A Legendary Broadway Figure Is Dead at 91

Harold Prince won a record 21 Tonys
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 31, 2019 11:22 AM CDT
Broadway Giant Hal Prince Dead at 91
This Nov. 5, 1993 file photo, director Harold Prince, right, talks with choreographer Gillian Lynne during rehearsals for the upcoming San Francisco production of "Phantom of the Opera" in New York.   (AP Photo/Paul Hurschmann, File)

Harold Prince, a Broadway director and producer who pushed the boundaries of musical theater with such groundbreaking shows as The Phantom of the Opera, Cabaret, Company, and Sweeney Todd and won a staggering 21 Tony Awards, has died. Prince was 91. Prince's publicist said Prince died Wednesday after a brief illness in Reykjavik, Iceland, the AP reports. Prince was known for his fluid, cinematic director's touch and was unpredictable and uncompromising in his choice of stage material. He often picked challenging, offbeat subjects to musicalize, such as a murderous, knife-wielding barber who baked his victims in pies or the 19th-century opening of Japan to the West. "I don't do a lot of analyzing of why I do something," Prince once told the AP. "It's all instinct."

Along the way, he helped create some of Broadway's most enduring musical hits, first as a producer of such shows as The Pajama Game, Damn Yankees, West Side Story, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, and Fiddler on the Roof. He later became a director, overseeing such landmark musicals that also included Follies and Evita. Prince worked with some of the best-known composers and lyricists in musical theater, including Leonard Bernstein, Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick, John Kander and Fred Ebb, Andrew Lloyd Webber, and, most notably, Stephen Sondheim. During his more than 50-year career, Prince received a record 21 Tony Awards, including two special Tonys—one in 1972 when Fiddler became Broadway's longest running musical, and another in 1974 for a revival of Candide. He also was a recipient of a Kennedy Center Honor. (Click for more on his exceptional life and career, which also included work in the opera.)

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