For almost seven decades, director and producer Hal Prince has been responsible for some of the biggest hits in Broadway history. Now, his legendary career is being celebrated in a new show, "Prince of Broadway" which opened Thursday night at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre. NY1's Roma Torre filed the following review.
There is much artistry in "Prince of Broadway" and it's performed with immense talent. But given the bravura career of Harold Prince, whose work is celebrated in this musical revue, fans of the great director may be left wanting more.
As a producer and director, Harold Prince has earned his place at the pinnacle of Broadway's best. His 21 Tony Awards are the most won by an individual, and his credits include one classic after another: "The Phantom of the Opera," "Fiddler on the Roof," "Sweeney Todd," "Cabaret," "Evita" — the list goes on and on.
"Prince of Broadway," which he co-directed with Susan Stroman, is a fairly standard revue, featuring songs from 16 of his shows, along with some biographical tidbits. And while it's a great nostalgia trip, there's virtually nothing to explain how Mr. Prince turned those shows into such hits. Program notes tell us he had a lot of luck, but he's too modest. A show like this demands more insight.
Unmet expectations aside, it's a thrill to hear these timeless tunes backed by a 16-piece orchestra. And what a stellar company: Highlights include Emily Skinner's plaintive "Send in the Clowns"; Tony Yazbeck's dynamite solo tap performance and his fine vocals; Brandon Uranowitz's comedic shadings; Chuck Cooper's gorgeous baritone as a most unlikely Tevye; and my favorite: Karen Ziemba as that nutty pie maker in "Sweeney Todd."
It's worth noting that Harold Prince got his first job on Broadway in 1950 as an assistant stage manager in a show called "Tickets, Please!" It too was a musical revue. Writing in the New York Times, critic Brooks Atkinson said, "With no intention of being offensive, it is necessary to point out that "Tickets, Please!" is a very pleasant show."
My sentiments, exactly, with Mr. Prince's latest. A brilliant career seems to have come full circle.