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Playbill Online's Brief Encounter's Q&A with Faith Prince

Demure and Brassy Mix

What's Wrong With This Picture?

Faith Prince at Joe's Pub

My Favorite Broadway: The Leading Ladies

Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella

Reading Rainbow

Camp Broadway

Faith Sings for Skaters

Gentlemen Prefer Broadway

Faith Prince's Tony Experience

UC Gives Princely Welcome to CCM Grad

Demure and Brassy Mix (With a Cherry on Top)

By Stephen Holden

Faith Prince wants us to know that she is a very different creature from her signature stage role, Adelaide, the flouncing, jouncing New York tootsie of "Guys and Dolls." As she reiterated several times at Monday's opening night performance of her smart new cabaret at Joe's Pub (the show plays two more Mondays), at heart she's really just a wholesome Southern gal (from Lynchburg, Va.) who paid a lot of dues in summer stock before leaping to Broadway.

The most vivid anecdotes in this well-written show revolve around a tent-theater production in Sacramento of "On a Clear Day You Can See Forever," in which she played opposite Jack Jones and also met her husband, Larry Lunetta, a trumpeter in the orchestra. Mr. Lunetta is on hand at Joe's Pub to spice up several of Alex Rybeck's inventive piano arrangements wit his moody horn playing.

The nightclub personality Ms. Prince displays is an intriguingly complex mixture of the demure and the brassy. The facets of herself that she reveals include a Southern nostalgist (Dave Frishberg's "Sweet Kentucky Ham"), a jolly, self-deprecating life of the party (Johnny Burke and Jimmy Van Heusen's "I Have to Do It the Hard Way"), a small-town girl with big-city dreams ("The Other Side of the Tracks," from "Little Me") and a faux-naif kook (Murray Grand's "I Always Say Hello to a Flower").

Like many theater singers, Ms. Prince is at her most self-assured when opening up and aiming her distinctively piercing voice toward the last row. At these moments, she suggests the stage equivalent of a billowing ice cream sundae with tangy lemon topping. Although vocally less secure when singing softly, Ms. Prince still conveys an engaging amiability that even extends to the sadder songs.

It isn't until the end of the show that she trots out the inevitable "Adelaide's Lament," bit in this version it becomes a zany, jazzy number that reimagines the character as a campy 90's swinger. That song and an unexpectedly touching version of Rodgers and Hammerstein's "Something Wonderful" done in the voice of Adelaide are the tasty cherries applied to that billowing sundae with lemon zest.

What's Wrong With This Picture?

Reviewę by Richard Gist

December 17, 1998

A sad comedy about life and death in Brooklyn, this Donald Margulies play -- "What's Wrong With This Picture" -- opened this week with a rapidfire succession of laughs that comes from a slick dialogue surface that makes Margulies one of today's hot American playwrights. The promise shown in the opening sequence of events, however, loses its steam by intermission time, and never quite recaptures it by evening's end. Despite some entertaining characterizations and an even-handed direction by Benjamin Fishman, the comedy is too lacking in depth to be remembered much beyond the Jewish Community Center parking lot on the way home.

With the lighting of the Yahrzeit memorial candle at the opening curtain, Artie Nessbaum searches for personal meaning following the loss of his mother (killed by choking on a plate of moo shu at a Chinese restaurant) and having to face a despondent father (Mort). Oddly, Artie shows hardly any remorse, and the family rehashes his being reprimanded for reacting to the rabbi for a fill-in-the-blanks approach to the burial services.

At the shiva, we meet the rest of Artie's immediate family -- in addition to his dad, there is his sister Ciel and his paternal grandparents, Bella and Sid. The interaction among this marginally dysfunctional family in turmoil is at times highly amusing, but nowhere close to the level of a Neil Simon play, which is the obvious model for comparison, and never with much of an element of believability.

There are enough amusing moments in this play to make it worth seeing, but higher expectations will have to be held in check for this minor work by a playwright whose promise has been better established in other efforts, like his Pulitzer Prize finalist play Sight Unseen.

Faith Prince at Joe's Pub

by Lyrthealvr

Last night was Faith Prince's cabaret debut. She decided to make it at Joe's Pub here in NYC, which is where Audra McDonald unveiled her new CD last fall. I don't know if many of you have been there, but it's a great room. Dark, sensual, hip. From midnight to 4 a.m. it's one of those hip places for drugs and sex that so few of us know firsthand. I certainly don't. The room itself is possibly the best in New York in a building that's a century old. Very high ceiling. Great lighting and sound equipment. A great space to perform in.

Anyway, Miss Prince came on through the audience singing "The Happy Wanderer" a song I didn't know, the first of a number of songs from the world of vintage popular music of the 1950s. Not that I know much about that world. And then she began to tell us her story. Mostly her offstage story.

About working in summer stock and regional theaters before her Broadway debut in Jerome Robbins' Broadway in 1989. About meeting her husband Larry Lunetta, a trumpet player, while onstage at the Sacramento Music Circus with Jack Jones. About constantly being mistaken for a New York Jew when she is really a Presbyterian girl from Lynchburg, Virginia. Probably because her name is Prince, as in Hal. (By the way, Faith's director is Daisy Prince, Hal's daughter. Faith is no relation.)

Sounds a little banal the way I tell it. But it was charming and engaging and really funny. We got to know her and she's someone you really like spending time with.

At the top of the evening she said, with any luck, I'll go out a Broadway performer and come back a saloon singer. And she did it - there were a couple of moments where I thought "this is like Judy Garland in 'A Star Is Born'." Especially when her husband was playing trumpet in numbers with her like "A Man With A Horn".

Stuart Ross conceived the evening (Forever Plaid). Alex Rybeck (Jeff Harnar) was the musical director. Let me see if I can tell you the songs: From Broadway she sang "Is It A Crime?" (from Bells Are Ringing, a perfect show for her), "It's Lovely Up Here" (from On A Clear Day, another show I'd like to see her do), "If I Were A Bell" (from Guys and Dolls in a jazzy version with Larry riffing on trumpet). But there were a lot of saloon singer numbers too: both torchy and intimate, the sort of stuff I'm not familiar with except once she starts singing it seems oh so comfortable and familiar - in the best possible way.

And of course a lot of showbiz people were in the audience, many of them from the cabaret world: in random order, Liz and Ann Hampton Callaway, Jeff Harnar, Leroy Reams, Heather and Sheila McRae (sp?), the Broadway producer of RENT Kevin McCollum, Jeff Calhoun (choreographer of Annie Get Your Gun), Alexander Chaplin (her co-cast member from their TV series "Spin City" and Daisy Prince's husband). Who else? I'm sure I'm missing some people.

There's one more show tonight at 8:30. I hear there are some tickets available but I imagine the word of mouth will sell it out this afternoon. Then, apparently, Miss Prince comes back to Joe's Pub in September for 3 Mondays as part of the Songbook Series.

Faith Prince was made for cabaret and solo concerts. You gotta see her! I'm so glad I was there.

Faith comes back to Joe's Pub for three Monday's in September - the 13th, 20th and 27th. Also, in the meantime, she is continuing to work on her new act in Sag Harbor at the Bay Street Theatre for one performance on August 17.

My Favorite Broadway: The Leading Ladies

By Charles Isherwood

September 30, 1998

(Concert; Carnegie Hall; 2,804 seats; $ 250 top)

A Continental Airlines presentation of a Metropolitan Entertainment Group and Continental Airlines production of a concert in two acts. Directed by Scott Ellis. American Theater Orchestra conducted by Paul Gemignani. Reviewed Sept. 28, 1998. Running time: 2 HOURS, 45 MIN.

With: Nell Carter, Lea DeLaria, Linda Eder, Jennifer Holliday, Anna Kendrick, Judy Kuhn, Priscilla Lopez, Dorothy Loudon, Rebecca Luker, Marin Mazzie, Andrea McArdle, Audra McDonald, Liza Minnelli, Debra Monk, Rosie O'Donnell, Faith Prince, Karen Ziemba.

In a swirl of sequins, velvets, bugle beads and the occasional palate-cleansing tuxedo, a heady lineup of Broadway's distaff stars rising, risen and en-route-to-legendary paraded their talents at Carnegie Hall Monday night in a benefit for AmFAR and Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS that was also taped for broadcast on "Great Performances."

The nearly three-hour concert, presented by co-producer Continental Airlines, was an often intoxicating display of vocal artistry that might only be faulted for its overabundance: How much rich dessert can one be expected to consume in an evening? Hearing Jennifer Holliday tear into her signature song from "Dreamgirls" followed by the potent comic astringency of Elaine Stritch saluting "The Ladies Who Lunch" was like capping a hot fudge sundae with a heaping helping of tiramisu.

Not that I'm complaining.

Special guest females Robert Morse and Tony Roberts opened the show in period drag with "Beauty That Drives a Man Mad," a snazzy song from the Jule Styne-Bob Merrill musical "Sugar," based on "Some Like It Hot," in which Morse and Roberts starred as the stage counterparts of Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis. But from a gracious introduction by Julie Andrews straight through to a land-of-a-thousand females finale, it was wall-to-wall divas, among whom we can even count tux-clad, pompadoured firecracker Lea DeLaria, giving a jazzy taste of the upcoming "On the Town."

The evening was commendable for its celebration of such up-and-comers the absence of established names Patti LuPone, Bernadette Peters and Betty Buckley, to name a few, gave these aspiring performers more time in the spotlight. Audra McDonald, with three spots and three gowns (one for each Tony?), growled out a delightfully sharp-edged rendition of "Down With Love," among the few rarities on offer (from Harold Arlen and E.Y. Harburg's "Hooray for What!").

Her "Ragtime" co-star Marin Mazzie sang a sultry "Bewitched," while both were later joined by Judy Kuhn for a best-of-Lloyd-Webber-love-ballad medley ("Love Changes Everything," "Unexpected Song" and "I Don't Know How to Love Him," which blended together with rather illuminating ease).

Linda Eder's Streisand-esque power-pop style blazed distinctively from her songs, "Jekyll & Hyde's" "Someone Like You" and the title tune from "Man of La Mancha," and was a marked hit with an audience that was appropriately unstinting in its enthusiasm for all the performers.

Breaking up the string of solo belting turns was "Show Boat's" "Life Upon the Wicked Stage," sung with tongue-in-cheek wit by "High Society's" young Anna Kendrick, backed by the dissolute dames from the Roundabout's "Cabaret." The number teetered on the edge of tastelessness, as Kendrick, in perky pigtails and pink party dress, mimicked the lewd chair-straddling antics of the Kit Kat Klub chorines, but this young performer's startlingly precocious grasp of irony served to bring down any raised eyebrows.

Also leavening the ballad-freighted evening were two choice comic segments from Faith Prince: her memorable "Adelaide's Lament" and "I'm Going Back," from "Bells Are Ringing," both models of vocal wit.

Among the more seasoned performers, Dorothy Loudon's tremulously touching song from "Ballroom," Dee Hoty's angular elegance cutting through Sondheim's "Could I Leave You?" and Debra Monk's exuberantly vulgar tramp number from "Steel Pier" stood out. Andrea McArdle, who might be called a young veteran, looked smashing in red velvet, and brought an aching sense of loss to the easy optimism of her "Annie" medley of "Look for the Silver Lining" and "Tomorrow."

Closing out the evening were Holliday, whose signature vocal pyrotechnics were probably the only thing capable of upstaging her hairdo (picture Mount Vesuvius, modeled in gold ribbons, frozen in mid-eruption), and the inestimable Stritch, herself a simmering volcano of sarcasm.

But in an evening of vocal excellence, it's sad to have to report that Liza Minnelli's contribution was almost heartbreaking. Valiant and generous though it was for her to participate, she looked unwell, and struggled to keep her strained voice in control through a most unhappily chosen "Sing Happy." She then got through "Some People" on sheer willpower and on the palpably felt good will of the audience.

It's to be hoped that a genetic predisposition toward comebacks will kick in, and this once-impeccable performer can again attain the high standard of vocalism so marvelously displayed throughout the evening, a standard she herself has helped set.

Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella

From "Happy Talk" the Online R&H Newsletter

When I began working here at R&H, my first assignment was to oversee the re-working of Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella. Actually, it wasn't a re-working; it was undoing a version and bringing the show back to what Rodgers& Hammerstein originally wrote. The premier of this "new" version took place at the Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera. All of this happened several years ago, but it has been in my thoughts recently for a number of reasons.

One reason is that playing Joy in Pittsburgh was a performer unknown to me at the time. She was funny then, and she is funny today. She's also become an extraordinary artist - which began to evidence itself when she played a delicious Carrie Pipperidge in an ambitious Carousel at the Kennedy Center in the mid '80s. Today she is Lou Diamond Phillips' new Mrs. Anna in The King and I on Broadway and her name is, of course, Faith Prince. She managed to sweep the New York critics off their feet when they came to see her in the award-winning production this Spring. In the midst of a very busy Broadway season, it was particularly gratifying to have The New York Times critic Ben Brantley tell his readers that Faith was reason enough to make a return visit to the show.

If there's a lesson in these musings it's that you should never second-guess which production of which show in which place will have ramifications for the future. I went to Pittsburgh that summer as the new kid on the block to help solve some problems with CINDERELLA. It boggles my mind to realize that years later, I would see cast member Faith Prince in high-profile Rodgers & Hammerstein production. Closing the circle, Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera is presenting our "re-worked" Cinderella once again this summer.

Nosey Mrs. Rat

Author: Jeffrey Allen

Illustrator: James Marshall

Narrated by: Faith Prince

Description: When does a healthy curiosity become annoyingly nosey? When you have a nosey neighbor! NOSEY MRS. RAT takes a humorous look at snooping around, and shows how an investigative mind can lead to great discoveries. In an informative interview, primatologist Dr. Jane Goodall, explains how her own curiosity helped her become a leading scientist in the study of primates.

Camp Broadway

Camp Broadway Salutes Girl Scouts of the USA

News and photo tip for Wednesday, June 11 at 12:45pm

"The King and I" helps Girl Scouts earn theater badge. Former Girl Scout, Faith Prince renews her pledge.

Who: Faith Prince, Tony Award-winning star of Rodgers and Hammerstein's THE KING AND I will join Margie Joy Walden, Membership & Program Consultant for The Girl Scouts U.S.A., the children who play the Royal Princesses in the production, and Carol Chiavetta, Marketing Director for Dodger Endemol Theatrical Productions, to announce a special summer promotion that enables tri-State area Junior Girl Scouts to earn their "Theater" badge and Cadette and Senior Girl Scouts to earn recognition for completing "The Play's the Thing" Interest Project.

What: Camp Broadway is a performing arts program for children 10-17. In addition to an annual summer camp in New York, which will be held this year August 11 through August 16, Camp Broadway sponsors theatre related activities and arts education programs. Camp Broadway continues to support the Girl Scouts of the USA badge program both in New York and in select cities throughout the country.

Where: Neil Simon Theatre, 250 West 52nd Street, Lower Lobby

Skaters Tribute to Broadway Show and Post Show Reception

Philadelphia 1998

Act I:

Then, Klimova and Ponomarenko skated to "Hello Young Lovers" from The King and I. Faith Prince sang live. They skated to non-depressing music that was a nice change.

Act II:

Even though the program said that all the skaters would have another number together in the beginning of this act, there was none. First up was Caryn Kadavy skating to "Take Back Your Mink" from Guys and Dolls. Really cute number. This was the other number that Faith Prince sang live (and this time she was standing closer to the ice.) For this number, Caryn wore a black mink (obviously), a black hat, and pearls. In the middle of the number, she takes the hat and pearls off, and rips the mink off to reveal a different costume. Drove the audience nuts. :-) Caryn did fall on her double axel in this program, though.

Gentlemen Prefer Broadway

SMC brings the glitz and glamor of the Great White Way to the Emerald City this June in Gentlemen Prefer Broadway, a rousing collection of smashes from boffo hits like The Lion King, Fiddler on the Roof, Phantom of the Opera, Guys and Dolls and others.

Sharing co-hosting duties for the show are two of Broadway's brightest stars: three-time Tony winner Harvey Fierstein (Torch Song Trilogy, La Cage aux Folles) and Faith Prince, whose celebrated performance as Miss Adelaide in Guys and Dolls earned her the Best Actress, Tony, Drama Desk and Outer Circle Critics Awards in 1992. In addition to solo turns and the duet Do You Love Me? from Fiddler on the Roof, Fierstein and Prince salute two of the shows that have marked their careers. Adelaide's Lament and Sue Me from Guys and Dolls highlight the second half of the show, and the evening closes with an emotional The Best of Times from La Cage aux Folles. The two stars bring real Broadway legs to the celebration, a night of music which will also include favorite songs like Circle of Life (from The Lion King), Broadway Baby (from Follies) and Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again (from Phantom of the Opera).

The last time Seattle audiences got to hear Fierstein's distinctive gravelly voice and the men of SMC together on stage was in 1993's Cole Porter review Swellegant Elegance, which went on to become one of the Chorus fans' favorite shows. "Harvey brings great presence and style, not to mention an incredible rapport with our audience - it's wonderful to have him back with us," said Dennis Coleman, SMC's Artistic Director.

"While we're thrilled to see the return of our old friend Harvey, we're quite excited at the prospect of making a new friend," Coleman said of Prince. "She's already a legend in New York City, performing in some of Broadway's hottest shows, so she'll undoubtedly be quite a hit with our audience." Since this will be Prince's first time performing with the Chorus, you can expect the men to roll out the red carpet to welcome her to the stage at Benaroya Hall.

Of course, the Chorus will delight the audience with clever twists and song selections that will both amuse and remind you of some of theater's most poignant moments.

Tickets to Gentlemen Prefer Broadway for the June 5, 1999 8pm performance in Bellingham at the Mt. Baker Theatre are $20 to $50. For tickets and information, call 360-734-6080. Note: Ms. Prince and Mr. Fierstein will not perform this date.

Tickets to Gentlemen Prefer Broadway for the June 12, 1999 8pm performance in Bremerton at the Admiral Theatre are $12 to $17. For tickets and information, call 360-373-6743. Note: Ms. Prince and Mr. Fierstein will not perform this date.

The 46th Annual Tony Awards, hosted by Glenn Close on May 31, 1992

by Scott Susong

Guys and Dolls is nominated for 8 Tony Awards and takes home 4:

Best Revival

Best Scenic Design, Tony Walton

Best Director of a Musical, Jerry Zaks

Best Actress in a Musical, Faith Prince

Faith's fellow nominees were:

Jodi Benson, Crazy for You

Josie de Guzman, Guys and Dolls

Sophie Hayden, The Most Happy Fella

The presenters for Best Actress in a Musical were

Alan Alda and Sigourney Weaver

Faith's Tony Acceptance Speech

(Alan Alda announces Faith the winner for Guys and Dolls. The audience goes wild Faith throws back her head and kisses her husband and tearing up walks to the stage as the orchestra plays Luck Be A Lady Tonight. The audience is still wild, whistling and cheering. Faith accepts her award, waves to the balcony, smiles in disbelief and throws a kiss to the audience with her left hand. The audience won't stop applauding. Faith shakes her head and throws two more kisses to the audience and bows her head . . . they finally quiet down. Faith lets out a big sigh.) This is why I eloped! (The audience laughs.) I'm not very good at ceremonies, Umm. (Then more seriously) I have a lot of people to thank. I'm sorry Joe Cates, when you get your first Tony (Showing it) . . . you just have to! (Faith flashes a big smile and the audience applauds) Forty years ago Frank Loesser, Abe Burrows, and Joe Swerling wrote an incredible show and an incredible role, Miss Adelaide. I thank them. I thank Jo Sullivan Loesser for letting us do it this season on Broadway. I thank my producers, my director, Jerry Zaks for giving me this great chance and for believing in me and guiding me with such genius. His assitant, Lori Steinbergh (Someone in the audience shouts out and the audience applauds. Faith smiles.) All right, Lori! Chris Chadman, for creating the illusion that I can dance (laughter) and Linda Haberman for making sure that I do. I'd also like to thank the design team, Tony Walton, William Ivey Long, Paul Gallo, David Lawrence, for hair, Woody Shelp, for my wonderful hats. Phoebe Hunter, my dresser, who is my right arm. I couldn't do what I do every night without her. And an incredible, impeccable cast lead by my partner, I'm bonded at the hip, (Faith begins to tear up) Nathan Lane. (Faith gestures toward Nathan and the audience applauds. Nathan is crying and Faith blows him a kiss and mouths I Love You.) Peter Gallagher, Josie De Guzman and a superb, superb cast. An orchestra lead by Eddie Strauss. And I couldn't be here without my agents Charles Bogner, David Shaw, and especially Peter Strain, who I have been with for 12 years. This has been an incredible time and he's shaped my career with such integrity and love. My husband, my new husband whose unsustained . . . love has been there for me and . . . uh . . . UH. I would have been crazy without him. And not . . . I couldn't thank my family (Sigh) for teaching me that, great passion mixed with perseverance and hard work pay off. And they were right! (Faith lifts her Tony in the air!) Thank you so much. (Faith smiles and exits left as the crowd goes wild again with applause.)

Faith had been nominated for a Tony once before in 1989 as

Best Featured Actress in a Musical:

Jane Lanier, Jerome Robbins' Broadway

Faith Prince, Jerome Robbins' Broadway

*Debbie Shapiro, Jerome Robbins' Broadway

Julie Wilson, Legs Diamond

UC Gives Princely Welcome to CCM Grad

Faith Prince visits Cincinnati to perform in 'The King and I' for Hayley Mills

By Brian Reynolds

News Editor

One of CCM's most successful alumnae returned to Cincinnati last week to strut her stuff in the touring production of The King and I.

Faith Prince, a graduate of the music theater program in UC's College-Conservatory of Music, reprised her role as Anna from Feb. 17-22 while Hayley Mills took a requested vacation.

Prince is no stranger to the role. She recently starred as Anna on Broadway in the current Tony Award-winning revival of The King and I and was more than excited to return to Cincinnati.

There were also no conflicts between Prince and the touring cast while Mills was away; she played the role with this cast for a stint in Pittsburgh.

Prince attended CCM from 1975-1979, in the relatively-new music theater program. Since her graduation, she has made her mark on the stage and on both the big and small screens. Prince's film appearances include My Father the Hero, Dave, The Last Dragon and Big Bully. She was a regular in the HBO children's series Encyclopedia and co-starred in the CBS/Warner Bros. comedy series, High Society.

Prince has devoted even more time to her passion, stage performances. She originated the role of Trina in Falsettoland, performed in Jerome Robbins' Broadway, and received the Tony Award, among several other honors, for her revival performance of Miss Adelaide in Guys and Dolls.

Never in her wildest dreams did Prince imagine she would play Anna in New York. Much of her auditioning success she attributes to CCM.

"I don't think if I hadn't had that type of confidence," according to Prince, "I wouldn't have gotten as far."

"Mrs. Anna" is not the outgoing, brassy character Prince is most known for playing, but she admires Anna's strength of character, and sees a lot of similarity in Anna and Adelaide.

In fact, Prince sung "Something Wonderful," a song from The King and I, for her Guys and Dolls audition.

Although Prince doesn't have personal experiences with other conservatories around the nation,

CCM's reputation precedes itself. She knows the training she received was top-notch "by the students that I know have come out of there." They are found throughout the entertainment industry.

At CCM Prince learned how to market herself, how to prepare material and how to take the pressure of being grilled intensely. (At CCM, students must appear before "boards" every two years, to ensure they are making progress in their course of study.)

One of the most important skills Prince gained from CCM is how to audition effectively. She advises students to "make sure your material is really tailored to your special gifts," and to their personalities.

"I never wanted to be on the cover of TV Guide," said Prince. "(This) kind of fame really costs you." Having a child, according to Prince, really let her know what is important, and she takes advantage of every minute she can be with her son.

Her advice to students is, "the same thing I would say to my son about life." If the students don't have a passion about something, they will fail, because any job in this life is going to be difficult. "I'd let him know where it's at," she said.

"I've never found anything to be as exhilirating as performing in front of an audience for three hours every night", she said.

Fans can currently see Prince as Claudia on the ABC series "Spin City."