How the Man With the Horn Settled Down With Broadway’s Favorite Doll

Showmance   How the Man With the Horn Settled Down With Broadway’s Favorite Doll
 
They may seem an odd couple at first, but trumpeter Larry Lunetta won the heart of Broadway’s beloved Faith Prince.
Showmance_Faith Prince and Larry Lunetta
Faith Prince and Larry Lunetta Stephen Sorokoff

If you ask Faith Prince about her husband, Larry, she’ll warn you that he’s shy—particularly compared to her own out-of-the-gate exuberance. But it’s only half true; Larry Lunetta is shy until he warms up and then his charm wraps you up cozier than a cashmere sweater.

The two are flip sides of a coin: Prince known for her bubbling, off-the-cuff interviews and big personality behind characters like her Tony-winning Miss Adelaide in the 1992 Guys and Dolls revival and Belle in Martin Short’s 1998 Little Me; Larry the more pensieve, easy-going musician who works with greats like Billboard-topper Paul Anka.

“He makes me laugh all the time,” says Prince. “In our neighborhood, the neighbors know him more than they know me. People think I’m the warm and fuzzy one. And that’s what I mean: There’s inconsistencies. We go together, but we’re odd. We’re really odd.”

Faith Prince as Ella Peterson in <i>Bells Are Ringing</i>.
Faith Prince as Ella Peterson in Bells Are Ringing.

“Most people look at us and they are like, ‘Hmm I don’t see you together,’” says Prince. “Then after they’re with us for awhile they go, ‘Oh my God. You’re perfect for each other.’” Both are passionate, loyal, and intensely intelligent at their chosen profession. Lunetta still serves as musical coordinator at Sacremento’s Music Circus, California Musical Theatre’s intensive summer season, where he and Prince first met.

The first person to recognize that this odd couple might just be a match made in musical theatre heaven was their mutual friend, Leland Ball. He directed the Music Circus’ 1987 production of On a Clear Day . Prince starred as Melinda Wells and Lunetta played in the orchestra. Naturally, Prince had sworn off men after dating a professional pilot—who she dubs “Mr. Oh So Wrong” in her cabaret act—but at Ball’s urging, she peeked down into the pit one day and spotted a handsome trumpet player. “I thought, ‘Ooh he’s cute. I wonder if that’s Larry Lunetta.’” She asked him out to lunch. The Music Circus shows were a ten-day gig (including rehearesals), but that was enough time for them to know something was there. “All I remember is that we stayed up talking that whole week,” says Lunetta. “We just had a lot in common even though we were very different,” says Prince.

But as so many industry romances, the two weren’t in the same place for long. Lunetta called L.A. home base, but often toured with Anka. Prince lived in New York. Still, at the same time they were falling for each other, Prince was falling for Sacramento.

Faith Prince and Nathan Lane in <i>Guys and Dolls</i>
Faith Prince and Nathan Lane in Guys and Dolls Martha Swope

Lunetta was born in the California capital, and his family—his father Stanley Lunetta, a well-known avant garde drummer and Music Circus musical coordinator—was still there. “I met his parents at the same time I met [Larry],” remembers Prince, “which I think is why I just felt safe. They’re really cool, good people. They’re just authentic.”

The two wed in 1992, ironically the same year that Prince “arrived” on Broadway as the theatre’s most “well-known fiancée.” Before she won her Tony Award for Guys and Dolls, The New York Times ran a story on the comedian which addressed her recent marriage to Lunetta with skepticism. “The rigors, perils and hard choices of stardom are yet to come,” wrote David Richards. But even when thrown against the rocky coast of fame, Prince and Lunetta stayed firmly intact. “I had always found Larry very grounding,” says Prince. “My marriage has been the most grounding thing in my life.”

Guys and Dolls was such a huge hit at that time,” says Lunetta, who continues to do musical consulting for Broadway shows and has recently worked with Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga. “Everybody wanted to do something with [Faith], but her life didn’t change. She’d already been working up to that point, so a lot of the things that you deal with in this career were there before then. The media looks at it like everything’s going to change in your life, and it changes, but not that much. She was already working that kind of schedule and getting a lot of attention from Jerome Robbins and things like that.”

Showmance_Faith Prince and Larry Lunetta
Henry Lunetta, Faith Prince and Larry Lunetta Courtesy Faith Prince and Larry Lunetta

“I was older too. I was like 34 when people were [asking], ‘Where have you been?’” adds Prince. “And I was like, ‘Honey I’ve been here.’”

Almost 25 years later and she’s still here, as is her marriage. The couple keeps a part-time home in Sacramento, where their son, Henry, follows in his father and grandfather’s footsteps by playing in the Music Circus pit each summer, but Prince often jets off to L.A. or New York for the right part. This weekend Prince stars as Ruth Sherwood in the L.A. Opera’s concert version of Wonderful Town, and this summer she and Larry join Playbill’s Broadway on the Rhine River cruise. “We certainly don’t have a life where we wake up every day and it’s exactly the same thing,” says Lunetta. “I think that’s good for a couple to have a lot of changes—to feel the come and go and always have something different going on.”

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