Collected Lyrics (1954-1981) with Attendant Comments, Principles, Heresies, Grudges, Whines and Anecdotes
On Sale: October 26, 2010
Featuring: Stephen Sondheim
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Stephen Sondheim has won seven Tonys, an Academy Award,
seven Grammys, a Pulitzer Prize and the Kennedy Center
Honors. His career has spanned more than half a century, his
lyrics have become synonymous with musical theater and
popular culture, and in Finishing the Hat—titled
after perhaps his most autobiographical song, from Sunday
in the Park with George—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
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
from each show, songs that were cut or discarded before
seeing the light of day. He discusses his relationship with
his mentor, Oscar Hammerstein II, and his collaborations
with extraordinary talents such as Leonard Bernstein, Arthur
Laurents, Ethel Merman, Richard Rodgers, Angela Lansbury,
Harold Prince and a panoply of others. The anecdotes—filled
with history, pointed observations and intimate
details—transport us back to a time when theater was a major
pillar of American culture. Best of all, Sondheim appraises
his work and dissects his lyrics, as well as those of
others, offering unparalleled insights into songwriting that
will be studied by fans and aspiring songwriters for years
Accompanying Sondheim’s sparkling writing
are behind-the-scenes photographs from each production,
along with handwritten music and lyrics from the
songwriter’s personal collection.
surprising, poignant, funny and sometimes provocative,
Finishing the Hat is not only an informative look at
the art and craft of lyric writing, it is a history of the
theater that belongs on the same literary shelf as Moss
Hart’s Act One and Arthur Miller’s Timebends.
It is also a book that will leave you humming the final bars
of Merrily We Roll Along, while eagerly anticipating
the next volume, which begins with the opening lines of
Sunday in the Park with George.
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