Stephen Sondheim: A Life

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Vintage Books, 2011 - Biography & Autobiography - 461 pages
The first and only full-scale and definitive biography of the most important composer-lyricist in musical theater today.

Drawing on personal conversations with Sondheim himself, as well as interviews with his friends, family, collaborators, and lovers, Secrest offers new insight into the enigmatic and very private Stephen Sondheim. Here, we learn about his childhood on New York's Upper West Side, his parents' devastating divorce, and his ascent to the peaks of the Broadway musical. Secrest vividly recreates the energy, passion, and despair that went into each beloved show, from Sondheim's fabled collaboration with Hal Prince on Sweeney Todd and A Little Night Music, to his disagreements with co-lyricist Leonard Bernstein on West Side Story. A fascinating and remarkable portrait of the man, the music, and the genius of Stephen Sondheim: star of his own fascinating and unfinished life.
 

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STEPHEN SONDHEIM: A Life

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Veteran biographer Secrest moves, logically, from Leonard Bernstein (1994) to one of his collaborators and friends—and one of the undoubted giants of the American theater—Stephen Sondheim. Like his ... Read full review

Stephen Sondheim: a life

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Much has been written about Sondheim as the foremost theater composer of the latter 20th century, with works ranging from West Side Story to Sunday in the Park with George. Secrest (Leonard Bernstein ... Read full review

Contents

Children Will Listen
23
The Brass Goddess
44
No Sad Songs
61
Being Alive
183
I2 The Boy in the Bubble
225
I3 Applause for the Clowns
244
I4 Someone in a Tree
263
I5 Dies Irae
285
I6 Old Friends
303
Finishing the Hat
322
No More
342
I9 Hit After Hit
358
And That I Learned from You
376
Acknowledgments
409
Index
445
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About the author (2011)

Meryle Secrest was born and educated in Bath, England, and lives in Washington, D.C. She is the author of ten biographies and is the recipient of the 2006 National Humanities Medal.

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