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Hey, Old Friend... Hal Prince Alumni Salute a Broadway Legend!

It's almost Prince time! Later today, Manhattan Theatre Club's Broadway premiere of Prince of Broadway, a musical celebration that highlights the extraordinary six-decade career of director and producer Harold Prince, will open at MTC's Samuel J. Friedman Theatre (261 West 47th Street).

Harold Prince is a legend in the American theatre - the acclaimed director and producer behind a long list of America's most iconic musicals and the winner of a staggering, record-breaking 21 Tony Awards. Now, he's bringing together six decades of magical moments in a new musical event, Prince of Broadway.

Over the years, Prince has worked with some of the greatest performers and creatives in theatre history on such shows as West Side Story, Fiddler on the Roof, Cabaret, Evita, Company, Follies, A Little Night Music, Sweeney Todd, The Phantom of the Opera and more. BroadwayWorld checked in with alumni from some of those shows, and they've shared messages for their pal Hal below!

Hey, Old Friend... Hal Prince Alumni Salute a Broadway Legend!

Judy Kaye- On the Twentieth Century (pictured above), The Phantom of the Opera

"Hal has been a mentor and friend since he cast me as Madeline Kahn's understudy in On the Twentieth Century. The moment he told me that he "wanted to create a role with me" all those years ago at a cast party that he and Judy threw for all of us still stands as one of the most memorable of my now 50 year career. Thank you Hal, for everything!"

Hey, Old Friend... Hal Prince Alumni Salute a Broadway Legend!

Tommy Tune- Baker Street

"Every show Hal Prince has directed has inspired me. From She Loves Me to LoveMusik, with every thrill in between... all of it has his Princely touch! HAL-lelujah!"

Hey, Old Friend... Hal Prince Alumni Salute a Broadway Legend!

Donna Murphy- LoveMusik (pictured above)

"We all know that Hal Prince is a true visionary and master in the craft of creating theater. But what was perhaps most striking to me in working with Hal, was that on top of that genius, was his incredible generosity as a human being and as an artist. We worked together on LoveMusik, a new musical that I had been a bit hesitant to do for two reasons: I wasn't anxious to be away from my then two-year-old daughter, and there would be the challenges that come with playing a recognizable icon like the legendary Lotte Lenya. But I tend to be seduced by a good challenge, and I just couldn't turn down the chance to work with Hal. He'd approached me about several earlier projects for which I hadn't been available, and I wasn't about to miss out on this opportunity.

Hal understood my need to be with my daughter as much as possible, and as a loving and proud parent himself, he indulged me in many conversations about Darmia's daily adventures. I remember when my assistant, Lindsay, brought Darmia to the theater during tech rehearsals, and Lindsay had explained to Darmia that they had to be very quiet inside the theater. Lindsay put her finger to her lips and said, "shhh" to make sure Darmia understood. They came in just as we were shifting into a break, and I made my way over to Darmia. Hal spotted us, came over and said, " Oh you must be Darmia! Hello! I've heard so-", at which point my 2 year old leaned into him, put her finger to her lips and very seriously interrupted him with an emphatic "SHHHHHH!!!" I started to tell Darmia that this was our director and we were on a break, and her eyes widened, and she repeated " SHHHHH!" Hal chuckled as Lindsay and I fumbled to explain; he was ahead of it. "Good for you Darmia,"he said. "You can come back anytime sweetheart." And he shook her hand and smiled as he made his way to the back of the house. She was always welcome at the theater, and we still joke about the day that Darmia told Hal Prince to be quiet.

It shouldn't have surprised me that Hal was so sweet with Darmia. In addition to parenting his own children, he is truly a father to all of his productions. He is compassionate, infectiously enthusiastic, and incredibly supportive and collaborative. He wants to know what you're thinking; he's excited by your ideas, by the uncharted territory you're exploring together, and he's exceptionally generous with his own thoughts and knowledge. During LoveMusik, Hal shared a lot of his personal memories of working with Lenya on Cabaret, and he did so with such obvious love for her. I was so moved by Hal's desire to honor Lenya, for our audiences to see her with the same love and respect he felt for her; yet without sentimentally softening her edges and complexity. I feel deeply honored that he trusted me to help him honor his friend. But that's what's so magical about Hal Prince: his profound faith in people and art- and the joy with which he embraces what can be accomplished in the invaluable connection between them."

Hey, Old Friend... Hal Prince Alumni Salute a Broadway Legend!

Lonny Price- Merrily We Roll Along (pictured above)

"I really don't think there is a single musical of any significance since the early fifties that Hal Prince hasn't either produced, directed, produced and directed or influenced. His imprint is simply everywhere. He worked with and encouraged the best writers of the day, and taught us what musicals could be. And, as his references were world theater (Kabuki for Pacific Overtures, German expressionism for Cabaret, etc.), watching his shows was enormous education for me growing up. He hired me as an office boy when I was fifteen! His influence on me as a director is beyond measure. And I love him."

Hey, Old Friend... Hal Prince Alumni Salute a Broadway Legend!

Abe Jacob- Sound design of Evita (pictured above)

"I first met Hal Prince in early 1978, in his Rockefeller Center office to discuss preparations for EVITA, which was going to open in London later that year. Of course, not only was it Hal's office but it was also George Abbott's. A little intimidating for a new Sound Designer, but a great opportunity to review the history of great musical theater up to that time. Hal, you were very easy to talk with and it was my great honor that you asked me to join you as the lone American designer on EVITA. We went on to do your production all over the world. It was the beginning of our relationship for many of your revivals at New York City Opera right up to this year's production of CANDIDE. My best creative experiences in theater always relate back to the experience of working with you."

Hey, Old Friend... Hal Prince Alumni Salute a Broadway Legend!

Brent Carver- Kiss of the Spider Woman, Parade (pictured above)

"Congratulations Hal- Working with you was a life changing dream come true; as your love for the theatre will ever be for millions around the world. I can no other answer make but thanks, And thanks, and ever quote a Master, if I may... Just Swell!"

Hey, Old Friend... Hal Prince Alumni Salute a Broadway Legend!

Linda Lavin- It's a Bird... It's a Plane... It's Superman, Hollywood Arms (pictured above)

"Dear wonderful, spectacular Hal, Congratulations and hurray!!!! Now more of the world will know how you changed the world!!!"

Hey, Old Friend... Hal Prince Alumni Salute a Broadway Legend!

Chita Rivera- West Side Story, Kiss of the Spider Woman (pictured above)

"Dearest Hal, Congratulations on this exciting time. It's still your time. Enjoy every moment. You'll always be amazing."

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