On Wednesday, July 31, Broadway lost a legend, when producer/director/writer Harold Prince died at the age of 91, in Reykjavik, Iceland, following a brief illness. To commemorate his life and work, Broadway theaters dimmed their marquee lights for one minute at precisely 7:45 pm. But like all legends, Hal Prince’s legacy lives on and his light will always shine brightly in the iconic shows he brought to life.
Born in Manhattan in 1928, Prince completely his Ivy League college degree at the University of Pennsylvania in just three years, at the age of nineteen. He began his work in the theater as an assistant stage manager to producer and director George Abbott. Over the span of his prolific career, he gained the distinction of being the individual recipient of the most Tony Awards in multiple categories in history, with a total of 21: eight for directing; eight for the Best Musical production; two as Best Producer of a Musical; and three special awards, including Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre (2006).
Among his innumerable credits and Broadway favorites are Damn Yankees (1955) and West Side Story (1957 and 1960) as co-producer; Fiddler on the Roof (1964) and Side by Side by Sondheim (1977) as producer; Sweeney Todd (1979), Evita (1979), The Phantom of the Opera (1986), and Kiss of the Spider Woman (1993) as director; Cabaret (1966), Zorba (1968), and A Little Night Music (1973) as both producer and director.
In addition to his record-breaking number of Tonys, Prince was awarded the National Endowment for the Arts’ American National Medal of the Arts in 2000, in Washington, DC (among his other prestigious honors), and also served as a former Chairman of the Board of The Broadway League.
According to his wishes, there will be no funeral service, but a memorial to honor Hal Prince is planned for the fall by New York City’s theater community.