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The Oracle is about to speak. He stands at the front of a small West Side rehearsal studio, facing his audience: young, fresh-faced actors and actresses; set and costume designers; directors and stage managers and writers and composers. A few minutes earlier, he had been greeting and hugging them and asking about their summers. Now it’s time to get down to business. The coffee-spiked chatter flat-lines.
    “I don’t have to tell you how important I think this whole journey is, and how exciting I think it is,” begins Harold S. Prince C’48 Hon’71, better known as Hal. “In the last month or so, there’s been an awful lot of publicity about new composers and new lyricists and new librettists—the need for the musical theater to find, identify and develop the next generation. And I think it’s wonderful that we’re right here at the right time.”
    He pauses for a moment and looks around, his still-vital visage framed by the trim white beard and black-frame glasses perched on his hairless pate.
    “I also can’t resist saying something,” he adds. “I happen to know that there are, in this room among you, a few people who have turned down very, very high-paying jobs on Broadway to do this. And not only do I celebrate that—but I think it’s the right priority!”
    Electric laughter, then applause. The collective adrenaline surges. The Oracle has offered favorable omens.

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