Just in: Hal Prince is dead

The great Broadway director has gone to the great white way in the sky. He was 91.

Others will write his obit. He was pivotal to the career of Stephen Sondheim – Company (1970), Follies (1971), A Little Night Music (1973), Pacific Overtures (1976), and Sweeney Todd (1979).

I saw him stage Turandot at the Vienna State Opera in 1983 at Lorin Maazel’s commission. It was his first opera and a damp squib.

He had another go at Madam Butterfly, but opera was not his Fach. He took up Bernstein, Kurt Weill, other inbetweeners.

He directed Evita and Phantom for Andrew Lloyd Webber. That worked.



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  • A wise man of the theater. He famously and perceptively emphasized the difference between a hit and a success, and between a flop and a failure. A show can be both a commercial hit and an artistic success, but they are very different things–and not mutually assured. And throughout his career, even in the later years, he continued to enthusiastically support and nurture emerging creative talents. A true mensch.

  • I met him personally – and he unquestionably radiated “star quality”! He also knew in musicals what to produce or direct – and what not.
    Opera was another thing!

  • I worked with him regularly in the early 90’s, a wonderful man. Was only telling someone about him yesterday, had no idea he’d died. Thanks for your wisdom, Hal; it was great knowing you.

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