Here are a few little pearls of wisdom from Evita’s esteemed director, the incomparable Hal Prince. Sourced from interviews and books, these quotes cover directing, design, awards and passion for the theatre. Enjoy!
I really don’t spend time thinking about the past. I think about the future. I’m not stopping.
I got into direction by turning down Hello Dolly!
I had no interest remotely in musicals. I thought they were silly.
There’s a huge sea change now in “who is your favourite dinner guest”. Never anybody who works in the theatre - a Hollywood star, a television reality star, a Kardashian. That’s a shame.
On Broadway, you are as good as the last thing you did.
I don’t think we should any of us just rest on our laurels. You have to deliver. I think it’s healthy that you have to deliver because if you don’t, you don’t probably strive for the quality you achieved at one point.
Something’s gotta take you out of your house and something’s got to invite you to communicate with live entertainment. And that’s what the theatre provides.
Despite the number of Tonys I have, you won’t see them. I’m very happy to have had them but I put them in a context that they belong. There are some shows I’ve done I should have won Tonys for and some shows I should have never have won Tonys for. That’s the nature of award giving - don’t take it too seriously.
I was incredibly shy and incredibly driven - I think a whole lot of my childhood made me escape into fantasy. I could conjure up a fantasy life that I wanted to live. I’m living that life, which is amazing.
There’s a choice a director often has: “do i just submerge myself, disappear into the material or do I find something in myself that connects me to it that makes it more personal?”
I would like the theatre to be that elevated experience that you don’t then equate with sitting in front of television set seeing a great HBO drama.
I love black boxes. Phantom Of The Opera is a black box - it’s a shiny enamel black box. The proscenium is probably the most elaborate piece of scenery in the whole show and then there is a beautiful table or chair or something but it’s spare and you’re always aware of empty spaces.
Popular music was theatre music … All that changed when music changed. Popular music be-came rock and roll [but] that opened the door to more interesting subjects. You were able to direct the musical into places like Evita.
...My book is called Sense of Occasion. I miss that. I miss the fact that you put on your best suit, your shirt your tie, and you go to theatre. Because it’s an EVENT. It’s not much of an event anymore. A lot of people are going but they are not treating it as an event.
I feel so much more comfortable when I’m working on material which makes other people scratch their heads and ask, ‘You’re going to make a musical out of that?’
I believe Evita is close to perfect.