As it turns out, musical theatre and cabaret star Faith Prince is no stranger to the Indianapolis area and may see lots of familiar faces in the audience when she joins fellow performers Andrea McArdle, Maureen McGovern and Donna McKechnie for “4Girls4: Broadway’s Leading Ladies” at the Palladium at the Center for Performing Arts in Carmel on Saturday, February 29 at 8:00 p.m.
The quartet of award-winning musical stars from Broadway, film, TV and various recordings will be backed by a trio with renowned singer-pianist Billy Stritch, who is also serving as their music director. McArdle is Broadway’s original “Annie,” and was in “Starlight Express” and “Beauty and the Beast.” Multiple Grammy-nominee McGovern starred in “Little Women,” and is best known for her #1 gold record, “The Morning After.” McKechnie is a Tony award winner for “A Chorus Line,” “Company” and “State Fair.” The concert is produced by Wayne J. Gmitter.
Prince is best known for her Tony, Drama Desk and Outer Circle award-winning performance as Ms. Adelaide in “Guys and Dolls.” She most recently stared on Broadway in the musical, “Disaster!” In 2014, she was Miss Hannigan in the 2014 revival of “Annie” and in 2008 she was in “A Catered Affair.” Her Broadway credits also include “The Little Mermaid,” “Bells Are Ringing,” “Little Me” and others. Prince recently toured Australia in her show “Moving On” and also “Over the Rainbow,” a concert celebrating the centennial of Harold Arlen. Prince also performs regularly with symphony orchestras nationwide.
Prince, who performed in 2016 at The Cabaret when it was at the Columbia Club, is familiar with Indianapolis due to a series of connections she has established here. I learned this recently when I spoke by phone with her from her home in the Hollywood Hills about her upcoming concert. “I am a big master-class teacher. I have lots of students around the country and really love that,” said Prince, who counts local singers Gail Payne, wife of Central Indiana Community Foundation (CICF) president & CEO Brian Payne, and Paula Dione Ingram among them. Ray Pfeil and husband Jim Luther are also friends. The couple divides their time between Key West and Indy and has sponsored Prince’s show at The Cabaret, where she befriended artistic director and CEO Shannon Forsell. Prince met Actors Theatre of Indiana co-founder Don Farrell at a University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music 50th anniversary party at Feinstein’s/54 Below in NYC. “He’s very talented. I hope we can do something together some time,” she said about her fellow CCM alum.
“People know us from different places and they are interested in us all four of us together. We are like a bouquet of flowers or a fruit basket. You’ve got kiwi, strawberry, orange, every kind. You have a good picking,” said Prince about her pairing with her concert co-stars. As far as their chemistry, she said, “We have done our acts for years. It is great for us to be together. It’s weird. We’ve all been through the process of Broadway, the pressure of it, the work ethic of it, and years of committing to it. We all get along.” Expounding on their bond, she said, “We have been through the fire together and you can tell. It’s a very specific pride we share. Our producer (Wayne Gmitter) is really great at creating a team. There is no BS, no weirdness, no competition. Everybody wants to do their best. We enjoy seeing each other. I feel very privileged to be in this tribe.”
Following an opening number, the four ladies will each perform a 20 to 25-minute set. Born in Augusta, Georgia and raised in Lynchburg, Virginia, Prince said of her set, “I tell stories. That’s my thing. I am from the South. There are storytellers down there. Years ago, when I put my first act together, I had told these stories at dinner parties and a friend at the time said, ‘You gotta tell the stories,’ and I said, ‘Really? I’ve only told these at dinner parties,’ and he said, ‘No, you got to tell the stories.’”
Enjoying a robust career, recent gigs have taken Prince to Oklahoma City, Key West, and Ashland, Oregon. Currently in L.A. for pilot season, she will soon teach a master class in Tampa, head back to California to perform “Broadway Legends: An All-Star Tribute to Harold Prince” at Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Orange County and then go to Chicago for two months, where she will perform in the role of diva Dorothy Brock in “42nd Street” at Lyric Opera.
When asked about her family (she is married to trumpeter Larry Lunetta,) Prince spoke very proudly about her son Henry Lunetta, 24, who is a music producer currently collaborating with his girlfriend, singer-drummer Elise Trouw, who is a major Instagram and YouTube star.
Wrapping up our chat, Prince and I had a brief discussion about fame. I asked her if she and her fellow CCM students, many of whom went on to have huge careers, sat around talking about being famous someday. “Some were into fame, but I wasn’t. It was more about the work. I wanted to make my living as a working actress and musician and so I got more than I bargained for. If I wrote a book, the title would be ‘Just Famous Enough.’ Most entertainers don’t care for it (fame) all that much, especially the really famous,” she stressed.
Before signing off with this warm, pleasant and engaging artist, I asked her what people can expect when they come to see “4Girls4.” She said, “Just a good time. You will not be disappointed. There is something for everybody. It is so entertaining. You will feel like you are in our living room. That is the beauty of it because you get to see us being us.”
For tickets and information about “4Girls4: Broadway’s Leading Ladies,” call 317-843-3800 or visit thecenterpresents.org.