May is a mad month. A month of random musings about various topics related to musical theatre. Feel free to share your thoughts on each topic in the comment box below.
Who is Your Favourite Musical Theatre Director on Broadway?
This poll asks you to pick one of nine directors of musical theatre on Broadway – or the “other” option, if that is your wish – and to share with us the reason why he or she holds that place in your esteem in the comments box below.
Mine is Harold Prince, particularly for his work from Cabaret through to The Phantom of the Opera. During that 20-year period, in muiscals such as Company, Follies, A Little Night Music, Pacific Overtures Sweeney Todd and Evita, he helped extent the bounderies of what could be achieved onstage in a musical. At his best, he is unmatchable. (Check out the book Harold Prince and the American Muiscal Theatre if you want to see more reasons why.)
Of all time? I’m going with Tom O’Horgan. Musicals like Rent and Spring Awakening owe a lot to his presentational style of staging, seen to best effect in shows like Hair and Jesus Christ Superstar, which busted open wide the doors of Broadway and brought in some much-needed fresh air. I consider Tom my personal hero, and my biggest influence with regard to getting into theater.
When asked what prompted him to direct a Broadway-bound musical (Hair) after years of Off-Broadway work, including Tom Paine at Stage 73 and critically acclaimed direction of outstanding productions at Cafe La Mama, which had netted him the 1967 Obie Award for director of the year and the 1968 Brandeis Award for Creative Arts, and gained him the nickname of “high priest of Off-Off-Broadway” (bestowed by Cue Magazine), he had this to say:
I find it fascinating how eerily relevant, even now, his words are, in my opinion, to the current theater scene. George Bernard Shaw once said, “Must then a Christ perish in torment in every age to save those that have no imagination?” I say to that, no, but we could sure do with another Tom O’Horgan.
Check out this related article at BroadwaySpace: “The Top 10 Broadway Directors of All Time”.