Art Isn't Easy: The Theater of Stephen Sondheim

Overview

The musical theatre of Stephen Sondheim probes deeply into the most disturbing issues of contemporary life. By challenging his audience with intricate music, biting wit, and profound themes, he flouts the traditional wisdom of the musical theatre. Tracing Sondheim's career from his initial success as lyricist for "West Side Story" and "Gypsy" to his most recent work - "Into the Woods" and "Assassins" - Joanne Gordon emphasizes not only the disturbing content of Sondheim's work, but his innovative use of form. In ...

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Paperback (Updated ed., 1st Da Capo Press ed)
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Overview

The musical theatre of Stephen Sondheim probes deeply into the most disturbing issues of contemporary life. By challenging his audience with intricate music, biting wit, and profound themes, he flouts the traditional wisdom of the musical theatre. Tracing Sondheim's career from his initial success as lyricist for "West Side Story" and "Gypsy" to his most recent work - "Into the Woods" and "Assassins" - Joanne Gordon emphasizes not only the disturbing content of Sondheim's work, but his innovative use of form. In shows such as "A Little Night Music", "Sweeney Todd", and "Sunday in the Park with George", Sondheim's music and lyrics are inextricably woven into the fabric of the entire work.

Gordon explicates the works of Sondheim to repudiate the common perception of musical theater as mere escapist entertainment, showing how Sondheim tackles real, complex subjects, without fear of introducing pain, trauma, and difficult ideas onto the Broadway stage.

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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
A reprint of the Southern Illinois University Press edition of 1990, with the addition of a new chapter. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780306804687
  • Publisher: Da Capo Press
  • Publication date: 3/28/1992
  • Series: Quality Paperbacks Series
  • Edition description: Updated ed., 1st Da Capo Press ed
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 357
  • Product dimensions: 6.02 (w) x 9.04 (h) x 1.08 (d)

Meet the Author

Joanne Gordon is Head of the Directing Program at California State University. Art Isn't Easy, writeen with the full cooperation of Sondheim himself, is her first book.

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Table of Contents

Illustrations
Acknowledgments
1 The Musical Comes of Age 1
2 Something Familiar? 19
3 No One Is Alone? 38
4 "Through the Unknown, Remembered Gate" 76
5 "We Are Such Stuff as Dreams Are Made On" 123
6 Is Beauty Truth, Truth Beauty? 174
7 Grander Than Guignol 207
8 A Bumpy Ride 255
9 The Musical Stops Singing and Finds Its Voice 262
10 Sondheim Isn't Grim 301
11 From Madonna and Muppets to Mayhem 317
Notes 339
Bibliography 349
Index 355
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