Broadway legend at Lyric
Jan. 1, 2016
STUART – Faith Prince is a true Broadway star. She made her Broadway debut at the age of 32 in “Jerome Robbins’ Broadway,” for which she was nominated for a Tony Award. She won a Tony for her portrayal of Adelaide, the perennial fiancée, in a 1992 revival of “Guys and Dolls.”
She was nominated for Tony Awards twice more, for “Bells are Ringing” and Harvey Fierstein’s “A Catered Affair,” in which she starred with Lyric visitor Tom Wopat.
In addition to frequent appearances on Broadway, Prince has been seen on television in “Spin City,” Huff,” “Grey’s Anatomy,” and “Drop Dead Diva” and on the big screen in “Dave,” “My Father, the Hero,” and “Picture Perfect.”
Prince comes to the Lyric Theatre Feb. 7 for “An Intimate Evening.” She spoke from her California home about Adelaide, her leading men and her upcoming Broadway show.
Prince said that choosing a favorite role was like picking a child.
“They’re kind of like your children,” she said. ‘”You love each one for a different reason. Adelaide is my milieu, my wheelhouse. It’s that kind of rooted, heightened role with humor and pathos.”
She has the same kind of problem identifying a favorite leading man. How can you when you’ve worked with Martin Short, Nathan Lane, Jerry Stiller, Adam Arkin, Jason Alexander, Tom Wopat (five times!) and, for her new show, Kevin Chamberlin.
“All my leading men are friends,” she said. “I love them but we have a great stage relationship. There’s a great bond and love, but the power and chemistry is on the stage. When you’re young, you say, ‘I’ll fall in love with a person’ and it doesn’t work so well. Falling in love with a leading man is not the smartest.”
Prince studied at the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music. She performed off-Broadway and in regional theater for 10 years before getting her first Broadway show. She considers herself and actress who sings, rather than a singer who acts.
“I’m a storyteller,” she said. “It’s the story for me and the reason to have sound. You’ve got to have the story.”
Prince came to cabaret singing a little later in her career and now she teaches others how to put together as good cabaret production.
“It’s really fun,” she said. “I wish I’d had a ‘me.’ First, I ask them how they’re connected to the material, what are they drawn to? When you start sifting through, many have had a career. I’m working with Brooke Elliott, my daughter from “Drop Dead Diva.”
“I’m a gatherer. I ask questions. I tell them to sift through their lives for the ‘aha’ moments. It gives someplace to start. Then I ask about the ‘shoulda, woulda couldas,’ things they wanted to do. What music affected you and how did you get into musical theater? People have to get to know who you are.”
Prince talked about a two-person tribute to composer Jerry Herman that she did.
“It was through our eyes,” she said. “It was about how he affected us and our insights into him. You can do a tribute, but I’ve still got to know you. The audience wants to know the person.”
Doing an interview is a bit like that. I asked Prince about moving from New York to California when her son was young. She had been doing a lot of Broadway and was gone most evenings.
“He said, with no malice, ‘Do you think you could put me to bed before college?’ We moved to L.A. and changed our life. I took on more television and film.”
That son is now 20, and while his proud mom no longer tucks him into bed, she talks about how he wants to be a music producer. Prince and her husband, a musician, didn’t try to influence him.
“We led him to every other place,” she said, “You have to find your own drive. He said that at the end of the day, we loved what we do.”
Up next for Prince is a new Broadway musical,
Disaster!” It is a parody of the disaster films of the 1970s, with four plots rolled into one and music from that era.
“It’s like Watching ‘Saturday Night Live,’” she said. “Everyone is outrageously comic, but all have humanity.”
The show opens in March at the Nederlander Theatre.
I asked Prince if she plans to retire any time soon.
“Probably not,” she said. “I’ll just get pickier.”
Faith Prince comes to the Lyric Theatre, 59 S.W. Flagler Ave., Stuart, Jan. 7 at 7 p.m. Tickets are $45. Call the box office at (772) 286-7827 or order online at www.lyrictheatre.com.