The Hal Prince Appreciation Thread

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The Hal Prince Appreciation Thread

Post  Scorp on Tue Mar 09, 2010 10:45 am

...well, if we're going to have a thread for Maria Björnson, why not for the man with the big vision that helped make Phantom such a hit?

I think a lot of people forget about his epic contribution to the show these days. The show wouldn't be what it is without him. Not even the score! It was Hal Prince, for instance, that insisted ALW write a decent number for the managers' office scene in Act 1. ALW was going to use 'Papers' (the song used in the Sydmonton workshop), but Hal thought it was substandard and said to ALW that he could do better than that. So ALW went away and came back with a far superior piece of work, 'Prima Donna'. Smile

Great interview on Hal's career here: http://www.ny1.com/6-bronx-news-content/features/114870/-i-one-on-1---i--harold-prince-celebrates-extended-run

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Re: The Hal Prince Appreciation Thread

Post  LadyCDaae on Fri Mar 12, 2010 4:47 pm

The more I see of the musical, the more I appreciate how much of it is works due to Prince. His staging really fleshes out characters and ideas that the libretto unfortunately skimps on. Simply listening to the score, for example, one doesn't get much of an impression of Firmin and Andre having distinct personalities, yet the staging gives them their own quirks and nuances and draws comedy from the way they play off each other and the other characters. (This is even more obvious when you sit through the movie, where the managers are once more reduced to indistinct ciphers.) Without him, I don't think PotO would have run quite as long as it has.

~LCD

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Re: The Hal Prince Appreciation Thread

Post  Raphael on Fri Mar 12, 2010 4:54 pm

Definitely a Hal Prince Appreciator in me Smile

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Re: The Hal Prince Appreciation Thread

Post  IamErik771 on Fri Mar 12, 2010 5:17 pm

Count me in! I agree that people often forget (or simply haven't heard) how big a contribution Hal Prince made to the POTO we all know and love. I admire the man not just for the directorial genius he displayed with POTO and the other shows he has worked on, but also for the humble attitude that comes through in his interviews and public speaking events. Smile

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Re: The Hal Prince Appreciation Thread

Post  SenorSwanky on Sat Mar 13, 2010 12:31 am

Yeah, you just have to watch the movie or non-replica productions to appreciate how much of an impact Hal and Maria had on the success of the original production. Hell, even those productions usually borrow extensively from Hal and Maria. You can't help it. It's impossible to imagine ALW's Phantom without their visions.

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Re: The Hal Prince Appreciation Thread

Post  operafantomet on Sun Mar 14, 2010 7:37 am

SenorSwanky wrote:Yeah, you just have to watch the movie or non-replica productions to appreciate how much of an impact Hal and Maria had on the success of the original production.
I second that. The original POTO has something later version (non-replica, movie, sequel) has not been able to recreate and/or copy. I "blame" the original team.

I read in a LND article* that Hal Prince is rumored to be involved when LND is to hit Broadway. I doubt he would want anything to do with it (having previously said there's only one possible ending to POTO, and that's the one you see, and also not being involved from the start, which I think is crucial) - but I find it interesting that he is seen as the guy who can save the sinking ship. His impact on the original is clearly known to several.


* http://www.nypost.com/p/entertainment/theater/webber_show_off_to_rough_start_in_ppIUFX4Nca3lULbFTAkZNN

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Re: The Hal Prince Appreciation Thread

Post  SenorSwanky on Sun Mar 14, 2010 8:01 am

Very interesting article, but I hope Hal steers clear.

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Re: The Hal Prince Appreciation Thread

Post  Becky on Sun Mar 14, 2010 4:38 pm

Ditto, hopefully he knows better than to get his fingerprints on this train wreck.

I got a big kick out of reading about Andrew's tendency towards diva moments before show openings. Laughing

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Re: The Hal Prince Appreciation Thread

Post  Madame Giry on Sun Mar 14, 2010 10:39 pm

Count me in as someone who appreciates Hal Prince's effect on the original Phantom show. Unlike ALW, Hal seems to really understand the story and the characters. Andy may have given the show music, but Hal gave the show a soul.

~Madame~

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Re: The Hal Prince Appreciation Thread

Post  operafantomet on Mon Mar 15, 2010 3:26 pm

Madame Giry wrote:Count me in as someone who appreciates Hal Prince's effect on the original Phantom show. Unlike ALW, Hal seems to really understand the story and the characters. Andy may have given the show music, but Hal gave the show a soul.

~Madame~
This also seems to have been ALW's problem in his last couple of musicals. Whereas he provides lovely music, it needs to have a counterpart in the book and the characters. I think ALW and Hal Prince had a good synergy when they worked together (ditto for ALW and Tim Rice), and I'm sad he hasn't found the same kind of synergy in newer projects.

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Re: The Hal Prince Appreciation Thread

Post  Scorp on Mon Mar 15, 2010 9:14 pm

SenorSwanky wrote:Yeah, you just have to watch the movie or non-replica productions to appreciate how much of an impact Hal and Maria had on the success of the original production.

That's a good point. I did wonder why none of those have thrilled me and the answer must be the absence of Hal (and Maria).

That said, I do think the score holds up on its own...I listened to the OLC before I saw the show so I wasn't dependent on the direction or the scenery to form my initial liking of it. I didn't go away 'humming the scenery'. But of course that score isn't ALW all by himself, it's ALW with polite suggestions by Hal on how to improve it. Methinks the scores ALW has written for his subsequent shows have been simply readily accepted by the directors with no such suggestions. Maybe they're too afraid or in awe. Well, I doubt Trevor Nunn was in awe, but it's obvious Jack O'Brien is.

Phantom is an interesting show insofar as it is so tied to its original production. How will that impact on the way it is staged in the future and in revivals? Presuming it isn't completely unviable economically to stage such lavish productions in 2050, would a revival of Phantom replicate Hal and Maria's vision (in the same way that the revival of A Chorus Line on Broadway didn't change anything, or the way in which London's current Oliver revival replicates the 1994 production, for instance)? Are those images in our heads so indelible that audiences wouldn't be able to accept a completely different production on Broadway and in the West End? Les Mis seems to have got away with breaking free of the original production given the current tour (though not without upsetting some of its diehard fans, of course), but that show seems less dependent on its staging than Phantom does...

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Re: The Hal Prince Appreciation Thread

Post  SenorSwanky on Tue Mar 16, 2010 4:18 am

The score definitely holds up on its own, but it's hard for me to imagine staging improving on the Hal/Maria vision. I think a lot of the basic blocking and many of the visual elements will always remain, even when productions try to do their own thing.

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Re: The Hal Prince Appreciation Thread

Post  Raphael on Fri Mar 19, 2010 1:44 am

Stephen Sondheim to present Hal Prince with Eugene O'Neill Theatre Center's Monte Cristo Award

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Re: The Hal Prince Appreciation Thread

Post  Paula74 on Sun Apr 11, 2010 12:32 am

Very nice Wall Street Journal article on him...and I have to say that I'm getting pretty interested in Paradise Found now.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303720604575170300468243206.html

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Re: The Hal Prince Appreciation Thread

Post  Scorp on Sun May 09, 2010 12:01 pm

Two books I recently got that have great insights into Hal Prince and his work on Phantom:

http://www.amazon.com/Harold-Prince-American-Musical-Theatre/dp/1557836175/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1273406394&sr=8-1

http://www.amazon.com/Directors-New-Musical-Drama-Performance/dp/0230601294/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1273406435&sr=1-1

My flatmate is seeing Hal tomorrow in a meeting for theatre producers in London. I'm jealous. Crying or Very sad

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Re: The Hal Prince Appreciation Thread

Post  MajesticPhantom on Tue Jul 27, 2010 3:09 am

Hal Prince is quite literally one of my theatrical idols. I am studying to be an actor, but I hope to one day direct, and his work on PHANTOM (which was the first show I ever saw) has inspired me to think of theatre in a conceptual way. This thinking keeps me more apt because Prince's work here and in other pieces that have been recorded for posterity (Candide, Sweeney Todd, special recordings of Cabaret, Evita et al) helps me understand that before you can convince your audience of the individual occurrences onstage, you need to convince your audience that it is a living, breathing world within which ALL the elements of the production live. There are too many shows where it is clear the director had not enough vision to bring the designs, the acting, the choreographer, and the musical director into the same realm. Such malpractice creates inconsistency, and the audience is left feeling rather disjointed.

Prince understands the importance of a world on stage in all his productions. He allows concept to inform as he deepens everybody's work.

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Re: The Hal Prince Appreciation Thread

Post  LadyCDaae on Wed Jan 30, 2013 7:31 pm

And a very happy 85th birthday to the Prince of Broadway--a true theatrical legend.

~LCD

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Re: The Hal Prince Appreciation Thread

Post  operafantomet on Wed Jan 30, 2013 7:33 pm

LadyCDaae wrote:And a very happy 85th birthday to the Prince of Broadway--a true theatrical legend.

~LCD

I second and triple (eeeeh?) that! Happy birthday, maestro.

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Re: The Hal Prince Appreciation Thread

Post  NightRachel on Wed Jan 30, 2013 7:37 pm

Yes, a very Happy 85th Birthday to Hal Prince! All the best! Very Happy

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Re: The Hal Prince Appreciation Thread

Post  IamErik771 on Thu Jan 31, 2013 12:23 am

Happy Birthday, Hal! Here's to many more! Very Happy

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