Elaine Paige remembers ‘giant’ Hal Prince after his death at 91
He directed Paige in Evita.
Elaine Paige has remembered Broadway director and producer Hal Prince as a “formidable force” who was “bursting with energy” after his death at the age of 91.
The Evita director, who won 21 Tony Awards, died on Wednesday in Iceland after a brief illness.
Paying tribute to Prince on her Radio 2 show, Paige said: “He once said he loved big bold truthful theatre and for me personally working with Hal, the giant, the legendary director on Evita, well I remember him bursting with energy.
With a sad heart I say RIP to dear Hal Prince - The Prince of Broadway, my Prince of #Evita ... I owe so much to him. Sending love and deepest sympathy to his personal family and his theatrical family across the world. Hal, you will be missed by us all. pic.twitter.com/ZNluMSEbuK— Elaine Paige (@elaine_paige) July 31, 2019
“Quick of ideas and with his loud strident voice and commanding presence, frankly, he frightened me!
“He was a formidable force, a leader, a man of vision who knew exactly what he wanted.
“He could sum up a scene and the goals of each character in just a few sentences and without delay, we’d be on our feet, working, blocking the scene with haste.”
She added: “It was just mindboggling the way he worked, it was truly exciting and exhilarating. It really made your creative juices flow.
“His passion and leadership focused the mind. I absolutely trusted him and his good taste implicitly.”
On the verge of tears, she continued: “He taught me so much and do you know that every time to this day, 41 years on, that I sing Don’t Cry For Me Argentina, I hear his voice in my head, urging me to think of the song not as a beautiful melody, but as a political speech.
“‘Be forceful’ he’d say, “strong, look at the audience in the eye, look at them in the front row, make your point, i want you to get their support. I want you to galvanise them. Say to them ‘look at what i have here, believe in me, you can have these things’.
“And every time I sing that song, it must be, i don’t know, 100 times, I always hear his voice and remember his direction.”
Elaine Paige on Sunday is on BBC Radio 2 from 1pm to 3pm.