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Sondheim is the Shakespeare of the musical theater world.
In my prayers every day, which are a combination of Hebrew prayers and Shakespeare and Sondheim lyrics and things people have said to me that I've written down and shoved in my pocket, I also say the name of every person I've ever known who's passed on.
I compare Stephen Sondheim with humor, because humor is unanalyzable. You can't analyze humor. You just have to get through it.
Stephen Sondheim told me that Oscar Hammerstein believed everything that he wrote. So there's great truth in the songs, and that's what was so wonderful to find.
If I could play any role in any musical, it would be Desiree in 'A Little Night Music' - Oh my, it is perfection. The character gets to be funny, beautiful, sexy and smart all at the same time and have two men fighting over her. The show is Stephen Sondheim at his absolute best... need I say more?
I think Stephen Sondheim is a - and I hardly ever use this word - but this is as close as it gets to a genius.
I had no idea how difficult Sondheim's music would be. All through the rehearsals, I kept flubbing. There were so many tempo changes. I could never get through the opening number without any mistakes. One day, I went up to Hal Prince and offered to leave the show. He laughed it off. He said, 'Don't be silly. That's why we have tryouts.'
The thing about Sondheim is that it does get very cerebral. You do need a faculty with words and a love for the lyrics to not just pull it off, but to have an appreciation for it.
Both of my parents are actors and directors and whatnot. My dad loves really solid, old school, Broadway musicals, and one of them is 'Assassins' by Stephen Sondheim. All of the successful or non-successful assassins that have ever existed in the United States come together, and they talk about their killing or attempts through songs.
My parents were what I like to call proper musical fans. Lots of Sondheim was played in the car.
I'm a devotee of Stephen Sondheim. I think he's a genius.
The music for 'The Last Five Years' is like running a 26-mile marathon, and singing Sondheim is like ballroom-dancing up Everest.
Stephen Sondheim I am in awe of.
No One Is Alone by Stephen Sondheim is all about thinking for yourself and being your own person.
Technically, 'Kukla, Fran and Ollie' was a kids' show, but adults watched almost religiously - and we're talking adult adults, celebrated adults - including James Thurber, Orson Welles, John Steinbeck, Adlai E. Stevenson and lyricist Stephen Sondheim.
Sondheim is my god; I love the man. I learned a great deal about writing from his work, his lyrics, and his structure.
I think one of my favorite productions ever was Sondheim's 'Assassins' at the Roundabout in 2004. Beyond brilliant.
I don't think it's that I don't like Sondheim. It's that I find it really... I don't know how to describe it. Doing it is the most extraordinary thing. Because it's like Shakespeare times 100 with singing. It's that satisfying - and that demanding.
'Sweeney Todd' is my favorite Sondheim musical.
The three theater peeps I would love to dine with are Mel Brooks, because he is so funny; Stephen Sondheim, because he is a god-like genius; and Ethel Merman, to compare notes on fabulous belting.
Sondheim writes the music and lyrics, and because he's so smart and goes so deep with his feelings, there's a lot to explore, get involved with and learn about.
Leonard Bernstein was probably the most significant formative influence on me - he was such an encompassing musician. I spent my teenage years absorbing him, and my other interests stemmed off of that. Bernstein led me to Sondheim and to Gershwin, and Sondheim led me to listening to Joni Mitchell.
Jason Robert Brown
A. P. J. Abdul Kalam
Martin Luther King, Jr.
Leonardo da Vinci
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