Hal Prince

Who Mentored Harold Prince?

Interview  Watch the video of Usher.

Legendary 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 asThe 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 Story.

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 night.”

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 before.

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.