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I found it not as instructive as the first and without as many amusing anecdotes, but it was still enjoyable I could see how the four different versions of Road Show Bounce could be interesting for some, but it was difficult to get through.I very much enjoyed him sort of working backward through his earliest works near the end, and the epilogue was heartbreaking in a maybe good way. He s God I mean the man s a God He wrote the book to Sweeney Todd with a nod to De Sade. Look, I Made a Hat completes the publication of Sondheim s collected lyrics, picking up where Finishing the Hat left off and then backfilling those gaps in the record Sondheim deemed noteworthy incidental songs from movies, unproduced shows including selected examples of juvenilia , and ditties he wrote to fete friends at birthday parties, pageants, and salons As with the earlier book, Sondheim not only annotates and contextualizes his lyrics, but throws in assorted essays on various subjects pertaining to the world and works of music theater Since I practically wrote a novel on the predecessor to this book, I ll just add a few additional thoughts to distinguish the books.Fans of Sondheim s shows will find here Sunday in the Park with George, Into the Woods, Assassins, Passion, and the big fat mess that evolved from Wise Guys through Bounce, ultimately ending up as Road Show In fact, than a quarter of this book is devoted to Road Show Now, I really didn t think much of Road Show as my separate review indicates , so you can imagine I might well be disappointed to have to slog through it in all its variations Sondheim loves it, but is willing to admit that perhaps my fondness for it and my pride in it exemplify the parent s defensive love of the homelier child p 291 The than 100 pages lavished on Road Show comes across as the literary equivalent of watching a mastiff worry a thick hunk of gristle The competence and persistence on display are fascinating, but the slobber renders it all a bit grotesque hence my 3 1 2 star rating here Sondheim leavens this slightly via the inclusion of a Playbill worthy New Yorker worthy essay on why revivals are essential to theater.The best lyrical moments in this book the biggest surprises arise from the wit displayed in Sondheim s miscellany So, from an unfinished collaboration with Leonard Bernstein and Jerome Robbins working title a la Bernstein A Pray by Blecht , we have this gem that epitomizes the character of a despicable merchant exhorting a frightened servant to ford a river he can t swim at the barrel of a gun, of course There s a dream to be won,There s a dawn that is breaking.There are deeds to be done,There s a world in the making.There s a place in the sunAnd it s yours for the taking Get your ass in there Note how this both anticipates and undermines the naivete of Merrilyand the pomposity of the Mizner paterfamilias in Road Show And anyone with children can sympathize with this bit from a birthday song celebrating and gently mocking Mary Rodgers Nina tore the TV limb from limbTodd repaired it good for him Turn on Channel 5 oh, look, there s Kim Mommy Later Mommy s on the telephone Toddy s hitting Nina with a sledge.Kimmy s on the window ledge.Where could she have gone She was on the edge Mommy Later Mommy s on the telephone, please Children, I ll be with you in a minute p 410 The nice thing about reading a nonfiction sequel is that you can sometimes learn answers to questions raised in the earlier work So, in the comments of my other review, I wrote, I find Into the Woods awkward at best I mean, Sondheim had Bernadette Peters rapping in it Not the best artistic choice, Steve, for you or her As noted, Into the Woods is part of this book, and as you might expect, Sondheim has fairly progressive views about the relationship of rap to Broadway, finding its shared roots in vaudeville and citing Meredith Willson s brilliant use of rap in the opening number of The Music Man in which the traveling salesmen s patter echoes the momentum of a train Sondheim says he tried to make it work in his and Lapine s grown up fairytale, but credits Lin Manuel Miranda see, e.g., In the Heights and The Hamilton Mixtape with being a master of the form, but enough of a traditionalist to know the way he can utilize its theatrical potential See, e.g., p XXI of the Reintroduction Decide for yourself, but between a rapping Aaron Burr and Bring in Da Noize, Bring in Da Funk, I m fully on board.I had also wondered in my other review about Sondheim s nonstop use of death as a metaphor in every one of his shows, with a string of examples to prove it Sondheim has nothing to say about this particular idee fixe, but does at p 30 have much to offer on my fondness for the word hat, which the British critic Michael Ratcliffe pointed out in his program note at London s Royal National Theatre, when Sunday in the Park with George was produced there in 1990 From You could say, Hey, here s your hat in Gypsy to Does anyone still wear a hat in Company, through Hats off in Follies and It s called a bowler hat in Pacific Overtures, I seem to be attached to it as an image Surely some future graduate student in Musical Theater, looking for an obscure subject to write about, will seize on The Use of Headgear in Sondheim s Lyrics and conjure up insightful theories for my persistent attraction to the word, but I can save him the trouble it s the jaunty tone and the ease in rhyming that attract me two sound reasons So there you have it tone and rhymability Two poetic attributes to die for.Sondheim worries that he s losing his creative vitality He cites as evidence the facts that a for the first time he found himself mining multiple trunk songs for his stillborn Road Show b with the 17 years he spent researching and annotating the Hat books, he s been overindulging living in the past, as opposed to creating something new and c he s now 83 years old Fortunately, his closing is optimistic Time to start another hat Looking forward to that. Worth it just for Into the Woods Assassins I didn t read the whole thing, I haven t seen Passions and skipped most of the movie section except for Dick Tracy In some ways this volume feels lighter, but since Sunday, Woods, and Assassins are my favorite Sondheim shows I still liked it Interestingly I felt like he was harder on his work in Volume 1 Maybe it s just that he got better as he got older Or is it that the shows aren t as old I ve always had extremely mixed feelings about Act II of Sunday In the Park With George and I was hoping he would dig into that a bit, but I guess he feels like it s not dated and tacked on, so OK Just me. My favorite part of this book was the four chapters talking about his failed musical Road Show It reads almost like a mystery can you spot what is wrong with these lyrics Can you figure out how they re going to fix them, or at least try What new problems will that cause It gives part of this book something of a plot, and was the only time in either volume I found myself wanting to read the next chapter right away, to find out what happens next.My other favorite parts are his commissioned works, many of which were birthday songs, and delightful They show off his peerless ability at portraiture, or at least at poking good fun His song God about him, presumably tongue in cheek is a highlight of the book.The rest of the book follows in the footsteps of the first volume, chronicling his lyrics and providing commentary The we see this, the we see a curious teleology to the way he describes his musicals sometimes there are problems, but each iteration improves things until the end result, which is, with perhaps minor cavils, as good as can be This rings false to me, so here which includes some of his weaker works than in the first volume That, combined with the lack of his potted commentaries on previous generation lyricists, keeps this volume at 4 stars to me. I didn t read this as thoroughly as the first volume, because I m only familiar with two shows in it Into the Woods and Candide But everything I did read was interesting, though I got a bit of a grumpy old man vibe rrom this one Still, a must read for anyone interested in lyric writing or musical theatre. See the review I gave for Finishing the Hat This one especially stands out for me because it deals with three of my favorite musicals OF ALL TIME Sunday in the Park with George, Into the Woods and Assassins Seeing how much work is crafted in to every lyric only deepened my already deep appreciation for these works of art I also absolutely loved all of Sondheim s behind the scene stories he has a wonderfully dry and funny sense of humor He also endears you with his admissions that he doesn t get it right all of the time.The only reason why I took me such a long time to finish is that, being the obsessive nerd that I am, I had to listen and in some cases watch every known recording to each show production mentioned in the book as I went along And if you are in a position to do it do it It adds so much meaning to the lyrics and stories, as you hear how it was meant to be performed And you ll find that certain lyrics will make its way to your heart even so that you hear the story behind it.All in all, I recommend this to any true lover of theatre in general Sondheim is a master of his art, and I m so glad to have it in printed form to keep forever. Sondheim s second of the Hat Trick books is a mixed bag, rather like the shows that make up the bulk of its content i.e the four major versions of Road Show Bounce Gold Wise Guys The chapters on Into the Woods and Passion are excellent, and seeing just how long and drawn out the journey to bring Road Show to completion was, is certain edifying, but at some point one starts to feel as lost in the process as Sondheim himself confesses to be The final chapters, on work for films, television, birthdays, etc are fun and interesting, but as they are largely preoccupied with minor or unknown work, they lack the same resonance that permeates FINISHING THE HAT Still, it s an incredible work by an incredible artist, and his final chapter dedicated to encouraging younger artists is both touching and wise, though nothing is as heartbreaking as his epilogue Of course, he planned it that way Genius Asshole God. Look, I Made a Hat is only slightly less successful for me than Sondheim s first book of collected lyrics I still say Sondheim is the best lyricist the stage has ever seen, and for any stage aficionado, both books are required reading However, sections of this book are spent on songs that haven t been recorded, shows that have no music to reference In that sense, I often had a hard time understanding or loving Sondheim s work here, struggling to put it in context.About a third of the book four chapters is spent on the show that started out as Wise Guys, became Gold , then Bounce and Finally Road Show He s worked for 17 years on the show Only recordings of the last two versions exist, but Sondheim includes absolutely everything because he wants to say something about the creation, the incarnations, the permutations of a show, even if the show failed as, so far, all four iterations have I only found this moderately interesting I especially loved his small notes in between the versions of the songs However, I think he could ve written one succinct chapter instead of sinking into this sort of minute detail And he often write of the past here in a way that tries to explain the backstage politic too carefully, being too delicate to step on toes or point blame As a note, I believe I understand why Road Show has so far failed All of these versions seem too old fashioned, staid, and not unique in that way Sondheim is famous for He wrote a Grand Guignol horror musical, Sweeney Todd He wrote a backwards musical, Merrily We Roll Along He wrote a musical without a plot, Company He made one about killers and would be killers, Assassins He mashed together fairy tales in Into the Woods He brought a painting to musical life in Sunday in the Park with George Follies brings the ghosts of old Vaudeville and Broadway back to life Pacific Overtures is a marriage of kabuki and American musical theatre In Road Show, he doesn t do any of this inventiveness There is no fascinating, overarching structure like his other great works.I still love the man, and I would take a bullet for him And perhaps genius when it reaches old age he turns 82 on March 22, 2012 is bound to lose its edge Still, I have this hope that he and author John Weidman will find a structure a groundbreaking approach which will breath life into this most recent work Maybe this time Sondheim will call it Get Rich Quick , a title he s always wanted thought when applied to musical theater, this title seems patently absurd, especially when measured by the gestation of this show. `DOWNLOAD KINDLE ↡ Look, I Made a Hat: Collected Lyrics, 1981-2011, With Attendant Comments, Amplifications, Dogmas, Harangues, Digressions, Anecdotes, and Miscellany ↺ After His Acclaimed And Best Selling Finishing The Hat Named One Of The New York Times Best Books Of , 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 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