Prince of Broadway's Ascension to Broadway Stalled
By Kenneth Jones
Prince of Broadway, the musical of a producer-director's lifetime — namely, 85-year-old Harold Prince's career in a retrospective revue — is in limbo. The show that borrows songs from many musicals helmed by 21-time Tony Award nominee Prince was previously aiming for a fall 2013 start on Broadway.
"Prince of Broadway will not be presented on Broadway this fall," a spokesman for the producers told Playbill.com on March 28. "It has proved impossible to coordinate the schedules of everyone involved in the show. It is not clear at this time when the production will move forward."
Playbill learned that in recent weeks cast members who had been invited onto the project were told the show was off, prompting a call to producers. The statement from the spokesman reflects the view of "all parties" — the producers and Prince.
Producers Steven Baruch, Marc Routh, Richard Frankel and Thomas Viertel had picked up the reins of Prince of Broadway, a conceptual musical look at the work of Prince, after the loss of its original producer.
The show was first announced for a fall 2012 start on Broadway, followed by Frankel-Baruch-Viertel-Routh's goal of fall 2013 (they announced that target in May 2012).
The production is directed by Prince, co-directed and choreographed by five-time Tony Award winner Susan Stroman, and features a book by Tony Award nominee David Thompson (The Scottsboro Boys).
Stroman has her hands full this year with the pre-Broadway tryout of Big Fish, now in rehearsals in Chicago, and its Broadway opening night Oct. 6; Stroman's schedule was not specifically mentioned as the reason for Prince of Broadway's stalling. Production participants who asked not to be named told Playbill that the $7-$11 million financing for Prince of Broadway could not be secured in time for the fall window, and that leaders told them that the show is more than dormant — it's dead.
Here's how the show is billed: "Celebrating one of the most influential and successful careers in the American theatre of the past 60 years, Prince of Broadway will look at the circumstances and fortune, both good and bad, that led to Hal Prince creating some of the most enduring and beloved theatre of all time, including The Pajama Game, West Side Story, Fiorello!, Fiddler on the Roof, Cabaret, Company, Follies, A Little Night Music, Sweeney Todd, Evita and The Phantom of the Opera, the longest-running show in Broadway history."
The musical will feature words and music from many of the shows that have earned Prince a record 21 Tonys.
The creative team includes Tony-nominated scenic designer Beowulf Boritt, Tony-winning costume designer William Ivey Long, Tony-winning lighting designer Howell Binkley and Tony-nominated sound designer Jonathan Deans.
Musical supervision, incidental music, vocal and dance arrangements are by Tony Award winner Jason Robert Brown, orchestrations are by Don Sebesky and musical direction is by Eric Stern.
Performers attached to the show as of March 2012 included Tony winner Shuler Hensley, Tony winner LaChanze, Caroline O'Connor, Josh Grisetti, Amanda Kloots-Larsen, Emily Skinner, Sierra Boggess, Linda Lavin, David Pittu, among others. Though these actors were not mentioned in May 2012, they were still on Prince's wish list. (It was always known that a change in production schedule might prompt casting changes, due to artist availability issues.)
The producing credits of Frankel-Baruch-Viertel-Routh Group include the Broadway productions of The Producers (2001, Best Musical Tony), Hairspray (2002, Best Musical Tony), Sweeney Todd (2005), Company (2006, Best Revival Tony), Gypsy (2008), A Little Night Music (2009) and The Norman Conquests (2009, Best Revival Tony), among other titles.
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