Faith Prince is the very definition of a Broadway legend.
She’s won a Tony Award—for Best Actress in a Musical, in 1992, for her role as Miss Adelaide in Guys and Dolls—and has been nominated for three others. She also has four Drama Desk Award nominations, and earned the New York Nightlife Award in 2012 for Outstanding Musical Comedy Performer with Jason Graae in The Prince and the Showboy. In other words, she has nothing left to prove—yet she says she’s still learning and tackling new challenges.
Prince will perform at the Purple Room at 8 p.m., Friday, Nov. 1. During a recent phone interview, she talked about making the move from New York to the West Coast.
“I’m very beholden to New York and will always honor it,” she said. “It helped me discover who I was as a human, but there is a time to let go and explore other things. It’s about balance. I never thought I’d be a West Coast person, but I like it. I love the weather, and as I’m getting older, I’m learning to honor where I’m at.”
She added with a laugh: “When I do go back to the city, I go, ‘Oh, I know you.’”
Prince still frequently performs both on the theater stage and TV, including recent roles on Chicago Justice and Modern Family—but she spends a lot of her time teaching these days.
“There is no one way in—which is how I view spirituality. You take and listen to what speaks to you,” she said. “I’m a life coach for artists, and I have students all around the world. I listen and mirror and get them to trust themselves. Some lack the base, so I literally sit in the sandbox with them. I ask, ‘How does that feel?’ It’s about getting a plan and listening—listen, don’t teach. That’s where the magic is. They have the answers.”
Prince was born in Georgia and raised in Virginia.
“My grandmother supported me a lot. She made me know I was really seen and heard—and since I was seen and heard, I trusted my instincts,” Prince said. “I was trepidatious as a child. … I ran into an old acting teacher of mine many years ago, and she said, ‘I cannot believe how you preserved all these years.’ My teacher was surprised, because I was so green when I started. But I was a steel magnolia: I had tenacity, and I had perseverance, mixed with instincts. … The thing I’m proudest of is I never stop growing, and I wake up with a lot of energy every day, because I enjoy what I do and who I am. This is something that needs to be taught how to do. It’s a process.”
Prince’s Tony Award came for her work with Nathan Lane in the 1992 revival of Guys and Dolls. She said there was a lot of laughter during the show.
“I love getting broken up (laughing). I’m the fucking worst!” Prince said. “What I love even more is breaking other people up. I used to make Nathan giggle all the time. He was so tuned into the audience, and I would tell him to relax and tune into me. I would say, ‘We aren’t curing cancer; let’s have fun!’ So I loved finding ways to break him up. There is nothing more fun than breaking up another comedian or actor live.”
While Prince has returned to New York and Broadway here and there in recent years, she has focused most of her energy on working on the West Coast. After a Tony and three nominations, why did she leave Broadway behind?
“When I moved to L.A. and started acting on TV, it was weird to have the weekend off, but that’s what gave me the time to explore my one-woman show and start my master teaching classes,” Prince said. “I never felt such joy. I slept better due to being connected to myself. Now I have 100 Skype and Facetime students of all ages, and I’ve taught a master class at Duke. I’m going to write a book that will be practical based on things I’ve learned.”
I asked Prince if there was anything left on her career bucket list.
“I want to play Laurette Taylor. She was the first Amanda in Glass Menagerie,” Prince said, referring to the stage and silent-film great who lived from 1883 to 1946. “She was quiet and unique. I want to do a one-woman show on her!
“Oh, and I want to do Hello Dolly because I am co-dependent—and so was Dolly!”
Prince said her fans can expect a unique show at the Purple Room.
“The one thing I want everyone to know is I just so appreciate my fans. I am so appreciative of all the support throughout the years,” she said. “… You can always expect storytelling, jazz, Broadway tunes—and the occasional merengue!”
Faith Prince will perform at 8 p.m., Friday, Nov. 1, at Michael Holmes’ Purple Room, 1900 E. Palm Canyon Drive, in Palm Springs. Tickets are $40 to $50, with dinner reservations (minimum $25) at 6 p.m. For tickets or more information, call 760-322-4422, or visit www.purpleroompalmsprings.com.