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Look, I Made A Hat: Collected Lyrics, 1981-2011, With Attendant Comments, Amplifications, Dogmas, Harangues, Digressions, Anecdotes, And Miscellany (2011)

by Stephen Sondheim(Favorite Author)
4.49 of 5 Votes: 4
030759341X (ISBN13: 9780307593412)
The Hat Box
review 1: I rated the first volume of this 5 stars before I finished it 2 or 3 years ago - I wanted to save the final Merrily We Roll Along chapter until I'd experienced that show as a whole (no cast recording could ever hope to capture the story there - fortunately now we have the Digital Theatre production which stands up there with the 80s/90s James Lapine productions of Sunday in the Park with George, Into the Woods and Passion recorded for PBS). When I finally read that chapter toward the end of last year, I thought these volumes of Sondheim's lyrics accompanied by his insights, reminiscences, etc, couldn't get better, despite my favourite shows (those James Lapine shows) being in this volume; a gap in my Sondheim knowledge had been filled by finally seeing Merrily, a gap so hu... morege it felt like the puzzle was complete. But there was still the question of his latest show - here covered in "Four Acts" - that show alternately known as Wise Guys, Gold!, Bounce and finally Road Show.The other shows here - all my faves, Assassins too - are covered in just as much self-effacing detail as in the first volume. I've learned more than I even wanted to about lyric writing in these books - in this volume he explains perfectly well why he doesn't talk about composing, though I would love such a book about that too - but the biggest lesson here is about collaboration. By the time I got to Passion I was recognising that some of the dialogue in that show is just as good if not better than Sondheim's lyrics - something I would never have considered when I first became a fan of Sondheim's, and no description but omnipotent genius would do.But it's that chapter about Wise Guys/Gold!/Road Show/Bounce the comes out shining in this volume. It's a show I'd never been able to find my way into loving. As I have with the other chapters in both books, I listened to my favourite cast recordings as I read through the lyrics, pausing when I reached Sondheim's comments; here I found the Wise Guys workshop recordings on YouTube, and NoneSuch Records' releases of Bounce and Road Show on Spotify. I've now been humming the score, for the first time, for 3 days… and I finally found things in that troubled show to connect to. The show is almost about its own fraught creation, and Sondheim's description of its development is one of the best descriptions of the creative process I've ever read.So I'm giving this one 5 stars too - though as with the first volume I haven't quite finished it, I will in the next few days - the remaining chapters cover unproduced musicals, TV, movies, etc. I knew these books would be invaluable when I got them, but there's been a chapter in each that just rocked my world.
review 2: If you are any kind of musical theatre geek, this is a must-read. I love some Sondheim shows more than others, but having his insight and some of his anecdotes make going back through his lyrics such a great experience. Definitely start with his first volume "Finishing the Hat," but continue to this one, it's worth it. Not only does he address some of his more famous shows, but shows that were never produced, show that went through multiple incarnations, as well as television and movie work. less
Reviews (see all)
It's Sondheim on Sondheim, part 2.What could be more fascinating than that?
This is the space where I obnoxiously gloat that I got my copy early :3
I found the first one much more fun but I like having the set as well.
Mine, all mine! Actual book, present from Tim.
A great flip through for Sondheim fans
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