. Married on October 26, 1962; suggested to husband the idea for a musical about teenagers that resulted in "Merrily We Roll Along" (1981).

Family close complete family listing

father:
Milton A Prince. Stockbroker.
mother:
Blanche Prince.
father-in-law:
Saul Chaplin. Composer. Born on February 12, 1912; died on November 15, 1997.
son:
Charles Prince. Composer, conductor. Born c. 1963.
daughter:
Daisy Prince. Actor, director. Born c. 1965; married actor Alexander Gaberman in May 1997; changed surname to Chaplin to honor her mother and grandfather, composer Saul Chaplin; made directing debut with Jason Robert Brown's "Songs for a New World" (1995).
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

Bibliography close complete biography

"Contradictions: Notes on Twenty-Six Years in the Theatre" Dodd

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