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Hat Box: The Collected Lyrics of Stephen Sondheim Hardcover – December 6, 2011
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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?Read more ›
Buy this book especially for the section on Wise Guys/Bounce/Road Show. The Mizners and Sondheim were like Jack Twist and Ennis Del Mar: He just couldn't quit them. This lengthy section is a great detailed case study of how a musical gets put together, taken apart, put together again. Theatre is a collaborative art, perhaps the ultimate collaborative art, and collaboration invariably involves compromises, with other artists, with the material, with the audience.Read more ›
Other reviewers had noted that the greater part of this book examines the evolving developments of his WISE GUYS/BOUNCE/ROAD SHOW odyssey and this is devoid of any criticism of collaborators - a noble feat, considering the public spats and litigation that flowered this particular theatrical effort.
The essays in this book are less frequent than before, and his wonderful perceptions of the theatrical lyricists that colored his last endeavor are reduced to two minor articles in brief overview of some of the lesser-known practitioners like John La Touche and Hugh Martin. I could have done with more of these, as Sondheim has a natural facility for criticism. Other essays detail his views of his musical revivals and the tinkering that theatrical directors bring to them. "Critics and Their Uses" is a measured article that is less blasting than expected, considering the barrage of attack that he has been subjected to over the years. As the author is the winner of an Oscar, countless Tony awards and more significant achievements like the Pulitzer Prize, we are presented with a good and balanced article on the merit (or lack thereof) of winning and worth.
Some of the more obscure lyrics that Sondheim has written for friends and aborted projects are documented, and as the accompanying music is unknown, the reader has a chance to guess the tunes dictated by Sondheim's rhythmical meters and hear their own inner music.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
If you want in-depth insight into Sondheim's writing process, you need this book. If you enjoy Sondheim's shows, you need this book. Read morePublished 1 month ago by sara
This is the second semester of a college course, Sondheim 101. Take the first with FInishing the Hat. Both books endure as the ultimate reference to this musical master.Published 5 months ago by J. J. Hohmann
It came exactly as stated by the seller. As for the book, it's Sondheim talking about his own work...it's fantastic.Published 6 months ago by Todd Peterman
How can you go wrong when the words and thoughts come directly from the genius? The best Sondheim book ever.Published 6 months ago by JSun
The ultimate master class in lyric-writing, from the best musical theatre writer of all time. Not only do you get the full librettos for each of Sondheim's brilliant shows, along... Read morePublished 11 months ago by TiGr
One of the best books for musical theatre lovers. This book will enhance your experience and appreciation for theatre. Read morePublished 14 months ago by P. Kee