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Look, I Made a Hat: Collected Lyrics (1981-2011) with attendant Comments, Amplifications, Dogmas, Harangues, Digressions, Anecdotes and Miscellany
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Look, I Made a Hat: Collected Lyrics (1981-2011) with attendant Comments, Amplifications, Dogmas, Harangues, Digressions, Anecdotes and Miscellany (The Hat Box #2)

4.49 of 5 stars 4.49  ·  rating details  ·  418 ratings  ·  52 reviews
As he did in the acclaimed Finishing the Hat, Sondheim richly annotates his lyrics with personal and theatre history, discussions of his collaborations, and exacting, charming dissections of his work - both the successes and the failures. Picking up where he left off in Finishing the Hat, he gives us all the lyrics, along with cutouts and early drafts, to the Pulitzer Priz ...more
Hardcover, 480 pages
Published November 24th 2011 by Virgin Books (first published November 22nd 2011)
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Look, I Made a Hat is only slightly less successful for me than Sondheim’s first book of collected lyrics. I still say Sondheim is the best lyricist the stage has ever seen, and for any stage aficionado, both books are required reading. However, sections of this book are spent on songs that haven’t been recorded, shows that have no music to reference. In that sense, I often had a hard time understanding or loving Sondheim’s work here, struggling to put it in context.

About a third of the book – f
Alex Nagler
He's God. I mean the man's a God. He wrote the book to Sweeney Todd with a nod to De Sade.
Kevin Fanning
Worth it just for Into the Woods & Assassins. I didn't read the whole thing, I haven't seen Passions and skipped most of the movie section except for Dick Tracy. In some ways this volume feels lighter, but since Sunday, Woods, and Assassins are my favorite Sondheim shows I still liked it more.

Interestingly I felt like he was harder on his work in Volume 1. Maybe it's just that he got better as he got older? Or is it that the shows aren't as old?

I've always had extremely mixed feelings abou
I rated the first volume of this 5 stars before I finished it 2 or 3 years ago - I wanted to save the final Merrily We Roll Along chapter until I'd experienced that show as a whole (no cast recording could ever hope to capture the story there - fortunately now we have the Digital Theatre production which stands up there with the 80s/90s James Lapine productions of Sunday in the Park with George, Into the Woods and Passion recorded for PBS). When I finally read that chapter toward the end of last ...more

Look, I Made a Hat is the second volume in Stephen Sondheim's collection of lyrics. This installment gives us his newest musicals (Sunday in the Park with George, Into the Woods, Assassins, and Passion), as well the much-revised Wise Guys and songs written for movies and special occasions.

I enjoyed this installment almost as much as the first one. The first book is entirely musicals, which I enjoyed because it makes it easy to get into the lyrics and he spends more time being focused on one thi
I didn't read this as thoroughly as the first volume, because I'm only familiar with two shows in it ("Into the Woods" and "Candide.") But everything I did read was interesting, though I got a bit more of a grumpy old man vibe rrom this one. Still, a must-read for anyone interested in lyric writing or musical theatre.
After finishing the first book Finishing the Hat, I was beyond excited to get my hands on this second book, which features a string of awesomeness, if not popular successes: Sunday in the Park with George, Into the Wood, and Assassins (my personal favorite Sondheim). And those sections were great. I loved finding out their origins and following their development. I was already pretty familiar with most of the lyrics but reading them over brought new pleasures. It was great to linger over and sav ...more
Michael Stevens
This review is for both Volume 1 ("Finishing the Hat" and Volume 2 ("Look I Made a Hat") of Stephen Sondheim's reflections and commentary on his lyrics.

These are necessary tools for any serious theatre-goer who wants to fully understand Sondheim's body of work. It is not overstating to say that Sondheim is to American musical theatre what Tennesse Williams is to American Drama: ocassionally dark and always provocative and smart. Obviously the flavors and tones are different and Sondheim's intell
Dec 30, 2011 Bruce rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of Sondheim, poetry, or musical theater
Look, I Made a Hat completes the publication of Sondheim’s collected lyrics, picking up where Finishing the Hat left off and then backfilling those gaps in the record Sondheim deemed noteworthy: incidental songs from movies, unproduced shows (including selected examples of juvenilia), and ditties he wrote to fete friends at birthday parties, pageants, and salons. As with the earlier book, Sondheim not only annotates and contextualizes his lyrics, but throws in assorted essays on various subjects ...more
The first volume followed Sondheim’s career from the beginning to 1980, and so it benefitted from the logical progression and growth of his experiences. This second one was a little less compelling for me because, although it contains two of my favorites (Into the Woods and Sunday in the Park), there is also a long section on the various iterations of Road Show plus bits and pieces from musicals that were never made, and individual songs for movies. I found myself skimming these parts; although ...more
This and his previous volume, Finishing the Hat: Collected Lyrics, 1954-1981, With Attendant Comments, Principles, Heresies, Grudges, Whines, and Anecdotes are a must for any serious student or fan of Stephen Sondheim. The sidebars are fewer in this volume, but there's a lot of odds and ends, plus a fascinating chapter where you see a musical evolve through several workshops and productions.
The tone of this second volume seemed to me a bit more reflective, and even regretful in places. But there was still plenty of Mr. Sondheim's wit and some fascinating recollections of the talented people he knew and worked with. The section about the work that became Road Show had an interesting feature for me: it started out interesting in the first incarnation, dragged through the permutations of Bounce, and then became really absorbing by the time the finished product came along. At the end o ...more
A lyrics writer can learn all she needs to know just by reading the footnotes in this magnificent memoir/teaching manual by the master lyricist of our tim. Stephen Sondheim is generous in sharing not only the way he arrived at his successes, but mistakes along the way, illuminating the difficult process of shaping words to music in a song in such a way as to make it memorable and singable (if you're Mandy Patinkin or Bernadette Peters anyway). Bravo! And great gratitude to Mr. Sondheim for his t ...more
Kate O'Hanlon
A great flip through for Sondheim fans
If you are any kind of musical theatre geek, this is a must-read. I love some Sondheim shows more than others, but having his insight and some of his anecdotes make going back through his lyrics such a great experience. Definitely start with his first volume "Finishing the Hat," but continue to this one, it's worth it.

Not only does he address some of his more famous shows, but shows that were never produced, show that went through multiple incarnations, as well as television and movie work.
Not as fascinating as the first book, but still interesting. Like the first time, I didn't actually read the lyrics, but just read the intro, the stand alone essays and some of the comments/anecdotes scattered throughout the book. What incredible experiences he's had. The book well reflects the collaborative nature of creating a show for the musical theater. I also liked his three listed principles and reflecting on how well they apply to other artistic disciplines.
Volume 2 doesn't succeed as well for me as volume 1. I think part of this is because there is more time spent on items outside of the theatre or on a show that still has not seen the light of day.

That said, Sondheim is one of the greatest living writers in the US. What he can do with a lyric to explain feeling, character, tone, and setting is remarkable. This books, together with volume 1 is a must-have for anyone who likes to play with words.
Steve Carroll
A worthy successor to the first volume which feature three of my all-time favorites (Sunday in the Park with George, Into the Woods, Assassins). I thought the case study of the 4 different versions of WiseGuys/Bounce/RoadShow was a really interesting case study in artistic problem solving. Sondheim is brilliant and it's fantastic that he left the analysis, advice, etc behind to future generations.
Mike McAdam
I enjoyed this book very much. I am fascinated by the inner workings of broadway and lyricists and all of that stuff. The only reason I am not giving it 5 stars is because one of his particular film projects that he covers was extremely hard to follow (for me). The rest of it I absolutely loved! If this subject matter interests you, start with Finishing the Hat and then read this one!!!
Behind the scenes with Sondheim. Interesting, but I wasn't as familiar with the music for just the lyrics alone to recall it for me. I suspect I'm not really the target audience for this book, and I grabbed it off the "new" shelf at the library on a whim. Most fascinating was the evolution of the piece that eventually became Road Show, and the various snippets of commentary.
Elizabeth Qualia
I love Stephen Sondheim! I have not read this book in its entirety, but what I have read is pure Sondheim genius. I am terrible upset that Into the Woods was dropped as a movie-the actors he mentions-wooooo-it could have been amazing. When I have time I think I shall read his notes while listening to the actual soundtracks as well.
Trinity School Summer Reading
If the craft of creating musicals, poetry, or stories is interesting to you, Sondheim's collected musical theater lyrics from 1980 to the present and his commentaries on the lyrics and the creative process is a glimpse into genius. His guiding artistic principles are less is more, content dictates form, and God is in the details.
Filled with some inconsequential back-matter about writing songs for friends, this second appraisal of Sondheim's work is worth the price of admission for his insights into classic musicals, and his own misconstrued and re-envisioned pieces (i.e., Road Show). One for any musical theatre fan, or any fan of craft out there.
Another chance to sit at the feet of the master as he pulls back the curtain on more of his great hits. Particularly instructive is his discussion of his working relationship with James Lapine, his analysis of the relationship between music and language in Passion, and long gestation of what became Road Show.
Not quite as much fun as the first volume--less lengthy (and engrossing) commentary from Sondheim, and more collected ephemera. Worth it for the best lyrics, though, including Into the Woods, Assassins, and Evening Primrose--three of my favorites.
7 pounds (really) of Sondheim's brilliance and wit. Self-effacing and charming. Everything you expect. Obviously if you're interested in reading this book, then you probably read the first one so you know what you're getting into.
Shaun Mitchell
The man is an absolute genius and by far my favorite American composer. So I may be a little biased. Just a tad! The book makes me want to learn music and be a composer. Sondheim loves what he does and he is good at it. My hero!
I think I enjoyed the first volume more because He taught so much about writing lyrics, but the second volume include Sunday in the Park with George, and Into the woods; two of my favorite musicals of his. Excellent read.
Not quite as interesting as the first book, perhaps because there were not as many familiar musicals in it. It is still a great read for musical lovers, writers, and artists of any kind.
This is a wonderfully hysterical and truthful continuation of book one, and a successful retrospective of an amazing career. A must for all Sondheim fans. A beautiful hat if I ever saw one.
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Stephen Joshua Sondheim is an American musical and film composer and lyricist, winner of an Academy Award, multiple Tony Awards (seven, more than any other composer), multiple Grammy Awards, and a Pulitzer Prize. He has been described by Frank Rich in the The New York Times as "the greatest and perhaps best-known artist in the American musical theater." His most famous scores include (as composer/ ...more
More about Stephen Sondheim...

Other Books in the Series

The Hat Box (2 books)
  • Finishing the Hat: Collected Lyrics, 1954-1981, With Attendant Comments, Principles, Heresies, Grudges, Whines, and Anecdotes
Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street Into the Woods Sunday in the Park With George Company: A Musical Comedy Finishing the Hat: Collected Lyrics, 1954-1981, With Attendant Comments, Principles, Heresies, Grudges, Whines, and Anecdotes

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