By ROB LESTER**** Opening in NYC: Hal Prince saluted in The Prince of Broadway …..or do we mean Faith Prince who turns 60 this week (on Sunday)? Or The Student Prince, since that operetta’s composer, Sigmund Romberg, deserves to be (belatedly) our NiteLife Person of the Week since we just missed the 130th anniversary of his birth last week?
Or, wait! How can you “Give My Regards to Broadway” without the name Cohan? Should we be acknowledging George M. Cohan for some reason–because that “Yankee Doodle Dandy” wrote that song? He would not have even been a Broadway baby if not for his father—and sometime vaudeville co-star — Jerry Cohan, so should we be honoring his memory now since this week is the 100th anniversary of his passing?
But what Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, writer of the beloved book The Little Prince? A pilot, his plane sadly disappeared in early August of 1944, just a year after that classic was published? And the Broadway musical based on it disappeared, too — closing in previews. Or are you thinking of a fairy tale prince who was a character in a Broadway show, such as the one in Into the Woods, cuing that score’s song “He’s a Very Nice Prince”? Well, we’re not referring the late “artist formerly known as Prince” who died last year as “Prince of Broadway”; after all, he had only one song of his included in a Broadway musical — “1999” in Uptown—It’s Hot, which didn’t get such hot reviews, and closed quickly.
Hmmmm—whom to choose? Well, since our focus here at NiteLife Exchange is talking about “where Broadway meets cabaret,” we’ll take it on Faith that Miss Faith Prince will return to Broadway and cabaret soon and often. At the moment, her schedule includes sailing up the Rhine to entertain on a cruise in mid-August and will be making folks happy in Provincetown via appearances at The Art House on August 25 and 26 with Seth Rudetsky. And, after all, she is having a landmark birthday in August –and was even born in the similarly-named city: Augusta, Georgia. Happy Birthday to this terrific lady whose Broadway career includes starring in revivals of golden age musicals like Guys and Dolls, Bells Are Ringing, Little Me and current-era shows like 2008’s A Catered Affair, a Broadway affair that included others with one foot also in cabaret—its songwriter, John Bucchino, as well as Prince castmates Tom Wopat, Heather Mac Rae, and Kristine Zbornik. And more recently she floated into the aforementioned Mr. Rudetsky’s cheeky Disaster! Her cabaret shows A Leap of Faith and Total Faith were recorded live and released as CDs. She’s teamed up with Jason Graae for a cabaret act which they’ve performed around the map, including Feinstein’s/54 Below where I was reminded yet again what a superb performer Miss “Prince of Broadway” is.
Still, Prince of Broadway, filled with samples of shows directed or produced by Harold Prince (he is the director on this, collaborating with co-director/choreographer Susan Stroman, with previews beginning on Thursday, is nothing to sneeze at. And what great classics scores they have to sample—those great Sondheim shows, Fiddler on the Roof, The Pajama Game, She Loves Me, and that musical whose one-word title is one of our favorite words around here: Cabaret.