September 09, 1996 12:00 PM

PBS (Sun., Sept. 8, 9 p.m. ET)


This Stephen Sondheim musical is essential viewing, if only for Donna Murphy’s Tony-winning performance as a repressed, neurotic spinster who falls head over heels for a handsome army captain at a desolate Italian outpost. Murphy’s voice is deep and soaring, with a great vibrato. I’m less crazy about the musical itself. The unhappy love that develops between these two is expressed with fainting spells, psychosomatic illnesses, and teeth and fists clenched in exasperation. One doesn’t expect Pillow Talk from Sondheim, whose melodies are suitably astringent. But this is more anguish than passion.

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