Finishing the Hat: Collected Lyrics (1954-1981) with Attendant Comments, Principles, Heresies, Grudges, Whines and Anecdotes
I'm fascinated by people who love their work and take it seriously, so even if I wasn't a musicals fan I probably would've enjoyed this book. The subtitle describes it pretty well: this is a collection of Sondheim's lyrics from the first half of his career, along with his commentary about the process of writing the lyrics and creating the shows. He also gives uncensored opinions on other lyricists' work, which are saved from seeming brutal by their obvious sincerity, and by the fact that he is just as hard on himself. Only very occasionally does he veer into seeming a bit spiteful, and then mostly about critics.This offers fascinating insight into the process of writing lyrics and the theatre world; I read every bit of commentary, even that about shows I'm not familiar with, and I can't wait for the second volume, Look, I Made a Hat: Collected Lyrics, 1981-2011, With Attendant Comments, Amplifications, Dogmas, Harangues, Wafflings, Diversions, and Anecdotes.