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Harold Prince on Rehearsals

Tony Award-winning director and producer Harold Prince discusses his creative process.
Premieres Friday, November 23 at 9 p.m. on PBS (check local listings). Streams Saturday, November 24 at and on PBS apps.

I regard the first day of rehearsal as extremely important because it's an introduction of material to the people who will be working on it and you all have to be in the same place as you approach a project It's very important that somebody has a sort of total concept of what needs to be achieved Because we all come wandering onto the stage, you know, we don't know our lines necessarily Actually in Hal's case you do know your lines You learn the show before you ever set foot at the first rehearsal now that was a first for me But I went along with it because I thought well It's just the way the great Hal Prince wants to work it and I'm game We had a wonderful meeting with the cast and him in which he told us what he hoped to achieve What he was looking for from this material some of the greatest memories in my life are this opening day speeches with Hal 'Good morning, school is convened...' The cradle that's kind of governed The work that Sondheim and I have done together has always been less... less is more and I found somewhere another saying which was that less is boring and that more is more and it was obvious It's been staring us in the face all these years So we determined to go completely in the other direction and give more of everything than anyone ever seen before He so loves what he does for a living and that comes out in that opening speech I always think we could have sold some tickets to that. We made some money on that because it is spectacular and everyone is riveted.

I prepare a lot so I can practically do the whole show on the model and You show them the costumes... what the rendering for wigs and makeup will be then you tell them why the show looks like this the metaphor that inspired you.

'What we did was make a factory so that the whole play takes place...' He went into it in detail he told us the history of London in the days that Sweeney Todd was a character and it was very helpful indeed and needed particularly with this sort of material because this was absolutely out of left field, you know


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