September 23, 2016

President of the Rogers & Hammerstein Organization Ted Chapin at Princeton University

President of the Rodgers & Hammerstein Organization Ted Chapin will engage in a conversation on the musical Follies with Broadway director John Doyle, a professor in Princeton University’s Lewis Center for the Arts, focusing on the work of the show’s producer/director Hal Prince and co-director/choreographer Michael Bennett. The discussion will take place on Monday, September 26 at 2:00 p.m. in the James M. Stewart ’32 Theater at 185 Nassau Street and is part of a fall course Doyle is teaching, “Luminaries of the American Musical Theater.” Presented by the Lewis Center’s new Program in Music Theater, the event is free and open to the public.

Doyle’s course focuses on seven icons of American musical theater in the past 60 years, specifically Michael Bennett, Bob Fosse, John Kander and Fred Ebb, Harold Prince, Jerome Robbins, and Stephen Sondheim. Students are examining the influences of these icons on the evolution of American musical theater by studying the scripts and performances of musicals such as Chicago and West Side Story, presenting new production ideas for these plays, and engaging in lectures given by visiting professional musical theater figures who worked closely with these masters.

ted chapin

Photo courtesy Ted Chapin

TED CHAPIN is the president of the Rodgers & Hammerstein musical theatre organization, which owns the rights to the canon of Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein’s iconic works such as The Sound of Music, Carousel, South Pacific, and Oklahoma!, along with other theatrical properties. Chapin also authored the award-winning book, Everything Was Possible: The Birth of the Musical Follies, after working as the production assistant on the Stephen Sondheim/Harold Prince musical Follies. Chapin has served as chairman of the board of trustees of the American Theater Wing, a musical director of the National Theatre of the Deaf, a Tony Awards nominator, associate director of the National Theater Institute, and producer of the Musical Theatre Lab in New York and at the Kennedy Center in Washington. He has also been a guest lecturer at Columbia University, New York University, and Yale University. Currently, Chapin is a member of the boards for Goodspeed Musicals, New Music USA, and New City Center.

JOHN DOYLE is a Tony Award-winning director recognized for his work on the Broadway revivals of Sweeney Todd and Company. This past year he received a Drama Desk Award as Best Director of a Musical for his revival of The Color Purple, for which he was also nominated for a Tony Award. His other credits in the U.S. include productions of The Visit (Tony nomination for Best Musical, Drama Desk nomination for Best Director); Mahagonny (Los Angeles Opera, 2 Grammy Awards); Passion (Classic Stage Company, Drama Desk nomination for Best Director of a Musical); Road Show (Public Theatre); Caucasian Chalk Circle (American Conservatory Theatre); and Kiss Me Kate (Stratford Festival Theatre). In addition to numerous credits in London’s West End, Doyle has also directed at Sydney Opera House, the Metropolitan Opera, Houston Grand Opera, La Fenice in Venice, Williamstown Theatre Festival, Second Stage Theatre, Princeton’s McCarter Theatre, and Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park. He has taught in Princeton’s Program in Theater and the Princeton Atelier for the past three years, and is the artistic director of Classic Stage Company in New York City.

john doyle

John Doyle. Photo by Catherine Ashmore

Doyle’s class will be hosting discussions on other American musical theater figures throughout the semester. On October 3, the Tony-nominated choreographer and director Graciela Daniele will visit to discuss her work as a performer in the original productions of Chicago and Follies and her work with Bob Fosse and Michael Bennett. On October 17, Tony Award-winner Donna McKechnie, who originated the role of Cassie in Broadway’s A Chorus Line as well as performing in the original casts of Promises, Promises and Company, will visit to discuss her Broadway career and her work with Michael Bennett and other choreographers. On November 7, Jonathan Tunick will visit to discuss his work as Stephen Sondheim’s main orchestrator. More guests are being scheduled for the second half of the semester. All these talks will be free and open to the public.

The series is supported in part by the David A. Gardner ’69 Magic Project in the Council of the Humanities.

The new Program in Music Theater is a collaboration among Princeton’s Program in Theater, Program in Dance and Department of Music, which brings together students, faculty, and guest artists in the creation, study, and performance of music theater to support and develop all forms of music theater—that is, any theatrical form that combines singing, acting, and movement—as both an artistic practice and a field of scholarly study.

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