Magazine article The Sondheim Review

Editor's Letter

Magazine article The Sondheim Review

Editor's Letter

Article excerpt

FOR SOMEONE GENERALLY CONSIDERED PRIVATE AND PUBLICITY SHY, Stephen Sondheim has recently been revealing a lot about his life and his work. For several years, Sondheim and journalist Frank Rich (as well as a few others) have been having conversations in front of audiences. I've attended several of these, and while some anecdotes are repeated, Sondheim always gives them insightful spins that shed light on his work. His recollection of tales and details about how shows came together is remarkable.

Now many of those recollections have been assembled in his new book. Finishing the Hat, subtitled Collected Lyrics (1945-1981) with Attendant Comments, Principles, Heresies, Grudges, Whines and Anecdotes. In early November 2010, just a few weeks after its release, the volume appeared at No. 11 on The New York Times nonfictlon bestseller list. The second volume, Look, I Made a Hat, is anticipated in the fall of 2011.

We offer two excerpts from the book in this issue of FSR, with our gratitude to the author. The first is his introductory essay on "Rhyme and Its Reasons," which demonstrates the detailed, analytical and meticulous way he approaches the craft of lyric writing. The second selection introduces his "notion" of Pacific Overtures and then delves into some general observations about the work. …

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