With a deft hand and unbridled admiration for her subject, Rubin presents the career of a musical theater giant.
Stephen Sondheim’s life as composer and lyricist is the stuff of legends, starting with his fabled apprenticeship with Oscar Hammerstein, moving on to his Broadway beginnings with West Side Story, and his subsequent successes (and some failures) in the coming decades. Much has already been written for adults about the collaborative process for West Side Story, but Rubin succinctly captures the genesis of the production for confirmed young fans while no doubt hastening the rush of others to listen to the music and attend revivals. She then moves on to describe Gypsy, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Company, Follies, A Little Night Music, Pacific Overtures, Sweeny Todd, Merrily We Roll Along, Sunday in the Park with George, and Into the Woods. Readers will come away with an understanding of the difficulties involved in creating Broadway shows and an appreciation of the many, many talents required to finally reach opening night. Photographs and snippets of lyrics add to the whole package.
Musical-theater lovers, whether front-of-curtain, backstage, or audience, will revel in this journey in which “Every moment makes a contribution / Every little detail plays a part.” (list of shows, film scores, bibliography, videography, discography, source notes) (Biography. 12-18)