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Television Reviews : Harold Prince Interview Skips Parts of His Career

June 25, 1988|DON SHIRLEY

Director Harold Prince is so relaxed and affable in "Harold Prince: From 'Follies' to 'Phantom,' " a one-hour interview on the Arts & Entertainment Cable Network (Sunday, 7 p.m. and 11 p.m.), that it's hard to believe his account of his abrasiveness as a young, ambitious newcomer. But that period of his life was nearly 40 years ago. He has mellowed.

The interview was taped just before the opening of Prince's New York production of "The Phantom of the Opera." The "From 'Follies' to 'Phantom' " label is misleading. The talk also includes reminiscences of Prince's childhood and the first part of his career, and it doesn't touch on some of his work between "Follies" and "Phantom," such as "Evita" or (does anyone really care?) "Roza."

Prince sidesteps the question that inquiring minds might most want to ask: He declines to compare his former musical collaborator, Stephen Sondheim, and his current one, Andrew Lloyd Webber773867621Sondheim will work together again.

Expressing refreshing disdain for the enormous advance ticket sale for "Phantom," Prince criticizes "the hype epidemic. It's 'Phantom of the Opera'; it's not Donald Trump. I resent it." Most directors should be so lucky as to be able to resent something like that.

Dana Calderwood's questioning is rather stiff, and an off-screen narrator strikes an unduly informal note at the outset: "Knowing Hal . . . I'm sure he'd tell you he's just getting started." But stills and videos add visual variety.

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