The actor had another job that was incompatible:
In reality, Praed hadn’t been reclaimed by Herne the Hunter but had
taken a job on Broadway, making an eleventh-hour decision to quit
Robin of Sherwood in order to play d’Artagnan in a revival of Rudolf
Friml’s Three Musketeers musical.
Not the best of decisions, as it turned out:
Sadly, following a less than fulsome
review in the New York Times, the show closed after just nine
performances. That must have hurt?
“Obviously I wasn’t jumping for joy, but that’s the game,” he shrugs.
“It’s ruinously expensive to put shows on on Broadway, musicals
especially. There’s an awful lot at stake, and in those days you had
to get the New York Times review. It just had to happen. If you didn’t
get it, you closed. And we didn’t get it.”
But the kicker is why he'd made such a rash decision:
“When I was young, about 16 or 17,” he recalls, “I asked a very wise
old lady, ‘If you could pass on something to my generation, what would
that be?’ And she fixed me with her beautiful blue eyes – I can see
her now, with her intense stare – and she grabbed my arm and held onto
it, and she said, ‘Michael, in your lifetime, you’re going to have
three opportunities. Picture them as a bird with feathers. And what
you must do is grab onto those feathers, and hold on for dear life,
regardless of what happens. And you’ll know. You’ll know.’”
A dramatic pause. “I thought she was out of her f***ing mind!” he
laughs. “But she was serious. And when The Three Musketeers came
along, I thought, this is one of those opportunities.”
Though the play's failure didn't bother him that much:
“I’ve always been a great believer in chance for consequences.
Because, look, it tanked, and so you could say, ‘Well you kind of
f***ed up there, didn’t you Praed? You left that big hit show to go
and do that. What the hell were you thinking?’ But had it been a big
hit and I’d won a Tony Award, you’d be saying a different thing. So
the decision to do it wasn’t incorrect. It’s a fool’s errand to judge
an experience that’s been negative as invalid. Just because that show
didn’t work, that’s not life’s journey.
“Also, I now know what it feels like as a young man to open on
Broadway. I’ll never forget, after opening night, sitting in my
dressing room and taking it in. This mayhem that we’d been through – a
producer died during rehearsals, they fired a director. Crazy shit
happened on that show. I made my entrance from the back of the stalls…
on a horse. It was crazy. And I remember thinking, whatever happens,
it’s been fun.”
He went on of course to score a major role in one of the most popular dramas of those days:
If that experience was crazy shit, it was nothing compared to Praed’s
next engagement on glossy US supersoap Dynasty, in which the former
Michael Prince became Prince Michael, heir to the throne of the
fictional Eastern European kingdom of Moldavia.