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West Side Story

Legendary Broadway Producer, Director Hal Prince Dies

A scene from "West Side Story" which Prince co-produced.
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REYKJAVIK, Iceland (CelebrityAccess) — Harold “Hal” Prince, the legendary Broadway producer and director, who brought some of the modern theater’s best-loved musicals, such as “West Side Story,” “Fiddler on the Roof,” and “Phantom of the Opera,” to life, has died. He was 91.

According to the New York Times, a spokesman for Prince confirmed his passing but did not provide a cause of death.

Prince, who won an astounding 21 Tony Awards over the course of his storied career, played an outsized role in shaping the modern era of musical theater.

Prince was also known for his collaborations, working with a veritable Broadway hall of fame, including luminaries such as Stephen Sondheim, Leonard Bernstein, John Kander, Stephen Sondheim, and Andrew Lloyd Webber, Bob Fosse, Susan Stroman, Jerome Robbins, Boris Aronson, Eugene Lee, and Florence Klotz, among numerous others.

Prince, who was born in Manhattan, graduated from the University of Pennsylvania and did a stint in the U.S. Army in post-war Germany, returned to New York where he began working as an assistant stage manager to theatrical producer and director George Abbott.

In 1962, Prince ventured out on his own, directing the John Kander musical A Family Affair, but failed to find commercial success until the debut of Cabaret in 1966.

Four years later, Prince struck a working relationship with composer Stephen Sondheim, marking a period of commercial and critical achievement, and spawning theatrical productions such as Company (1970), Follies (1971), A Little Night Music (1973), Pacific Overtures (1976), and Sweeney Todd (1979).

He also collaborated with Andrew Lloyd Webber, staging now-iconic productions such as Evita (1979) and The Phantom of the Opera (1986).

However, not everything Prince touched turned to gold and productions such as Merrily We Roll Along (1981) closed after less than 20 performances, Grind (1985), which closed after 71 performances, and A Doll’s Life (1982), which shuttered after scathing reviews and just five performances.

His final theatrical role was directing Prince of Broadway (2015) a musical revue featuring material drawn from his long career as a producer. The musical debuted in Japan but made its way to Manhattan Theatre Club’s Samuel J. Friedman Theatre in 2017.

In 2006, Prince was awarded a Special Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre. He was also the recipient of a Kennedy Center Honors award in 1994 and a National Medal of Arts in 2000.

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