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Interview: Irish Repertory Theatre Gears Up to Celebrate Hal Prince at 2022 Gala

The evening will include performances from some of Hal's most legendary shows including Cabaret, Sweeney Todd, Fiddler on the Roof, Company, West Side Story and more.

Interview: Irish Repertory Theatre Gears Up to Celebrate Hal Prince at 2022 Gala

For its 2022 gala, Irish Repertory Theatre will present A Celebration of the Musicals of Harold Prince, this season's annual Gala benefit production. The evening will take place at The Town Hall on Monday June 13, 2022, at 7pm.

At the event, Irish Rep will also honor Loretta Brennan Glucksman with Irish Repertory Theatre's Visionary Leadership Award in recognition of her philanthropic support of Irish communities and her tireless work in promoting Irish culture and heritage in the US and around the world. Irish Rep also celebrates Artistic Honorees Linda Fisher and David Toser, whose costume designs have brought to life hundreds of characters in more than fifty productions over the last 33 years.

Additional performers and presenters for A Celebration of the Musicals of Harold Prince will include

The star-studded event will feature appearances from Tony Award winner Len Cariou (Sweeney Todd), Emmy and Tony Award winner Glenn Close (Sunset Boulevard), Oscar and Tony Award winner Joel Grey (Cabaret), Tony Award winner Chita Rivera (Kiss of the Spiderwoman), Tony Award nominee Michel Bell (Showboat), , Ciarán Sheehan (The Phantom of the Opera), Tony Award nominee Max von Essen (An American in Paris), Kaley Ann Voorhees (The Phantom of the Opera), Donna Kane (Meet Me in St. Louis), and DeLaney Westfall (The Streets of New York).

The evening will include performances of selections from Hal's legendary oeuvre, which includes The Pajama Game, Damn Yankees, Fiddler on the Roof, West Side Story, Merrily We Roll Along, Cabaret, Company, Follies, A Little Night Music, Sweeney Todd, The Phantom of the Opera, Evita and more.

Hal Prince's fearless creativity effectively created the American musical theater scene we know today. His risk-taking was rewarded with a record 21 Tony Awards. On this special evening, Irish Rep remembers its pal through his groundbreaking musicals and celebrates his legacy as a friend and collaborator - a leader who lifted up young artists and new endeavors. Hal and his wife Judy were two of Irish Rep's earliest champions, helping them to become the company they are today; Hal went on to serve on the Irish Rep Board for more than 30 years, and adapted and directed Grandchild of Kings for the theatre in 1992.

The Gala performance will be directed and arranged by Charlotte Moore (The Streets of New York) with musical direction by John Bell (Meet Me in St. Louis).

BroadwayWorld sat down with Ms. Moore and Irish Rep Producing Direcror Ciarán O`Reilly to get the scoop on the stars, the songs, and what fans can expect from this celebration of the father of the modern musical, the great Hal Prince. Read excerpts from our conversation below.


As we know, Hal was a champion of Irish Rep as well as a longtime board member. How did he become involved with Irish Rep?

Charlotte: Well, we were friends, but one day in our office, the telephone rang and I think Ciarán picked it up or I did, and it was Mr. Prince asking us if we would be interested in presenting or working with him on something he had arranged and written and we looked at one another and said, "Oh, would we really be interested in doing something with Hal Prince?" And, we looked at one another and yelled, "Yes!"

Once you picked yourself up off the floor.

Ciarán: [laughs] Exactly. I have to say, we were very careful and it took us like three...seconds to say yes. [laughs[

What was that experience of working with Hal like? Was he everything you hoped he would be?

Charlotte: And more.

Why did now feel like the right time to celebrate Hal and his legacy?

Charlotte: Well, because of the pandemic, I didn't think Hal's demise was really fully celebrated and acknowledged. Because he was such a good friend to us and had been for so long, I thought it was appropriate for us to do so. I am very, very excited and proud that we are doing it; that we are, by God, the ones who are doing it coming out of the pandemic. We're celebrating Hal Prince.

The lineup looks incredible. You've got some of Hal's most luminous colleagues stopping by including Joel Grey, Chita Rivera, and Len Cariou. How has it been bringing these folks together to celebrate Hal?

Charlotte: It's very exciting. And all of the people who are participating love Hal and are as excited about the coming together of us all as we are. Everybody is looking forward to very much to the evening.

At this year's gala, there are several honorees including Loretta Brennan Glucksman, who will receive the Visionary Leadership Award. Tell me more about Loretta and why she's been chosen for this honor.

Ciarán: Loretta has been a force of nature in the Irish community in New York for the past 25 or 30 years. She has thrown herself into so many causes over the years and one of them was us, She is a major, major supporter. In addition to Irish Rep, she has Glucksman Ireland House, which she formed at NYU, there's the Glucksman Gallery in Cork. Almost every bit of Irish life in New York for the past 25 years, Loretta would've had her finger in there somehow or other with her generosity. We're also really good pals, she she's come to nearly every opening night we've ever had. She's been our champion.

Then we have Linda Fisher and David Toser who will be honored for their work as longtime costume designers with the company. Tell me more about them.

Ciarán: David Toser and Linda have collectively done about, I don't know, 65 shows at Irish Rep. That's a lot of buttons [laughs] that's a lot of thread over the last 30 years!...They love, love, love what they do and they want to get it right. They will be the ones you'll find at 2:00 AM with a needle and thread fixing that piece of underwear that nobody sees, you know?

I'm sure folks will be sharing some good Hal stories that night. Do you have a favorite story or memory of Hal?

Charlotte: Well, I was appearing in a play in Hartford, Connecticut at the Hartford Stage Company, and my agent arranged for me to have an audition for Hal. So, I came into New York City on the bus from Hartford and went to the theater where Follies was playing. I walked onto the stage without any accompanist or idea that I was supposed to sing! And they asked me to sing and I burst into tears with embarrassment. These two people rushed up on the stage to help me, and it was Hal Prince and Stephen Sondheim. The end of the story is a year later, I got a call in Hartford from the Hal Prince office and they said, "Mr. Prince is on the line." And I hung up on them. I thought it was joke, but they called back and this voice said, "Don't hang up. It's Hal Prince." And he offered me a job. So, not so bad. [laughs]

Thank God he called back! So, what can we look forward to at the gala? I know we have an amazing lineup and there's gonna be performances from some of the greatest musicals ever written. Can you give us any little sneak peek into what people can expect from the gala?

Charlotte: Well, the opening, the very opening of the musical period will be Joel Grey, who was a very good friend of Hal's and he will be talking a bit about Cabaret...and that's all I can say.

Ciarán: He will welcome us all. [laughs] It's a night of legends, you know? We're celebrating legends, for legends and with legends. So it's going to be a big night.

Charlotte: We're also celebrating our return to the stage in New York City with people we think are wonderful and deserve all the accolades that we plan to give them.


Single performance-only tickets begin at $49 and are available now at irishrep.org/gala. The performance will be preceded by a private cocktail hour and followed by dinner at Bryant Park Grill (25 West 40th Street). VIP Gala Event Packages start at $500. For more information, please contact Irish Rep at 212.255.0270 or email development@irishrep.org.

In accordance with policies currently followed by Broadway and other performing arts venues, masks and proof of vaccination will be required to enter The Town Hall. Guests may remove their masks for the dinner and cocktails at Bryant Park Grill. Any change to these policies will be communicated via email and at IrishRep.org.



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