Mentored Harold Prince?
Broadway theatre director and producer Hal Prince has
given shape to American theatre through a life of dedication
to the stage. He has received 22 Tony Awards and directed
and/or produced over 50 plays, operas, and musicals,
including such Broadway hits as The
Phantom of the Opera, Evita, Fiddler on the Roof, A
Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Parade,
Show Boat, Kiss of the Spider Woman, Sweeney Todd, Candide,
A Little Night Music, Pacific Overtures, Follies, Company,
Cabaret, She Loves Me, Fiorello!, and West Side
George Abbott was the premiere director, producer, often
playwright, on Broadway. In 1949, I was taken to the
opening of South Pacific. Not
by Abbott--Abbott was there, everybody in the theatre
was there, and I was there. And the next morning I came
into the office and Abbott sent for me. I went and sat
down and he said, "Tell me what you got from last
That's the first time he ever acted like a teacher,
and I said, "Well, I thought it was magnificent."
And he said, "No, but what did you learn from it?"
And I said, "What did I learn from it?"
And he said, "You witnessed an epic night in the
history of the American Theater for the following reasons:
a musical where the story flowed without cease the entire
evening, as in a movie; you saw almost motion picture
techniques." Today we would call them dissolves
and cross-fades. None of that stuff had ever been done
Within thirty minutes, I walked out of there and my
artistic life, which didn't kick in as a director for
another ten years, was set. All those things he told
me about became the warp and woof of what I've made
of my career, specifically in the theater. You read
my reviews and they contain so much description of what
he pointed out that night.