Comedy legend Carol Burnett and fashion writer Eila Mell, who joined forces earlier this month for the campaign #TheMajesticisFitforaPrince, are taking their mission to the masses. Both Burnett and Mell appeared on Michael Kushner's theatre business podcast Dear Multi-Hyphenate to discuss the campaign, and what it takes to rally together the industry for a renaming.
Burnett shared stories of her friendship with director Hal Prince, and the ways in which their friendship helped her through the loss of her daughter Carrie in 2002 while working on her autobiographical show Hollywood Arms.
"Carrie passed away and I... Well, I'm her mom and I didn't want to get out of bed. And my husband—we're going into previews—said, 'Carol, you owe this not only to Carol but you owe it to Hal to finish.' It actually kind of saved me in a way, the fact that I had to finish the play while we were in previews. So, we're on the plane, my husband and I, to Chicago and I said a little prayer to Carrie. I said, 'I'm going to be doing this but I don't want to be alone. Be with me. Somehow be with me. I need a sign you're gonna be with me even though you're not present physically.' So we get to the hotel in Chicago, and Hal is already registered. And I walked into the hotel room and on the coffee table in the living room there was a huge bouquet of Birds of Paradise with a card that said, 'Welcome to Chicago. Can't wait to see you tomorrow for rehearsal, Hal.' And the Birds of Paradise were Carrie's favorite flower. In fact, she had a Bird of Paradise tattooed on her right shoulder. I called Hal and said, 'How did you know?' and he said, 'Know what?' I said, 'That that was Carrie's favorite flower.' And he said, 'I didn't. I just called down and said send up something exotic to Carol's room.' So I said, 'Whoa, thank you.' ... I told Hal, 'you're like the brother I never had.' And so he started calling me sis and I called him bro. That was a major connection for both of us."
Dear Multi-Hyphenate Episode 72: The Majestic if Fit for a Prince is now available wherever podcasts are downloaded.
Were The Shubert Organization—who owns the Majestic—to change the theatre's name, it would become the latest of several similar moves on Broadway. The Cort Theatre, soon to be home to Audra McDonald in Ohio State Murders, was recently rechristened the James Earl Jones Theatre, and the Brooks Atkinson, current home to SIX, is set to become the Lena Horne Theatre.