Belfast Telegraph

Elaine Paige remembers ‘giant’ Hal Prince after his death at 91

He directed Paige in Evita.

Elaine Paige has paid tribute to Hal Prince (Matt Crossick/PA)
Elaine Paige has paid tribute to Hal Prince (Matt Crossick/PA)

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.

“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.

PA

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