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Why stage legend Hal Prince is called the ‘Prince of Broadway’

Hal Prince has been making his mark on

Hal Prince has been making his mark on Broadway since the 1950s. Photo Credit: Getty Images / Jemal Countess

It is hard to think of any living person who has had a greater impact on the Broadway musical than 89-year-old director and producer Hal Prince, whose prolific and unparalleled career spans the early 1950s to the present day.

Prince’s diverse body of work is being celebrated in “Prince of Broadway,” a revue directed by Prince himself, with co-direction and choreography by Susan Stroman and music arrangements and new songs by Jason Robert Brown. Now in previews, the show officially opens Aug. 24.

Here, we look at highlights of Prince’s career.

1950s: After working as an assistant to director George Abbott, Prince made his forays into producing with the hit musical comedies “The Pajama Game,” “Damn Yankees” and “Fiorello!” He also produced the original Broadway production of Stephen Sondheim’s “West Side Story.”

1960s: In addition to producing hits like “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum” and “Fiddler on the Roof,” Prince began to work as a director. He made his mark with “Cabaret.”

1970s: Prince and Sondheim worked together on five straight musicals that are universally recognized as masterworks: “Company,” “Follies,” “A Little Night Music,” “Pacific Overtures” and “Sweeney Todd.” With “Evita,” Prince also began his collaboration with Andrew Lloyd Webber.

1980s: The disastrous original production of “Merrily We Roll Along” marked a tragic end for the Prince-Sondheim partnership. After a string of flops (“A Doll’s Life,” “Grind,” “Roza”), Prince bounced back with “The Phantom of the Opera.”

1990s: Prince continued to tackle difficult material including “Kiss of the Spider Woman” and “Parade.” He also staged a largely reworked revival of “Show Boat.”

2000s to today: The Kurt Weill/Lotte Lenya bio-musical “LoveMusik” was, if not a success, at least interesting.

Prince took a stab at Sondheim’s long-in-development musical about the Mizner Brothers, which later came to New York under the title “Road Show” and under a different director.

“Prince of Broadway” runs at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre through Oct. 22. 261 W. 47th St., manhattantheatreclub.com

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