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Legendary Producer Hal Prince to Discuss the History and the Future of the Broadway Musical

Oct. 1, 2008

SELINSGROVE, (Pa.) -- Susquehanna University's Department of Theatre will present legendary Broadway producer and director Hal Prince Oct. 12 at 8 p.m. in Degenstein Center Theater. Prince is associated with many of the best-known Broadway musical productions of the past half-century. He has garnered 21 Tony Awards, more than any other individual, including eight for directing, eight for producing, two as producer of the year's Best Musical and three special awards.

Prince is known as the great modern producer-director of the American Broadway Musical. Critics have described Prince's work as helping to develop the "concept musical," in which production centers on an idea or metaphor that is explored through scenes and songs that do not unfold in a traditional sequential narrative style. His shows are known for their political context and new approach to romance.

Born in New York City , Prince attended the University of Pennsylvania at age 16, studying a liberal arts curriculum, and graduated at age 19. He began work in the theatre as an assistant stage manager to legendary theatrical producer and director George Abbott. Along with Abbott, he co-produced The Pajama Game , which won the 1955 Tony Award for Best Musical.

Cabaret hit in 1966 and 1970 marked the start of his greatest collaboration with composer/lyricist Stephen Sondheim. Their association spawned a long string of productions, including Company (1970), Follies (1971), A Little Night Music (1973), Pacific Overtures (1976) and Sweeney Todd (1979). He also directed two of Andrew Lloyd Webber's successes, Evita and The Phantom of the Opera. He was offered the job of directing Cats by Webber but turned it down.

Prince has also directed plays including Hollywood Arms, The Visit, The Great God Brown, End of the World, Play Memory and his own play, Grandchild of Kings, as well as several operas including Ashmedai, Willie Stark, Madame Butterfly and a revival of Candide.

In 2006, Prince accepted a Special Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre. The Harold Prince Theatre at the Annenberg Center of the University of Pennsylvania is named in his honor.

This evening honors the memory of Bruce L. Nary, professor of speech and theatre, who served Susquehanna with distinction from 1960 to 1991. The Dr. Bruce L. Nary Visiting Artist Program was established in 2005 to honor Professor Nary's love of teaching, his love of Susquehanna University and the significant contributions he made to the Department of Communications and Theatre during his 31-year career at Susquehanna. This program was established for the purpose of bringing to campus recognized professionals in the field of theatre. The Susquehanna University community is deeply grateful to Professor Nary's wife, Dorla, for honoring her husband in this very special way.

The lecture is free and open to the public; no tickets are required. For more information, call the Department of Theatre, 570-372-4300.

Contact: Gerald Cohen


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