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Stephen Sondheim Quotes / Quotations


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Stephen Sondheim QUOTES / QUOTATIONS
A close-up on screen can say all a song can.
Quotation of Stephen Sondheim
After the Rodgers and Hammerstein revolution, songs became part of the story, as opposed to just entertainments in between comedy scenes.
Quotation of Stephen Sondheim
All the best performers bring to their role something more, something different than what the author put on paper. That's what makes theatre live. That's why it persists.
Quotation of Stephen Sondheim
Almost all the shows I've been connected with have been extremely well cast. They're playing the show, not just doing the songs.
Quotation of Stephen Sondheim
Art, in itself, is an attempt to bring order out of chaos.
Quotation of Stephen Sondheim
By the time I get through writing a score, I know the book better than the book writer does, because I've examined every word, and questioned the book writer on every word.
Quotation of Stephen Sondheim
By the time I was 22, I was a professional. A young and flawed professional, but not an amateur.
Quotation of Stephen Sondheim
Company blends two traditional forms for the first time: the revue and the book show. It's a revue, but it tells a story.
Quotation of Stephen Sondheim
Every writer I've ever spoken to feels fraudulent in some way or other.
Quotation of Stephen Sondheim
Everyone I used to play with has either given up or is dead.
Quotation of Stephen Sondheim
Everyone would like to be on Broadway, 'cause if a show works, you make a great deal of money and it allows you to write other shows.
Quotation of Stephen Sondheim
For anyone approaching any one of the cast albums, if they don't like what they hear, it's not the performer's fault.
Quotation of Stephen Sondheim
For me it's more fun to find an unexpected moment for a character to sing when you don't expect them to.
Quotation of Stephen Sondheim
Generally, the best recording is the original cast, because that's the way the piece grew: integrally, with them.
Quotation of Stephen Sondheim
Gotta watch out for directors.
Quotation of Stephen Sondheim
Hit songs did not come out of musicals. Pop-rock was creating the hits. There were very few songs that made the charts out of any Broadway musical.
Quotation of Stephen Sondheim
I chose and my world was shaken. So what? The choice may have been mistaken; the choosing was not. You have to move on.
Quotation of Stephen Sondheim
I didn't really want to write just lyrics, but I wanted to meet Leonard Bernstein. Music was always the first reason I was writing songs.
Quotation of Stephen Sondheim
I don't listen to recordings of my songs. I don't avoid it, I just don't go out of my way to do it.
Quotation of Stephen Sondheim
I fell into lyric writing because of music. I backed into it.
Quotation of Stephen Sondheim
I firmly believe lyrics have to breathe and give the audience's ear a chance to understand what's going on. Particularly in the theater, where you have costume, story, acting, orchestra.
Quotation of Stephen Sondheim
I haven't had a new show open on Broadway for over 10 years.
Quotation of Stephen Sondheim
I learned was to be brave and not to expect that everything's going to come out perfectly.
Quotation of Stephen Sondheim
I like murder mysteries, the Agatha Christie kinds of things where you know that it's all going to be neatly wound up at the end.
Quotation of Stephen Sondheim
I liked my father a lot, but I didn't see him very often because my mother was bitter about him. He remarried, and I used to have to sneak off to see him.
Quotation of Stephen Sondheim
I now have a house in Connecticut as well as a place in New York. So I have a studio in each place, and that's where I live my life.
Quotation of Stephen Sondheim
I played the organ when I went to military school, when I was 10. They had a huge organ, the second-largest pipe organ in New York State. I loved all the buttons and the gadgets. I've always been a gadget man.
Quotation of Stephen Sondheim
I prefer neurotic people. I like to hear rumblings beneath the surface.
Quotation of Stephen Sondheim
I really don't want to write a score until the whole show is cast and staged.
Quotation of Stephen Sondheim
I started listening to classical music when I was in my early teens. Prior to that, I listened to pop records or band records.
Quotation of Stephen Sondheim
I took piano lessons when I was 6. I didn't want to go on with it. I don't remember being moved by a piece of music.
Quotation of Stephen Sondheim
I was never much of a reader. I'm a slow reader, which is unusual, because I'm so into language and I love words so much. But it's hard for me to read.
Quotation of Stephen Sondheim
I was raised to be charming, not sincere.
Quotation of Stephen Sondheim
I would have been a geologist.
Quotation of Stephen Sondheim
I'm sure many writers have these strange, tiny little habits.
Quotation of Stephen Sondheim
I's almost there, but not quite. We either get it up that further inch or give up.
Quotation of Stephen Sondheim
I've always liked puzzles, since I was a kid. I like party games, silly games. I loved chess. I enjoy jigsaw puzzles, but I'm not particularly visual.
Quotation of Stephen Sondheim
If people have split views about your work, I think it's flattering. I'd rather have them feel something about it than dismiss it.
Quotation of Stephen Sondheim
If the fates are kind to us, there will be a movie of Sweeney Todd. It's a wonderful script.
Quotation of Stephen Sondheim
If you're dealing with a musical in which you're trying to tell a story, it's got to sound like speech. At the same time it's got to be a song.
Quotation of Stephen Sondheim
In not-for-profit theater, you don't worry so much about how the audience is going to react. You want to make them absorb the piece.
Quotation of Stephen Sondheim
In the Rodgers and Hammerstein generation, popular hits came out of shows and movies.
Quotation of Stephen Sondheim
In those days, it was 6 percent for book, music and lyrics. or the music and lyrics, it was 4 percent.
Quotation of Stephen Sondheim
It's age. It's a diminution of energy and the worry that there are no new ideas. It's an increasing lack of confidence. I'm not the only one. I've checked with other people.
Quotation of Stephen Sondheim
It's pleasanter to work in the country, where you can wander out among the trees. But I don't get as much work done. In the city you don't want to leave the room because there's all that chaos going on.
Quotation of Stephen Sondheim
Lemuel Ayers had had a huge success producing and designing Kiss Me, Kate. He wanted to produce this as a musical. I got the job. It was a professional score.
Quotation of Stephen Sondheim
Lyrics have to be underwritten. That's why poets generally make poor lyric writers because the language is too rich. You get drowned in it.
Quotation of Stephen Sondheim
Math and music are intimately related. Not necessarily on a conscious level, but sure.
Quotation of Stephen Sondheim
Math was my big interest when I was in prep school. I was considering taking math in college, and majoring in it.
Quotation of Stephen Sondheim
Musical comedies aren't written, they are rewritten.
Quotation of Stephen Sondheim
Musicals are plays, but the last collaborator is your audience, so you've got to wait 'til the last collaborator comes in before you can complete the collaboration.
Quotation of Stephen Sondheim
Musicals are, by nature, theatrical, meaning poetic, meaning having to move the audience's imagination and create a suspension of disbelief, by which I mean there's no fourth wall.
Quotation of Stephen Sondheim
My mother wanted me off her hands. She was a working woman. She designed clothes, and she was a celebrity collector. It's my mother's ambition to be a celebrity.
Quotation of Stephen Sondheim
My parents got divorced and military school gave me a structure. A lot of kids my age were children of divorced parents. They didn't know what to do with the kids.
Quotation of Stephen Sondheim
My personal life and my artistic life do not interfere with each other.
Quotation of Stephen Sondheim
Nice is different than good.
Quotation of Stephen Sondheim
Nowadays, there are sometimes more producers than there are people in the cast, because it takes that much money to put a show on.
Quotation of Stephen Sondheim
One difference between poetry and lyrics is that lyrics sort of fade into the background. They fade on the page and live on the stage when set to music.
Quotation of Stephen Sondheim
One of the hardest things about writing lyrics is to make the lyrics sit on the music in such a way that you're not aware there was a writer there.
Quotation of Stephen Sondheim
Oscar Hammerstein was a surrogate father during all those many days, and weeks and months when I didn't see my own father.
Quotation of Stephen Sondheim
Oscar's creative imagination was far more sophisticated than the work itself, and has affected the theater permanently.
Quotation of Stephen Sondheim
Oscar's lyrics don't read very well. They sing great. Whereas, if you read Cole Porter's, they're very entertaining.
Quotation of Stephen Sondheim
Pointillism takes emotional images, character, etc., and makes them all come together and make a whole that tells a story.
Quotation of Stephen Sondheim
Rodgers was famous for locking Larry Hart in rooms to get the lyrics.
Quotation of Stephen Sondheim
So many good songs get written fast, because you know exactly what has to work.
Quotation of Stephen Sondheim
Sometimes colleagues in performance are absolutely astonishing.
Quotation of Stephen Sondheim
Sometimes I'll ask the book writer to write a monologue, not to be performed, just as if they were notes for the character.
Quotation of Stephen Sondheim
Take a play that you like but you think is flawed, and see if you can improve it and turn it into a musical. Then make up your own story.
Quotation of Stephen Sondheim
The dumbing down of the country reflects itself on Broadway. The shows get dumber, and the public gets used to them.
Quotation of Stephen Sondheim
The fact is popular art dates. It grows quaint. How many people feel strongly about Gilbert and Sullivan today compared to those who felt strongly in 1890?
Quotation of Stephen Sondheim
The more restrictions you have, the easier anything is to write.
Quotation of Stephen Sondheim
The movie adaptations of stage musicals that I've seen, without exception, in my opinion don't work. A lot of people would disagree with me.
Quotation of Stephen Sondheim
The nice thing about doing a crossword puzzle is, you know there is a solution.
Quotation of Stephen Sondheim
The Tonys ignored West Side Story. The Tonys ignored Gypsy. It's a kind of public humiliation.
Quotation of Stephen Sondheim
The worst thing you can do is censor yourself as the pencil hits the paper. You must not edit until you get it all on paper. If you can put everything down, stream-of-consciousness, you'll do yourself a service.
Quotation of Stephen Sondheim
There's something inimical about the camera and song.
Quotation of Stephen Sondheim
They wanted me to be a concert pianist, because I had a very good right hand, but my left hand's terrible and I hated performing.
Quotation of Stephen Sondheim
What justifies a character singing one idea for 3 minutes on the screen? I get impatient and want the story to carry on. I don't get impatient in the theatre.
Quotation of Stephen Sondheim
When I listen to my work, I think, what's so inflammatory about it? It's not really that dissonant. A lot of people who used to hate my stuff have come round to it.
Quotation of Stephen Sondheim
When I was growing up, there was no such thing as Off-Broadway. You either got your show on or you didn't.
Quotation of Stephen Sondheim
When the audience comes in, it changes the temperature of what you've written.
Quotation of Stephen Sondheim
When you know your cast well and their strengths and weaknesses, you can start writing for them, just the way Shakespeare wrote for his actors.
Quotation of Stephen Sondheim
When you trance out properly, when you're completely in that world, there is no other world, so there's no conflict.
Quotation of Stephen Sondheim
With the possible exception of Follies, I'd recommend the original cast wherever possible.
Quotation of Stephen Sondheim
With videotaping, on the second generation you're already losing some of the freshness.
Quotation of Stephen Sondheim
You can't have personal investors anymore because it's too expensive, so you have to have corporate investment or a lot of rich people.
Quotation of Stephen Sondheim
You get used to the exact amount of space between lines. You write a word and then you write an alternate word over it. You want enough room so you can read it, so the lines can't be too close.
Quotation of Stephen Sondheim
You have to be submitted for the Pulitzer, and unbeknownst to us, a choral director whom I know had submitted us.
Quotation of Stephen Sondheim