Stephen Sondheim has won seven Tonys, an Academy Award, seven Grammys, a Pulitzer Prize and the Kennedy Center Honors. His lyrics have become synonymous with musical theater and popular culture, and here Sondheim has not only collected his lyrics for the first time, he is giving readers a rare personal look into his life as well as his remarkable productions. Along with the lyrics for all of his musicals from 1954 to 1981--including West Side Story, Company, Follies, A Little Night Music and Sweeney Todd--Sondheim treats us to never-before-published songs cut or discarded from each show. He discusses his relationship with his mentor, Oscar Hammerstein II, and his collaborations with extraordinary talents from Leonard Bernstein to Angela Lansbury. The anecdotes--filled with pointed observations and intimate details--transport us back to a time when theater was a major pillar of American culture. Best of all, Sondheim offers unparalleled insights into songwriting.--From publisher description.… (more)
"I collabor him and he collabors me." – George Furth, Merrily We Roll Along
To my unsung collaborators: Julius J. Epstein, Arthur Laurents, Burt Shevelove, Larry Gelbart, George Furth, James Goldman, John Weidman, Hugh Wheeler, James Lapine
This book is a contradiction in terms.
Poetry is an art of concision, lyrics of expansion. Poems depend on packed images, on resonance and juxtaposition, on density.
Poetry can be set to music gracefully ... but the music benefits more from the poem which gives it structure than the poem does from the music, which often distorts not only the poet's phrasing but also the language itself, clipping syllables short or extending them into near-unintelligibility. Music straitjackets a poem and prevents it from breathing on its own, whereas it liberates a lyric. Poetry doesn't need music; lyrics do.