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Stephen Sondheim Quotes
- Page 3
I firmly believe lyrics have to breathe and give the audience's ear a chance to understand what's going on. Particularly in the theater, where you have costume, story, acting, orchestra.
I'm very opinionated about movie musicals when they're adapted from live shows. You'll sit still for a three-minute song in a theater. But in movies, a glance from someone's eyes will tell you the whole story in a few seconds.
If you force yourself to write away from the piano, you come up with more inventive things. If you're too good a piano player, as some composers are, the music may become flavorless and glib. And if you're not a very good pianist, you're limited to the same patterns.
Every single song I've ever written is sung by a character created by somebody else. Some might have a jaundiced view of love, some don't. But none of these songs is me singing - not a single one.
My mother wanted me off her hands. She was a working woman. She designed clothes, and she was a celebrity collector. It's my mother's ambition to be a celebrity.
My parents weren't around much, but I assumed everybody's family was the same. I didn't know people had mummies and daddies who would give them milk and cookies after school. I just thought everybody lived on Central Park West and they had a nanny to take care of them.
The fact is popular art dates. It grows quaint. How many people feel strongly about Gilbert and Sullivan today compared to those who felt strongly in 1890?
Every time one can write a self-deluded song, you are way ahead of the game, way ahead. Self-delusion is the basis of nearly all the great scenes in all the great plays, from 'Oedipus' to 'Hamlet.'
Musicals are plays, but the last collaborator is your audience, so you've got to wait 'til the last collaborator comes in before you can complete the collaboration.
Lyrics have to be underwritten. That's why poets generally make poor lyric writers because the language is too rich. You get drowned in it.
When the audience comes in, it changes the temperature of what you've written.
Generally, the best recording is the original cast, because that's the way the piece grew: integrally, with them.
I don't find my life that interesting. The shows, maybe. But not me.
I don't listen to recordings of my songs. I don't avoid it, I just don't go out of my way to do it.
I fell into lyric writing because of music. I backed into it.
I would have been a geologist.
In the Rodgers and Hammerstein generation, popular hits came out of shows and movies.
When I was growing up, there was no such thing as Off-Broadway. You either got your show on or you didn't.
When the song is part of the action and working as dialogue, even two minutes is way too long.
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