Prince, Harold, 1928-

Alternative names
Dates:
Birth 1928-01-30
Gender:
Male
US
English

Biographical notes:

Harold Prince (b. 1928), is a producer and director of theater, film and opera, but is best known for his work on Broadway musicals. Prince, who is commonly known as Hal Prince, began his career in 1948 as an assistant in the office of Broadway director and producer George Abbott. During his early years with Abbott, he made valuable connections with Robert E. Griffith, who would later become his producing partner and Ruth Mitchell, who would be his longtime assistant and production supervisor. Griffith and Prince scored a huge success in their first producing project, The Pajama Game (1954) and had many subsequent Broadway hits until Griffith's death in 1961. Prince began directing with the play, A Family Affair (1962). He has gone on to have a notably prolific career, directing and/or producing many landmark Broadway musicals, including Cabaret (1966), West Side Story (1957), Fiddler on the Roof (1964), Follies (1972), Evita (1979) Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (1979) and The Phantom of the Opera (1987). Principal collaborators on musical theater productions include the songwriters Stephen Sondheim; Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick; John Kander and Fred Ebb; Larry Grossman; Betty Comden and Adolph Green; and Andrew Lloyd Webber. In addition to musicals and plays, Prince also has directed operas and two feature films, and appeared in many documentaries and tributes; in 1974 he published an autobiography, Contradictions: Notes on Twenty-Six Years in the Theatre.

From the guide to the Harold Prince scores, 1955-1983, (The New York Public Library. Music Division.)

Harold Prince, born 30 January 1928, is a producer and director of theater, film and opera.

He began his career in 1948 as an assistant in the office of Broadway director George Abbott. In 1954 he began producing for Mr. Abbott with THE PAJAMA GAME and in 1962 he directed his first production, A FAMILY AFFAIR. He has produced and/or directed some 50 plays, musicals, films and operas winning 16 Tony Awards and numerous other honors. He has served as president of the League of New York Theatres, a member of the National Council for the Arts, chairman of the National Institute for Music Theatre and is a trustee of The New York Public Library. His principal collaborators include Stephen Sondheim, George Abbott and Robert E. Griffith. His Broadway work includes FIDDLER ON THE ROOF, WEST SIDE STORY, A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO THE FORUM, EVITA and THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA.

From the description of Papers, musical scores, sound recordings 1907-1986; (bulk 1954-1986). (New York Public Library). WorldCat record id: 122626589

Harold Prince (b. 1928), is a producer and director of theater, film and opera, but perhaps is best known for his work on Broadway musicals.

Prince, who is commonly known as Hal Prince, began his career in 1948 as an assistant in the office of Broadway director and producer George Abbott. During his early years with Abbott, he made valuable connections with Robert E. Griffith, who would later become his producing partner and Ruth Mitchell, who would be his longtime assistant and production supervisor. Griffith and Prince scored a huge success in their first producing project, The Pajama Game (1954) and had many subsequent Broadway hits until Griffith's death in 1961. Prince began directing with the play, A Family Affair (1962). He has gone on to have a notably prolific career, directing and/or producing many landmark Broadway musicals, including Cabaret (1966), West Side Story (1957), Fiddler on the Roof (1964), Follies (1972), and Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (1979). Principal collaborators on musical theater productions include the composers Stephen Sondheim, Jerry Bock, and John Kander. In addition to musicals and plays, Prince also has directed operas and two feature films, and appeared in many documentaries and tributes; in 1974 he published an autobiography, Contradictions: Notes on Twenty-Six Years in the Theatre.

From the description of Harold Prince scores, 1964-1983 (New York Public Library). WorldCat record id: 78682563

Harold Prince is an American director and producer, primarily of musicals, but also of plays, operas and, occasionally, films. His Broadway career, which began in the 1950s and continues to the present day, has earned him 21 Tony Awards to date, more than any other individual.

Harold Prince was born in New York City on January 28th, 1928 to an upper-middle class family. As a child he regularly attended the theater. At age 16, he enrolled in the University of Pennsylvania, where he pursued a standard liberal arts curriculum and read and wrote plays in his spare time. He graduated at age 19 and returned to New York, where he came to the notice of the legendary musical comedy director/producer George Abbott. Prince submitted a play to Abbott's office and, at age 20, found himself working there as a general assistant and later as Production Stage Manager. During his early years with Abbott, he made valuable connections with Robert Griffith, who would later become his producing partner, and Ruth Mitchell, who would be his lifetime assistant and production supervisor.

After spending two years in the army, stationed in Germany, Prince returned to the Abbott office to work on the original production of Wonderful Town (1953) and to launch his career, with Robert Griffith, as a producer, under Abbott's patronage. In their first project, The Pajama Game, (1954) Griffith and Prince scored a huge success and introduced to Broadway a new song-writing team, Richard Adler and Jerry Ross, and a new choreographer, Bob Fosse. Over the course of the next several years, Griffith and Prince, sometimes with Frederick Brisson, produced such shows as Damn Yankees, (1955) New Girl in Town, (1957) West Side Story, (1957) Fiorello, (1959) Tenderloin, (1960) and A Call On Kuprin (1961).

Soon after the death of Robert Griffith in 1961, Prince moved on to directing when he was called to Philadelphia to fix A Family Affair (1962) during its out of town tryout. For the next few years he continued to produce shows, often directed by Abbot, which would establish his relationships with some of the principal collaborators of his career, such as Stephen Sondheim, Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick, and John Kander and Fred Ebb. During this period Prince also directed such productions as She Loves Me (1963) Baker Street, (1965) and It's A Bird… It's A Plane…It's Superman (1966). After producing the critical and commercial megahit, Fiddler on the Roof (1964), success as a serious director came with Kander and Ebb's Cabaret (1966). This show has been heralded as a landmark in the history of musical theater, paving the way for the new generation of thought-provoking, serious musicals, with which Prince's named would be constantly associated.

Starting in 1970, Prince embarked on a collaboration with Sondheim that produced a series of ground-breaking musicals covering a wide range of subjects and styles, which have subsequently reached legendary status, Company, (1970) with a book by George Furth; Follies, (1971) with a book by James Goldman and which Prince co-directed with renowned choreographer, Michael Bennett; A Little Night Music (1973) with a book by Hugh Wheeler; Pacific Overtures (1976) with a book by John Weidman; Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, (1979) with a book by Wheeler; and Merrily We Roll Along (1981) with a book by Furth. During this period of intense collaboration with Sondheim, Prince also directed other original musicals, such as Cy Coleman and Betty Comden and Adolph Green's On the Twentieth Century (1978) and Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice's Evita (1979) as well as revivals of Leonard Bernstein's Candide, (1974) and straight plays, such as Frederich Dürrenmatt's The Visit (1973).

During the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s, Prince re-united with some former collaborators and formed ties with many new ones. He directed two shows with scores by composer Larry Grossman, A Doll's Life, (1982) with book and lyrics by Comden and Green and Grind (1985), with lyrics by Ellen Fitzhugh and book by Fay Kanin. Other original musicals Prince directed include Gilbert Becaud and Julian More's Roza, (1987) Andrew Lloyds Webber's blockbuster, The Phantom Of the Opera, (1988) Kander and Ebb's Kiss Of The Spider Woman (1993) and Jason Robert Brown and Alfred Uhry's Parade (1998). Prince also directed a major revival of Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein II's Show Boat in 1994. In 2003 Prince directed Sondheim and Weidman's Bounce which was produced in Chicago and Washington D.C. In 2007 he directed the Broadway production, Lovemusik, a musical biography of Kurt Weill and Lotte Lenya. Paradise Found opened in London in May 2010.

In addition to musicals and plays, Prince has also directed operas and two feature films, and appeared in many documentaries and tributes. In 1974 he published an autobiography, Contradictions: Notes on Twenty-Six Years in the Theatre.

Prince married Judy Chaplin, the daughter of composer Saul Chaplin, in 1962. They have two children, director Daisy Prince and conductor Charlie Prince.

From the guide to the Harold Prince papers, 1954-1999, (The New York Public Library. Billy Rose Theatre Division.)



Biographical notes are generated from the bibliographic and archival source records supplied by data contributors.

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SNAC ID:
27048523

Subjects:

  • Musical theater--20th century
  • Musicals
  • Musical theater -- New York (State) -- New York
  • Theater--20th century
  • Musical theater
  • Musical theater--Producers and directors
  • Theater -- United States -- 20th century
  • Musical theater -- United States -- 20th century
  • Musical theater -- Producers and directors -- United States

Occupations:

  • Theatrical producers and directors
  • Theatrical producers and directors--20th century--United States
  • Theatrical producers and directors -- United States -- 20th century

Places:

  • New York State (State)--New York (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)