Cover

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Title Page and Copyright

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Acknowledgments

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pp. vii-ix

This book represents the culmination of work that began more than ‹fteen years ago in a classroom at the University of Washington. I had no idea that a term paper on Merrily We Roll Along would lead to graduate study at the University of California at Berkeley, a serendipitous...

Contents

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p. xi

A Chronology of Sondheim’s Creative Career

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pp. xiii-xvi

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Introduction

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pp. 1-4

Upstairs, of course, refers to the brownstone in Turtle Bay, not far from the United Nations headquarters in Manhattan. When Sondheim moved in, Katharine Hepburn, who lived next door, complained about the duration and volume of his piano playing. Sondheim began his creative life...

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1 Sondheim the Classicist

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pp. 5-45

The American musical theater is ‹lled with composers who wrote, performed, knew, and loved classical music. Herbert, Romberg, Friml, Weill, Blitzstein, Loewe, Bernstein, Coleman, Kander: Sondheim is hardly unique. Each of these composers would favor different composers,...

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2 Sondheim the Tunesmith

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pp. 47-96

As was revealed in the previous chapter, Sondheim named George Gershwin and Harold Arlen as signi‹cant in›uences on his musical development. Together with Jerome Kern, Irving Berlin, Richard Rodgers, and Cole Porter, Gershwin and Arlen make up what many...

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3 Pulling It Apart

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pp. 97-124

By the time “What Can You Lose?” is sung in the movie Dick Tracy, quite a bit of Sondheim has already gone by.1 The movie’s sole love song, it is the fourth of five Sondheim songs in the movie. It begins under the dialogue, with a faintly heard string sound stealing in from the...

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4 Sondheim the Dramaphile

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pp. 125-158

This is the standard story that tells how Sondheim learned about the theater, and quite a good story it is. It lays out a course of study that would bene‹t any would-be writer of musicals. It shows Sondheim’s initiative and industry. It shows Hammerstein’s interest in a young protégé...

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5 Sondheim the Cinéaste

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pp. 159-195

In this chapter, which traces Sondheim’s cinematic loves and ‹nds vestiges of them in his musicals, two ideas intertwine. First, while Sondheim did not propose most of the stories that he and his collaborators set to music, the stories bear striking similarities to ‹lms that he knew and...

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6 Putting It Together

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pp. 197-256

While Sondheim’s comments here focus narrowly on the music (with its concomitant lyric), his description starts with the dramatic. The music must account fully for every action on stage. A song (which here is apposite to “piece” or “composition”) may have a structure that follows...

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Appendix: The Concept Musical and Sondheim

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pp. 257-259

While writers have tried to de‹ne the concept musical, few have troubled to trace the genesis of the term. In his dissertation Eugene Robert Huber cited Martin Gottfried’s 1979 definition of the concept musical and asserted that the term “seemed to enjoy a great popularity in the sixties...

Notes

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pp. 261-288

Bibliography

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pp. 289-298

Credits

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pp. 299-301

Index

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pp. 303-315