Compiling a ranking of the 10 best Broadway musicals that have been touched in some small way by the incomparable director and producer (and, let us not forget, former stage manager) Hal Prince — whose storied career is celebrated in the musical-anthology show Prince of Broadway, now playing at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre — is a challenge. It’s easy for such a list to seem like a list of the ten best Broadway musicals, period. Prince’s contribution to the American theater is so vast, so elemental, that it feels a little bit like ranking the 10 best colors. A case can be made that green is a better color than yellow, but without both of them, the rainbow as we know it would cease to exist.
Still, I’m always up for a challenge, particularly one that will engage and perhaps, enrage, the show-biz multiverse known as my Twitter feed. Also: I am increasingly convinced that online lists are the only tool we have left to bring soothing order to an increasingly chaotic and senseless world. So why don’t we go for it? Avant!
10. The Phantom of the Opera (1986; director)
Let me tell you a story about a little girl. She was 6 years old, and growing up in Omaha, Nebraska. She had brown hair and a penicillin allergy, and her name was — well, her name isn’t important right now. Let’s just say that as painful as it would one day be for her to admit this in a pubic forum, she loved the Broadway cast album of The Phantom of the Opera. The electronic organ from the overture made her heart race. She named every single of one of her Barbies “Christine Daaé” for an uncomfortably long period of time. And she used to pore over a coffee-table book about Phantom‘s…