Since West Side Story, Stephen Sondheim has been rhyming his way into theater history. Today, he’s widely seen as the most important writer of musicals in the past half century.
Now at age 80, he’s looking back at his words and work in a book called Finishing the Hat: Collected Lyrics (1954-1981) with Attendant Comments, Principles, Heresies, Grudges, Whines and Anecdotes, which is really a master tutorial on the art and craft of lyric writing.
I spoke to him last month during a recent visit to the Music Center at Strathmore in Maryland. Here’s the full interview below:
Wednesday’s NewsHour piece can be found here.
Editor’s note: The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts announced this fall the Kennedy Center/Stephen Sondheim Inspirational Teacher Awards, a series of annual grants that recognize inspiring teachers across the United States created in honor of Stephen Sondheim’s 80th birthday. The awards will be presented each year on Sondheim’s birthday — March 22 — to teachers, kindergarten through college, who are nominated via the Kennedy Center website. To nominate a teacher for the award, visit www.kennedy-center.org/sondheimteacherawards. Nomination deadline is Dec. 15.