Prince of Broadway

There is no question that Hal Prince is a giant of Broadway as we know it today.  No question he has contributed to the artistry we see on every stage of The Great White Way.  No question he has influenced uncounted artists who perform, choreograph and direct there.  Manhattan Theatre Club has brought in a show to remind us of that to open their 2017-18 season.

The show is polished and astounding for doing all it does with just nine very talented performers.  It is ably directed and a stitched together pastiche of selections of songs from the many shows he has directed and produced.  I may quibble with which songs were chosen and which shows represented but I am sure they were constrained by the small cast and time available.  I was especially taken with the Tony Yazbeck version of The Right Girl from Follies.  Totally reworked to showcase his tap skills it is widely divergent from the original and wildly successful as a re-imaging.

While all the performances are top notch and it is a very enjoyable evening it feels oddly without a through line and more a grab bag of largely successful songs.  Unlike a composer or choreographer on which jukebox musicals are often based, a director (and especially producer) brings more varied skills to make each project a success.  There often is no single voice or style a director or producer uses.  Otherwise we would not celebrate his work, but pigeonhole it.  While I enjoyed the production it all felt a little random.  Do see it if you have the chance, if for no other reason than to argue with me about its merits.

Prince of Broadway

As always you can find more at http://www.walterthinnes.com and on Twitter @walterthinnes

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