Posted by Book Mavens on March 10th, 2011
Title: Finishing the Hat: Collected Lyrics (1954-1981) with attendant Comments, Principles, Heresies, Grudges, Whines and Anecdotes.
Author: Stephen Sondheim
Publisher: Knopf, October 2010
Summary: “Finishing the Hat” is a key song in the Pulitzer Prize-winning musical Sunday in the Park with George, sung by the title character about his inability to compromise his art, even for love. In this stunning collection of lyrics and anecdotes, Stephen Sondheim describes his own pursuit of artistic perfection, taking the reader on a behind-the-scenes journey through the first part of his legendary career as a musical theatre songwriter and composer. While his lyrics are remarkable, what makes this collection a joy to read are his blunt and witty stories of the collaborations and partnerships that made up his early life in the theatre. Sondheim includes lyrics for songs cut from productions, along with the reasons (and sometimes regrets) for their removal and is remarkably plainspoken about his successes and failures. He also discusses the other great theatre lyricists with surprising results.
Reading this book is like sitting down to a long lunch with the smartest man you’ve ever met. This rare peek inside the mind of a genius wordsmith is required reading for theatre buffs, but also invaluable for writers and creative types of every stripe.
Who will like this book?: Theatre people. This book also holds tremendous insight for all artists and creators, songwriters particularly.
If you like this, read this: Ghost Light: A Memoir by Frank Rich. Free for All: Joe Papp, the Public, and the Greatest Theatre Story Ever Told by Kenneth Turan. Patti LuPone: A Memoir by Patti LuPone.
Recommended by: Nicole, Teen Librarian
Look interesting? Click here to visit our catalog and see if it’s in!