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After his acclaimed and best-selling Finishing the Hat (named one of the New York Times 10 Best Books of 2010), Stephen Sondheim returns with the second volume of his collected lyrics, Look, I Made a Hat, giving us another remarkable glimpse into the brilliant mind of this living legend, and his life’s work.
Picking up where he left off in Finishing the Hat, Sondheim gives us all the lyrics, along with excluded songs and early drafts, of the Pulitzer Prize–winning Sunday in the Park with George, Into the Woods, Assassins and Passion. Here, too, is an in-depth look at the evolution of Wise Guys, which subsequently was transformed into Bounce and eventually became Road Show. Sondheim takes us through his contributions to both television and film, some of which may surprise you, and covers plenty of never-before-seen material from unproduced projects as well. There are abundant anecdotes about his many collaborations, and readers are treated to rare personal material in this volume, as Sondheim includes songs culled from commissions, parodies and personal special occasions over the years—such as a hilarious song for Leonard Bernstein’s seventieth birthday. As he did in the previous volume, Sondheim richly annotates his lyrics with invaluable advice on songwriting, discussions of theater history and the state of the industry today, and exacting dissections of his work, both the successes and the failures.
Filled with even more behind-the-scenes photographs and illustrations from Sondheim’s original manuscripts, Look, I Made a Hat is fascinating, devourable and essential reading for any fan of the theater or this great man’s work.
“As with Finishing the Hat, the first volume, much of the excitement in Look, I Made a Hat derives not from the lyrics themselves but in the new writing: the thorough introductory notes describing the gestation of the musicals; the explications of certain songs’ creation (or, in many cases, elimination); the incidental revelations. . . . There are also longer reflections. . . . All are rich in perceptions and pithy phrasing. . . . In the introduction to Look, I Made a Hat Mr. Sondheim bats away complaints that the first volume was not sufficiently rich in personal detail . . . In these two revealing books I think he effectively has. All of the characters whose feelings he has illuminated in words (and music) contain a glimmer of his own humanity. Look, he made an autobiography after all: an unorthodox but frank, eloquent and ultimately moving one.” —Charles Isherwood, New York Times
“Look, I Made a Hat, the second volume of complete lyrics and annotations from the musical theater icon Stephen Sondheim, is a must-have for all students, fans, and enthusiasts of the genre. . . . A more complete archive of the master’s work has never existed, until now." —Steven Bergman, EDGE Atlanta
“While the book technically covers Mr. Sondheim’s output from 1981 to the present, aficionados will delight in all the bits and bobs from early in his career that Mr. Sondheim didn’t make room for in the first volume. . . . The extensive miscellany also includes a drawerful of lyrics Mr. Sondheim wrote as birthday gifts for friends like Harold Prince, Mary Rodgers and Leonard Bernstein. One of the choicest pleasures of the first volume was in Mr. Sondheim’s sharp-minded analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of musical theater lyricists from the past. He’s covered most of that territory already, so the new book features essays on ‘Awards and Their Uselessness’ and ‘Critics and Their Uses’—savory reading.” —Charles Isherwood, New York Times