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1 Remote Warehouse Biography- Entertainment and Performing Arts

Stephen Sondheim: A Life

by

Stephen Sondheim: A Life Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

In the first full-scale life of the most

important composer-lyricist at work in musical theatre today, Meryle Secrest, the biographer of Frank Lloyd Wright and Leonard Bernstein, draws on her extended conversations with Stephen Sondheim as well as on her interviews with his friends, family, collaborators, and lovers to bring us not only the artist--as a master of

modernist compositional style--but also the private man.

Beginning with his early childhood on New York's prosperous Upper West Side, Secrest describes how Sondheim was taught to play the piano by his father, a successful dress manufacturer and amateur musician. She writes about Sondheim's early ambition to become a concert pianist, about the effect on him of his parents' divorce when he was ten, about his years in military and private schools. She writes about his feelings of loneliness and abandonment, about the refuge he found in the home of Oscar and Dorothy Hammerstein, and his determination to become just like Oscar.

Secrest describes the years when Sondheim was struggling to gain a foothold in the theatre, his attempts at scriptwriting (in his early twenties in Rome on the

set of Beat the Devil with Bogart and Huston, and later in Hollywood as a co-writer with George Oppenheimer for the TV series Topper), living the Hollywood life.

Here is Sondheim's ascent to the peaks of the Broadway musical, from his chance meeting with play-

wright Arthur Laurents, which led to his first success--

as co-lyricist with Leonard Bernstein on West Side Story--to his collaboration with Laurents on Gypsy, to his first full Broadway score, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. And Secrest writes about his first big success as composer, lyricist, writer in the 1960s with Company, an innovative and sophisticated musical that examined marriage à la mode. It was the start of an almost-twenty-year collaboration with producer and director Hal Prince that resulted in such shows as Follies, Pacific Overtures, Sweeney Todd, and

A Little Night Music.

We see Sondheim at work with composers, producers, directors, co-writers, actors, the greats of his time and ours, among them Leonard Bernstein, Ethel Merman, Richard Rodgers, Oscar Hammerstein, Jerome Robbins, Zero Mostel, Bernadette Peters, and Lee Remick (with whom it was said he was in love, and she with him), as Secrest vividly re-creates the energy, the passion, the despair, the excitement, the genius, that went into the making of show after Sondheim show.

A biography that is sure to become the standard work on Sondheim's life and art.

From the Hardcover edition.

Synopsis:

US

Synopsis:

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.

About the Author

Meryle Secrest was born and educated in Bath, England. She has written biographies of Romaine Brooks, Bernard Berenson, Kenneth Clark, Salvador Dalí, Frank Lloyd Wright, and Leonard Bernstein.

From the Hardcover edition.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780307946843
Author:
Secrest, Meryle
Publisher:
Vintage Books
Subject:
Entertainment & Performing Arts
Subject:
Biography-Composers and Musicians
Subject:
Biography-Entertainment and Performing Arts
Subject:
biography;theatre;music;sondheim;broadway;musicals;biographies;stephen sondheim
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Series:
Vintage
Publication Date:
20111031
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
95 BandW PHOTOGRAPHS
Pages:
480
Dimensions:
8 x 5.18 x 0.96 in 0.98 lb

Related Subjects

Arts and Entertainment » Drama » Biographies
Arts and Entertainment » Drama » Musical Theater
Arts and Entertainment » Music » Genres and Styles » Broadway
Biography » Composers and Musicians
Biography » Entertainment and Performing Arts

Stephen Sondheim: A Life New Trade Paper
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Product details 480 pages Vintage Books - English 9780307946843 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , US
"Synopsis" by , 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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