Harold Prince Shares Wise Words on the Art of Producing for Broadway

There is perhaps no Broadway producer greater than Harold Prince, and he has some advice to share with producers everywhere. In Theatre Communications Group's American Theatre, Prince writes:

For those of you who agree that what the theatre lacks are creative producers, I see a rosy future. To achieve it, we must define what makes our product uniquely different from television and film and build on the living relationship of live audiences and live performances. Inevitably, no two performances are exactly alike, nor is the audience's response. It's complicitous, and far more engaging than sitting in a seat in a movie theatre or at your couch at home and "receiving" entertainment.

I would urge you to forget LED walls and holograms and settle on what stage scenery does best: invite imagination.

Choose material and subject matter that surprises and often takes place in surprising locations.

Don't clone last year's hit.

Certainly, there will always be products content to entertain, to amuse an audience for two hours of sheer pleasure. But, alternatively, you must honor that audience by engaging them in ideas, in controversy-by inviting them to think.

If there is one point I passionately want to make, not only for you producers, but for your investors-the often 50 people whose names appear above the title of a two-character play- it is this: There are greater profits to be realized in courageous, groundbreaking projects, and a lasting investment, not only in quality, but in financial rewards, when you think in terms of art.

Click here to read his full piece.

Harold Prince directed the original productions of She Loves Me, It's a Bird...Superman, Cabaret, Zorba, Company, Follies, A Little Night Music, Pacific Overtures, On the Twentieth Century, Sweeney Todd, Evita, Merrily We Roll Along, The Phantom of the Opera, Kiss of the Spider Woman, Parade and LoveMusik. He has also directed acclaimed revivals of Candide and Show Boat. Before becoming a director, Mr. Prince produced the original productions of The Pajama Game, Damn Yankees, New Girl in Town, West Side Story, Fiorello!, Tenderloin, Flora the Red Menace, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum and Fiddler on the Roof. Among the plays he has directed are Hollywood Arms, The Visit, The Great God Brown, End of the World, Play Memory and his own play, Grandchild of Kings. His opera productions have been seen at Lyric Opera of Chicago, the Metropolitan Opera, San Francisco Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Dallas Opera, Vienna Staatsoper and the Theater Colon in Buenos Aires. In 2006, he prepared a new version of Phantom which ran in Las Vegas at the Venetian Hotel for six years. His next musical, The Band's Visit, will open at the Atlantic Theatre Company in 2016. Mr. Prince is a trustee for the New York Public Library and previously served on the National Council on the Arts for the NEA. He is the recipient of 21 Tony Awards, a Kennedy Center Honor, the Eugene O'Neill Theatre Center's Monte Cristo Award and a National Medal of the Arts from President Clinton for a career in which "he changed the nature of the American musical."



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