Skip to product information
1 of 5

The Standing Rabbit

Stephen Sondheim: A Life by Meryle Secrest

Stephen Sondheim: A Life by Meryle Secrest

Regular price $ 14.00 USD
Regular price Sale price $ 14.00 USD
Sale Sold out
Shipping calculated at checkout.

Stephen Sondheim:  A Life by Meryle Secrest is a 461-page hardcover published in 1998 by Alfred A. Knopf.  The dust jacket shows light shelf wear.  Inside, there is a personal inscription in ink on the front endpaper.  The rest of the book is in very goo condition.

Book Summary

In the first full-scale life of the most important composer-lyricist at work in musical theater today, Meryl Seacrest, 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, Seacrest 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 10, about his years in Military and private schools. She writes about his feelings of loneliness and abandonment, about the refugee found in the home of Oscar and Dorothy Hammerstein, and his determination to become just like Oscar.

Seacrest describes the years when Sondheim was struggling to gain a foothold in the theater, his attempts at script writing in his early twenties in Rome on the set of Beat the Devil with Bogart in Houston, and later in Hollywood is 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 playwright Arthur Lawrence, which led to his first success as co-lyricist with Leonard Bernstein on West Side Story to his collaboration with Lawrence on Gypsy, to his full Broadway score, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. And Seacrest writes about his first big success as a composer, lyricist, writer in the 1960s with Company, an innovative and sophisticated musical that examined marriage a 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 Seacrest vividly recreates the energy, the passion, the despair, the excitement, the genius, that went into the making of show after Sondheim show.

ISBN:  0-679-44817-9

View full details