I love Faith a bushel and a peck –
You bet your pretty neck, I do!
It’s Faith Prince’s 65th birthday today, and there’s no better time to celebrate her fabulous Broadway appearances than today. While Prince has appeared in a few films and guest starred in numerous television shows, it is on the Broadway stage that many of her fans grew to love her. A phenomenal comedienne, Prince also plays her characters with a great deal of humanity, allowing audiences to fall in love with her as Adelaide, Anna and Aggie – or any other role she plays.
5. Bells Are Ringing (2001)
One of Prince’s most legendary roles was Ella Petersen in the ill-fated revival of Jule Styne, Betty Comden and Adolph Green’s Bells Are Ringing, a show during which all kinds of stories flew around the Internet about cheques bouncing before it shuttered after 68 performances at a loss of about $7 million. The reviews were mixed, but Prince had great reviews and earned a Tony nomination for her performance. On the telecast of that awards show, she delivered one of those performances that routinely pop up in conversations as a favourite. Her performance of “I’m Going Back” was an uninhibited smash!
4. Little Me (1998)
I’m pretty sure the person who thought it was a good idea to cast Martin Short in a Broadway revival of Neil Simon, Carolyn Leigh and Cy Coleman’s Little Me imagined the show would be a hit. It wasn’t – and the reviews left nobody unscathed. The show is a bit of a bomb, albeit one with some catchy tunes. The parts of the older and younger Belle Poitrine, usually split between two performers, were combined for Prince in this revival, likely to bolster the role into a role that matched her talent. While having very little to play insofar as the character was concerned, Prince received praise for putting her numbers across with her usual style and comic timing. Watching her take on the title song, it occurs that it’s a pity that she didn’t get to lead a Broadway revival of Mame around the same time.
3. A Catered Affair (2008)
Harvey Fierstein and John Bucchino’s A Catered Affair is an intimate, character-driven story that gives Prince a showcase for the kind of skill she doesn’t always get to show off. There’s no schtick, character-driven or otherwise, for her to pull off here. Instead, she plays a layered character whose experience of planning her daughter’s wedding is so human that one can’t help but empathise but her and think about the choices we’ve made and the opportunities we may have missed. Prince was nothing less than the beating heart of the show. While it drew its fair share of negative reviews, there’s more to this show than what the reviews say there was. It should appear on more musical theatre fans’ “underrated” lists without question.
2. Jerome Robbins’ Broadway (1989)
Jerome Robbins’ Broadway was Faith Prince’s main stem debut, and time has treated her debut kindly. Taking on a couple of numbers from High Button Shoes and Gypsy, Prince traded tunes, patter and a couple of steps with Jason Alexander in “I Still Get Jealous” and brought down the house as Tessie Tura in “You Gotta Have a Gimmick.” What an introduction!
1. Guys and Dolls (1992)
Prince’s most memorable success was her performance as Miss Adelaide in the legendary 2993 Broadway revival of Guys and Dolls. Her take on the role is second only to the original production’s Vivian Blaine – perhaps – and she is simply incredible in the role. “Adelaide’s Lament” has followed her ever since, and she has performed the song in several concerts. A delightfully different take on the number appears on the album of Prince’s Joe’s Pub cabaret, A Leap of Faith. The marriage of this classic show and this talented-as-hell star is sheer perfection.
Prince’s other Broadway shows include the 9-performance flop Nick & Nora (her all-out performance in “Men” is a highlight of the cast recording) and Seth Rudetsky’s jukebox musical, Disaster! She has also done replacement turns in Annie, The Little Mermaid and The King and I. No matter the show, Prince brings something unforgettable to the table and whatever she does next is sure to be as memorable as everything she has done before!