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Immersive Exhibit To Celebrate Hal Prince At Library For The Performing Arts

By: Aug. 12, 2019
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Immersive Exhibit To Celebrate Hal Prince At Library For The Performing Arts  Image

Few people have helped to define the American musical today more than Harold "Hal" Prince. His resume includes some of the most important titles of the past century: West Side Story, Fiddler on the Roof, Cabaret, Company, Sweeney Todd, and Phantom of the Opera. Prince's impact on Broadway stemmed from his reinvention of musical theatre from the script- and score-based model to a more visual, almost cinematic art form in which the director is auteur. But it also stemmed from his appreciation for collaboration and his trusted collaborators--talented friends and colleagues who could help achieve his singular vision for a production.

In the new free exhibition In The Company of Harold Prince: Broadway Producer, Director, Collaborator, The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts will explore Prince's creative trajectory, and showcase the team of designers, stage managers, press agents, composers, and writers he assembled to create so many history-making shows. In The Company of Harold Prince opens September 18, 2019 in the Library's Donald and Mary Oenslager Gallery and will be on display through March 31, 2020.

Curated by Doug Reside, the Lewis B. and Dorothy Cullman Curator of the Library's Billy Rose Theatre Division, the exhibition will display original costumes, set models, and archival video, and borrows from the aesthetic of immersive theatre, inviting visitors to pick up, examine and interact with reproductions of documents and objects from the Library's unparalleled collections. Facsimiles of the paperwork for Pajama Game and Damn Yankees will be scattered over a recreation of Prince's desk for visitors to look through. Digital recreations of stage manager Ruth Mitchell's scripts will be linked to thousands of never-before-seen photographs from the Library's collections. The exhibition will end with an open cabaret stage will allow visitors to perform songs from his shows or record their own stories about their experience with Prince's theatrical work.

"I had the pleasure of getting to know Hal over the course of planning this exhibition," said Reside. "Showing him initial designs and ideas about the direction of the exhibition was a thrill, as was hearing his stories about his career and the collaborators he so loved working with. We'd planned this exhibition believing that Hal would be here to enjoy it with us, and I'm so sad that that's no longer the case. The whole Library mourns the loss of our friend, supporter, and legend, and we're honored to celebrate his life and achievements through this exhibition."

A major highlight of In The Company of Harold Prince is an area devoted to his collaborations with set designer Boris Aronson. Aronson designed the sets behind some of Prince's most iconic productions, and many of these models, often constructed by Aronson's wife and design collaborator Lisa Jalowetz, have been recently restored and will be on view together for the first time public. Sets on display will include Fiddler on the Roof, Cabaret, Zorba, Company, Follies, Pacific Overtures, and A Little Night Music.

Other highlights from the exhibition include:

  • Recreation of Prince's office with George Abbott in Rockefeller Center
  • Prince's roulette wheel, which he kept in his office to illustrate that "theatre is a gamble"
  • Footage of Taganka Theatre's production of Ten Days That Shook The World, which deeply influenced Prince's aesthetic
  • Materials from the original production of Merrily We Roll Along, including cast newsletter, video of the original production, and the stage manager's script
  • Patti LuPone's "Buenos Aires" dress and wig worn during "Don't Cry For Me Argentina" from the original Broadway production of Evita
  • Original costume designs by Patricia Zipprodt for Fiddler on the Roof, and Florence Klotz for Show Boat

In conjunction with the exhibition, the Library for the Performing Arts will also present a series of free public programs.

In the Company of Harold Prince Public Programs**All programs listed below are free and take place at The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center located at 40 Lincoln Center Plaza. Programs are first-come, first-served unless otherwise noted. When indicated, advance registration can be handled online or in person at the Library's Welcome Desk beginning one month before the event. Visit for details.**

Thank You, Harold Prince
THURS, SEPT 19 | 6 pm
Advance registration required
Harold Prince changed theatre history. From A Family Affair (1962) to The Prince of Broadway (2018), his work as a director has innovated, provoked, entertained, and inspired. Throughout his career, he was also a generous mentor and supporter of new generations of theatre makers. The Library celebrates Prince's enduring legacy of theatre excellence with Scott Ellis, Susan Stroman, and Lonny Price.

Harold Prince: The Director's Life
MON, OCT 21 | 6 pm
Advance registration required
Lonny Price and David Thompson discuss and screen their documentary film Harold Prince: The Director's Life. In addition to archival clips, this fascinating performance-documentary includes interviews with many of Prince's renowned collaborators, including Stephen Sondheim, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Mandy Patinkin, John Kander, Susan Stroman, Angela Lansbury and others, all sharing their firsthand insights into his pioneering achievements in the theater.

Yes, Mr. Prince: An Evening with Harold Prince's Assistants
THURS, OCT 24 | 6 PM
Advance registration required
From 1960 to 1976, Annette Myers scheduled the appointments, transcribed the memos, and took down the messages, as her boss brought Cabaret, Company, Follies, and other legendary Prince productions to Broadway. For this special program, Meyers and other people who worked as Prince's assistant step out of the office and onto the stage to share their untold stories and insights on the making of theatre history.

Harold Prince's Library Jukebox
TUES, NOV 19 | 7 PM
Advance registration required
Join Thomas Z. Shepard, legendary record producer of dozens of Broadway's most beloved cast albums, for an interactive sound salon of Harold Prince Broadway hits. Choose your favorite show tunes from a menu of Prince musical numbers, listen to cast recordings, and marvel at rarely seen artifacts from the Library's unrivaled theater collections, including Jerry Bock's home recordings, Jerome Robbins' choreography notes, Stephen Sondheim's discarded drafts, memos, models, manuscripts, and more.

A Marriage of Two Modernisms: Boris Aronson and Lisa Jalowetz
MON, DEC 19 | 6 PM
Advance registration required
The spinning, Chagall fantasy of Anatevka...The tarnished, mirror-topped Kit Kat Klub...the Erector-set skeleton of city life...Director Harold Prince and artist Boris Aronson used scenic design as theatrical narrative. Behind Aronson's sets was a unique partnership with his wife Lisa, whose Viennese modernism complemented his Russian Constructivism. Cultural Historian Marc Aronson presents on the many layers of his parents' work.

Parade Reunion
MON, JAN 13 | 6 PM
Advance registration required
In 1997, Broadway's most famous and successful director, Harold Prince tapped the unknown composer Jason Robert Brown to write the score for perhaps the most challenging work he'd ever conceived: Parade, a complex musical tragedy about violence, anti-Semitism, and love through adversity. Brown and playwright Alfred Uhry reunite on the Library's stage to celebrate Prince and share memories of Parade.

Harold Prince Birthday Party, Sing Along Show and Tell
THURS, JAN 30 | 6 PM
Company, Follies, A Little Night Music... Phantom, Evita, Cabaret, Fiddler... Merrily! Sweeney! West Side! Oh my... Lend your voice to our Harold Prince celebration. Play games, win prizes, and sing along to live performances of beloved songs from Prince musicals.

Additional programs will be added through the duration of the exhibition. Please check for updates.