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Hal Prince school project

Someone in a Tree2 Profile Photo
Someone in a Tree2
Broadway Star
joined:10/9/12
Hal Prince school project
Posted: 10/10/12 at 02:12pm
Just checked Clarke Dunham's design website for a great image or two of GRIND. They're there but of such low res that they fail to convey one tenth of the genius that was presented onstage in GRIND. The centerpiece was a turntable unit that contained the burlesque stage, its wings, FLY-RAIL and FLY-LOFT(!!) as well as a jungle gym of dressing rooms on multiple levels that surrounded the stage. (Two auxiliary winched turntables carried additional dressing rooms, stage door, etc.)

Now picture a 2-story tall image of a 30's showgirl backing the center staircase like a goddess in a temple. Now picture all those brick walls painted on SCRIM so the entire skeleton of the theater could bleed through to exterior views at the back. Best of all, the onstage backdrops for the burlesque scenes could raise and lower AS THE TURNTABLES TURNED from backstage to onstage and back again.

With apologies to Derek McLane, just imagine if a set like Clarke's could have been used in the recent revival of FOLLIES! Lordy what a missed opportunity.
EricMontreal22 Profile Photo
EricMontreal22
Broadway Legend
joined:10/31/11
Hal Prince school project
Posted: 10/10/12 at 03:33pm
Yes, I know not to bring up Kiss with Gaveston (Although, knowing the book but not the play, I found the film a much more troubling adaptation, myself).

Anyway...

Never thought to look up Clarke Dunham's site before. He calls Gring his best work, and even in those photos, it does look like a fascinating design (I believe the second of Gottfried's big Broadway Musicals coffee table books has one good shot of the stage as well that I've seen). He also says that now that he does model train exhibits (!) he's been too busy to do much theatre design, but based on Gring and the concept it makes more sense now that Prince would ask him to do the 1997 Candide.
Wilmingtom
Broadway Legend
joined:7/18/11
Hal Prince school project
Posted: 10/10/12 at 05:26pm
This may have been mentioned but Prince's primary influence was George Abbott, for whom he served as a stage manager and at whose feet he learned how shows are put together.
GavestonPS Profile Photo
GavestonPS
Broadway Legend
joined:6/10/12
Hal Prince school project
Posted: 10/10/12 at 06:22pm
No doubt Prince and everybody learned a great deal about clean technical staging and timing from George Abbott, but Prince was practically Abbott's opposite in taste and vision. I'd say Brecht, Meyerhold or certainly Robbins were bigger "influences" on Prince in the way we normally use the word.

But, yes, everybody built on Abbott's work and he maintained an office in Prince's suite up into the 1980s. They were close.
GavestonPS Profile Photo
GavestonPS
Broadway Legend
joined:6/10/12
Hal Prince school project
Posted: 10/10/12 at 06:23pm
P.S. to Eric: the FILM of KISS is another argument entirely. But whatever its many limitations, at least it doesn't condescend to Puig in the way the stage musical does.
EricMontreal22 Profile Photo
EricMontreal22
Broadway Legend
joined:10/31/11
Hal Prince school project
Posted: 10/10/12 at 08:12pm
I'd actually argue that. But I saw the musical first, then read the book and THEN saw the film which made me quite mad. I probably should re-evaluate them before trying to make any defence for my feelings.

I was going to say the same thing about Abbott. Influence is probably not the word I would use, as you really don't see much influence at all in terms of what's on there on stage--but things like worth ethic, and importance of collaborators, etc, were probably partially instilled by his association with George.
GavestonPS Profile Photo
GavestonPS
Broadway Legend
joined:6/10/12
Hal Prince school project
Posted: 10/10/12 at 08:25pm
The same may be said of Jerome Robbins and Bob Fosse, I suspect. They didn't get their theatrical visions from Abbott, but it's very unlikely they learned nothing from working with him.

(P.S. re KISS film: I agree that Hurt was badly miscast and very busy overacting. But at least the screenplay respects the political and aesthetic themes of Puig's book. The straight play is pretty straight-forward: just the two men and maybe an interrogator or two in the second act.)

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