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Finishing the Hat: Collected Lyrics (1954-1981) by Stephen Sondheim.. “...With Attendant Comments, Principles, Heresies, Grudges, Whines and Anecdotes.” There, that’s the whole of the rest of the subtitle. Music, anyone? Sondheim, one of the greats, lays it all bare. Fun, amusing, and a font of trivia. Also: lyrics!

Joel Gardner, LitSnap Editor

"The book “Finishing the Hat” becomes a metaphor for that feeling of joy, the little squirt of dopamine hitting the brain when the artist creates a work of art. It’s a feeling so addictive the artist is willing to forgo love in order to experience artistic bliss. It could be a metaphor for Sondheim’s love of songwriting.."

The NY Times

"The essential qualities of Stephen Sondheim's artistic temperament — the peppery precision, the refusal to traffic in received wisdom and the commitment to truth over sentimentality — help turn what could have been a perfunctory curatorial service into the most valuable theater book of the year.."

The LA Times

Author bio: Sondheim studied piano seriously through his prep school years, while Hammerstein tutored him in writing for the theater. With Hammerstein's guidance, he wrote scripts and scores for four shows, a project that occupied Sondheim through his student years at Williams College. On graduation, he was awarded a two-year scholarship to study composition. He studied with the avant-garde composer Milton Babbit, writing a piano concerto and a violin sonata while trying to break into the theater. Sondheim's first efforts at securing a Broadway assignment fell through, but he found work writing for television, and made the acquaintance of two playwrights who were to play a significant role in his career: Arthur Laurents and Burt Shevelove. More information can be found here:

Book Details: Nonfict Other; (445 pp. Broadway romp: Kindle/Print editions)

Publisher Website: 9780679439073

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