Baldwin, Cariou, Cudia, Jackson and O'Hara to Honor Prince

By Adam Hetrick
March 18, 2010

Kate Baldwin, Len Cariou, John Cudia, Cheyenne Jackson and Kelli O'Hara will perform as part of the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center's Monte Cristo Award gala honoring Tony Award-winning veteran director Harold Prince.

As previously reported, composer-lyricist Stephen Sondheim will present Prince with the honor on April 5 at Bridgewaters in New York City. Prince, who has earned a record-breaking 21 Tony Awards in his more-than-60-year career, earned six of his Tony honors from Sondheim musicals.

Marc Bruni will direct the performance that features Baldwin, who will star in the London premiere of Prince's latest stage venture Paradise Found; original Sweeney Todd and A Little Night Music leading man Cariou; and Phantom of the Opera's Cudia. Additional artists will be announced as part of the evening that also features Jackson (Finian's Rainbow, Xanadu) and O'Hara (South Pacific, Light in the Piazza).

Co-chairs include Angela Lansbury, Stephen Sondheim, Tom Viertel and Pat Daily; committee members are Lauren Bacall, Kate Baldwin, Pat Birch, Jerry Bock, Carol Burnett, Len Cariou, John Cullum, Michael Douglas, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Ellen Fitzhugh, Joel Grey, Sheldon Harnick, Stephen and Ruth Hendel, Shuler Hensley, Heather Henson, John Kander, Tim Kashani, Judy Kaye, Linda Lavin, John McMartin, Charlotte Moore, Terrence McNally, James Nederlander, Sr., Richard Nelson, Phyllis Newman, Mandy Patinkin, Tony Pontoro, Jordan Roth, Kevin Spacey, Elaine Stritch, Susan Stroman, Jonathan Tunick, Alfred Uhry, in addition to O’Neill founders George C. White and Betsy White.

The 82-year-old director is currently preparing his latest stage endeavor, the world-premiere musical Paradise Found, a new collaboration with Susan Stroman, who worked with Prince on the 1994 revival of Show Boat. Set to begin in May at London's Menier Chocolate Factory, the work is based on the Joseph Roth novel "The Tale of the 1002nd Night" and will have music by Johann Strauss Jr. adapted by Jonathan Tunick, with a book by Richard Nelson and lyrics by Ellen Fitzhugh.

Prince began his career in 1948 as an assistant stage manager, under the auspice of Broadway director George Abbot. After stage managing such musicals as Call Me Madam and Wonderful Town, Prince aligned with Robert E. Griffith to produce the musicals The Pajama Game, Damn Yankees, New Girl in Town, West Side Story, Fiorello! and Tenderloin. He began his directorial career when he took over for George Abbott on the troubled Kander and Ebb musical A Family Affair. He continued to produce with such musicals as A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum; Fiddler on the Roof; Flora, The Red Menace; and She Loves Me, which he also directed.

On Broadway, he has directed the original productions of 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.