The producer and director Harold Prince is one of Broadway’s best-known names. But he never actually wanted to be a producer, to hear him tell it.
“I didn’t want to be a producer at all,” Prince affirms in the inaugural episode of “Stagecraft,” Variety’s new theater podcast featuring in-depth interviews with the creators of the hottest shows on Broadway, Off Broadway, in London, and around the country.
“It was a gift horse; I couldn’t look it in the mouth,” he adds of the opportunity. “I ended up in George Abbott’s office at the age of 20” — that launched his long, storied career.
In conversation with Variety’s theater editor, Gordon Cox, Prince leads listeners through a career that includes landmark musicals from “The Pajama Game” to “West Side Story” to “Cabaret” to “Sweeney Todd” to “The Phantom of the Opera.” At 89, he’s still plenty busy, having directed “Prince of Broadway,” the revue of his work now playing through Oct. 29 at the Manhattan Theatre Club, and released a memoir, “Sense of Occasion,” which hit shelves last month.
He talks about both projects in the podcast, and reveals which of Broadway’s new musicals he thought was first-rate and why. He also mentions which recent revivals of his work he’s seen, which he hasn’t, and what he thought of Ricky Martin in “Evita.” He never saw the Roundabout Theatre Company’s long-running revival of “Cabaret” — and he has a very specific reason for skipping it.
In the book, he characterizes himself as easier to work with earlier in his career than later in it — but in the podcast he promptly contradicts that. “No! Did I really say that? It’s absolutely untrue!” he says. “Now I’m — oh, I’m a pussycat, for God’s sake.”