An engrossing bio of the man generally conceded to be America's best living lyricist and, perhaps, theatrical songwriter as well. Songwriter is really the wrong word, for in the Rogers-Hammerstein tradition in which Sondheim literally grew up (his family lived near and was friendly with Oscar), Sondheim would no more knock out a tune to fill a dull spot than stop doing the endless, intricate puzzles that comprise his leisure activity. An undisputed talent -- Follies, Company, A Little Night Music, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum -- he and long-time partner Hal Prince prefer to collaborate on what much of the paying public considers over-cerebral musicals -- which are to Sammy Calm what the Grateful Dead are to the Partridge Family. This book (written by the co-producer of Sondheim: A Musical Tribute) reveals how problems, human, musical, financial, and artistic, do or do not get resolved. But if there is little glossing over the unpleasantries, there is also none of the glitter of which legend is made and although the biographer makes no attempt to penetrate the recesses of this perfectionist's heart, he does make an excellent case for the musical as our country's finest contribution to theater.