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Hat Box: The Collected Lyrics of Stephen Sondheim Hardcover


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Product Details

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: Knopf; Slp edition (December 6, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307957721
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307957726
  • Product Dimensions: 11.4 x 8.7 x 2.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #155,044 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Stephen Sondheim has written award-winning music and lyrics for theater, film and television. He is also the coauthor of the film The Last of Sheila and the play Getting Away with Murder. Sondheim is on the council of the Dramatists Guild of America, having served as its president from 1973 to 1981. He lives in New York City.

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Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
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Anyone interested in Musical theatre will love this gift item!
louise c silver
I purchased this as a gift and the recipient was extremely well pleased to receive it and has stated she enjoys it very much.
Arlene D. Kemnitz
Sondheim provides a clear view of the craft and art of lyric writing.
Eric Ligon

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 20 people found the following review helpful By David Seaman VINE VOICE on March 2, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Some of us became aware of Stephen Sondheim for the genuis that he is in the early 70's. As a professor of music and theatre I've been teaching Sondheim's music and lyrics for 26 years. I've found that there is no subject about which must be taught that Stephen Sondheim has not written a song (or indeed and entire show) about. Starting in 1976 I began to tout praise for Sondheim's work with his musical "Pacific Overtures." When "Cats" took the Tony award over "Sunday In The Park With George" I told everyone, "Just wait and see." Six months later "Sunday" became the fifth musical in history to win The Pulitzer Pr5ize. When "Merrily We Roll Along" closed after 17 performances I said, "The audience is too stupid to understand it." The TV show "Lost" taught the public about time travel in storytelling and now "Merrily" has enjoyed a renaissance.
It reminded me of how, as a college student, I worked at the Harvard Coop and I overheard someone say to her friend, in that Boston accent, "I don't want Aht; I want postuhs." Well "Cats" is a big poster and it's taken until the 21st century but at last the theatre community (such that it is) and the public are finally recognizing the genuis that is Sondheim's words and music.
J.S. Bach wasn't known as a composer until fifty years after his death. Byt that time an estimated 50% of his music was lost.
Sondheim, from age 79 to 82 has written two massive books that match. The first is called "Finishing The Hat" and the second is called "Look, I Made a Hat" The titles are references to one of his finest songs from the score "Sunday In The Park With George" in which an artists is explaining how he is driven to work. Will his lover be waiting in the bed when the grass, the hat and the parasol have finally found their way?
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Doc on March 13, 2012
Format: Hardcover
The collected lyrics of the most brilliant lyricist in the Musical Theater. One would be grateful for the lyrics alone, but Sondheim has provided a running commentary on the art of lyric writing, pointing out both his successes and failures, with lucid explanations eschewing both shame and false modesty.

Almost as important are the interspersed essays on the work of other lyricists, analyzing their strengths and weaknesses. Though there are some anecdotes that make one devoutly wish for a Memoir direct from Sondheim to supplement or replace the "authorized" biography by Secrest, these essays focus on craft, and provide a master-class at the highest level.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By -pvt idaho on January 21, 2012
Format: Hardcover
My dad loves Sondheim,and he loved this gift! It has great archival photos, and lyrics of course. Perfect for any theatre lover!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Jaime on June 5, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Whether you are a Sondheim completist, or simply curious about the writing process, history and the man's own personal thoughts about his work, this box set is provides an invaluable inside peek to the whole breadth of his written works. Songs that were excised (and in some cases reinserted) from each of his major projects are here presented in their entirety, often with notes relating to their original context and reasons for deletion. The black & white reproductions of production photos and Sondheim's own written notes wonderfully accent the main text.

It should be noted that Sondheim focuses mainly on the lyrics in this collection, for a deeper look into the process behind music and lyrics Mark Eden Horowitz's "Sondheim on Music: Minor Details and Major Decisions" (ISBN: 978-0810874367) is a better volume.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Allen Smalling TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 18, 2014
Format: Hardcover
This slipcased edition of Stephen Sondheim's collected lyrics in two separate volumes (FINISHING THE HAT and LOOK, I MADE A HAT) has many things going for it: (1) It was written entirely by Sondheim and includes not only the lyrics to all his shows (produced and unproduced) including TV but also lyrics "of occasion" such as those for Harold Prince's 80th birthday; (2) great collateral material such as cast shots, candids and bits of vintage typescript and musical score; (3) the master has quite a lot to say about the process of lyric writing, play production and also his favorite contributors to the Broadway of bygone days such as Irving Berlin and Cole Porter; and (4) buying these two volumes together in the HAT BOX set is much cheaper than buying them alone. If you think you'd like one, you'd probably like both, so buy HAT BOX, which at present adds less than $21 to the cost of either one. Strong recommendation.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Sol Benavides on April 30, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The product was very well physically and the books are awesome. If you are into theater or expect to make it professionally like me, order these, they are very useful, specially if you want to learn from someone legendary like Stephen Sondheim.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Frank McKown on March 14, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I read both volumes with delight, not only for the funny and insightful stories of Mr. Sondheim, but for his description of the often backbreaking process to bring a piece to the stage. While the first volume covers much of Mr. Sondheim's salad days, often with laugh out loud passages (Stephen's account of Hermione Gingold's audition for "A Little Night Music" is classic), the second volume tells the bittersweet tale of less successful projects and the difficulty of, in a phrase, finishing the hat. If you consider yourself a fan or a professional of the theater, these are sacred texts.
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