Finishing the Hat: Collected Lyrics, 1954-1981, With Attendant Comments, Principles, Heresies, Grudges, Whines, and Anecdotes
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... show more
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 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 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 to come. 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. Penetrating and 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.
Publish date: October 26th 2010
Pages no: 421
Edition language: English
Series: The Hat Box (#1)
This is a book for die-hard Sondheim fans, budding lyricists or lyric aficionados only. With the lyrics to all his shows between 1954 - 1981 as well as many additional tidbits, this is a fascinating insight into the most talented man in musical theatre.Sondheim studies his own work and dissects hi...
I'm fascinated by people who love their work and take it seriously, so even if I wasn't a musicals fan I probably would've enjoyed this book. The subtitle describes it pretty well: this is a collection of Sondheim's lyrics from the first half of his career, along with his commentary about the proce...
I mean, yeah, I don't know how else to rate this. It's on a totally different scale than a novel or whatever. If you are interested in musical theater in general and in Sondheim in particular then obviously this book is for you. But also if you are interested in learning more about how a writer who ...
Had to return to library. Reading lyrics for shows you don't know is boring, but also the first show included isn't actually that good; I had a much easier time reading Follies and Merrily We Roll Along, which I haven't seen or listened to, than I did on Saturday Night. And Gypsy, God, the Gypsy ly...
Stephen Sondheim's Finishing the Hat is essentially a collection of his lyrics from the shows he's worked on from West Side Story in 1954, to Merrily We Roll Along in 1984, with additional comments on the shows, some of the songs and essays on other lyricists.For me, this book was sort of like a mus...