Finishing the Hat: Collected Lyrics, 1954-1981, With

Stephen Sondheim has won seven Tonys, an Academy Award, seven Grammys, a Pulitzer Prize and the Kennedy Center Honors His career has spanned 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 productionsAlong with the lyrics for all of his musicals fromtoincluding 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 Finishing the Hat: Collected Lyrics, 1954-1981, With Attendant Comments, Principles, Heresies, Grudges, Whines, and Anecdotes


About the Author: Stephen Sondheim

Stephen Joshua Sondheim is an American musical and film composer and lyricist, winner of an Academy Award, multiple Tony Awards seven,than any other composer , multiple Grammy Awards, and a Pulitzer Prize He has been described by Frank Rich in the The New York Times as the greatest and perhaps best known artist in the American musical theater His most famous scores include as composer lyricist A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Company, Follies, A Little Night Music, Sweeney Todd, Sunday in the Park with George, Into the Woods, and Assassins, as well as the lyrics for West Side Story and Gypsy He was president of the Dramatists Guild from 1973 to 1981.



10 thoughts on “Finishing the Hat: Collected Lyrics, 1954-1981, With Attendant Comments, Principles, Heresies, Grudges, Whines, and Anecdotes

  1. says:

    Look, I m a music theater buff, and a Sondheim freak So it was preordained that I would love this book Actually, I was expecting to find it redundant, if not nostalgia inducing, inasmuch as I have long owned and adored copies of his scores and libretti, and near memorized recordings of every Sondheim show save the unloveable mess that is Road Show, a


  2. says:

    Stephen Sondheim wrote all of FINISHING THE HAT, covering roughly the first half of his musical career 1954 81 He reprints the lyrics and offers side remarks as to what was going on at the times these shows were composed This period embraces WEST SIDE STORY, for which he wrote the lyrics also A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO THE FORUM, words and mus


  3. says:

    So much of what I could say in a review of Sondheim s lovely book of lyrics Finishing the Hat is touched upon by singer songwriter Paul Simon in an article he wrote for The New York Times will only add my own thoughts which are wordy, because I love the man When I was a freshman in my rural Iowa high school, I took vocal lessons with a local college instru


  4. says:

    There is nobody like Sondheim Much as I love Cole Porter and the Rogers and Hart and Rogers and Hammerstein musicals, it s Sondheim who sings to me.This collection of lyrics to his musicals from West Side Story in 1957 to Merrily We Roll Along in 1981 is enlightening Sondheim introduces each show, includes the lyrics to songs that were cut, and explains the d


  5. says:

    I poked away at this for years, dipping in and out before finally finishing this week Sheer genius Can t wait to crack Volume 2.


  6. says:

    When I first heard about this book, I wasn t too excited For some reason I was under the impression that it was just a collection of the lyrics Nice to have, but, really, not that necessary, since ahem I already know them all by heart I dutifully ordered the book from the library, though this is Sondheim we re talking about, after all When it came in and I took a c


  7. says:

    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 learningabout how a writer who is EXTREMELY GOOD at what he does actually does what he does, you might want to


  8. says:

    What does it mean, to make art Does the artist create and nurture his work, or does it feed on him, consuming his life until he is forever finishing the hat Paging through Stephen Sondheim s recent memoir commentary anthology, I couldn t help wondering.In his book, Sondheim discusses the principles and heresies of lyric composition at the level of a technical master, ana


  9. says:

    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 process of writing the lyrics and creating the shows He also gives uncensored opinio


  10. says:

    A Bow for Mr SondheimStephen Sondheim Will probably forever be regarded as the finest lyricist the musical stage has known with apologies to librettist W S Gilbert or Gilbert and Sullivan fame He has always taken on stories that encourage no, force the audience to relate to his ideas, whether that be in the early stages of his career with the magnum opus West Side Story or wit


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