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Putting It Together: How Stephen Sondheim and I Created Sunday in the Park with George

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A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER A behind-the-scenes look at the making of the iconic musical Sunday in the Park with George Putting It Together chronicles the two-year odyssey of creating the iconic Broadway musical Sunday in the Park with George. In 1982, James Lapine, at the beginning of his career as a playwright and director, met Stephen Sondheim, nineteen years his senior A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER A behind-the-scenes look at the making of the iconic musical Sunday in the Park with George Putting It Together chronicles the two-year odyssey of creating the iconic Broadway musical Sunday in the Park with George. In 1982, James Lapine, at the beginning of his career as a playwright and director, met Stephen Sondheim, nineteen years his senior and already a legendary Broadway composer and lyricist. Shortly thereafter, the two decided to write a musical inspired by Georges Seurat's nineteenth-century painting A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte. Through conversations between Lapine and Sondheim, as well as most of the production team, and with a treasure trove of personal photographs, sketches, script notes, and sheet music, the two Broadway icons lift the curtain on their beloved musical. Putting It Together is a deeply personal remembrance of their collaboration and friend - ship and the highs and lows of that journey, one that resulted in the beloved Pulitzer Prize-winning classic.


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A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER A behind-the-scenes look at the making of the iconic musical Sunday in the Park with George Putting It Together chronicles the two-year odyssey of creating the iconic Broadway musical Sunday in the Park with George. In 1982, James Lapine, at the beginning of his career as a playwright and director, met Stephen Sondheim, nineteen years his senior A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER A behind-the-scenes look at the making of the iconic musical Sunday in the Park with George Putting It Together chronicles the two-year odyssey of creating the iconic Broadway musical Sunday in the Park with George. In 1982, James Lapine, at the beginning of his career as a playwright and director, met Stephen Sondheim, nineteen years his senior and already a legendary Broadway composer and lyricist. Shortly thereafter, the two decided to write a musical inspired by Georges Seurat's nineteenth-century painting A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte. Through conversations between Lapine and Sondheim, as well as most of the production team, and with a treasure trove of personal photographs, sketches, script notes, and sheet music, the two Broadway icons lift the curtain on their beloved musical. Putting It Together is a deeply personal remembrance of their collaboration and friend - ship and the highs and lows of that journey, one that resulted in the beloved Pulitzer Prize-winning classic.

30 review for Putting It Together: How Stephen Sondheim and I Created Sunday in the Park with George

  1. 4 out of 5

    Tom O’Leary

    SUNDAY IN THE PARK WITH GEORGE is perhaps my all time favorite musical. The ending of Act One is one of the most moving moments I have experienced in the theater. This behind the scenes memoir of the creation of SUNDAY is mesmerizing. On these witty pages author/creator Lapine shares the blood, sweat and tears shed in the creation of the Pulitzer Prize winning musical. If you love theater you will not be able to put this book down. Bravo.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Blake Dean

    While certainly not for every reader, Putting It Together is perfect for anyone interested generally in the process of artistic creation or more particularly in musical theatre in the 80s. After finishing this book I find myself more astounded that Sunday in the Park with George exists as it does, and more impressed by Lapine’s vision/craft. Sondheim will forever astound me in his attention to detail, and understanding of an audience — but this book presents his genius on full display.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Lynn

    Nice overview of the first Broadway performances of Sunday in the Park with George with the original cast. Very nice.

  4. 4 out of 5

    James Beggarly

    Thanks to Netgalley and FSG for the ebook. This is one of my favorite musicals and it’s fascinating to see how it all came together. The second half of the book is the complete script, but the first half is how this show was created. It’s written by the man who wrote the book for the musical as well as directed the show. The directing is key because that means he has to deal with every aspect of the show: The actors, musical team, customers and designers, which gives us an even greater look into Thanks to Netgalley and FSG for the ebook. This is one of my favorite musicals and it’s fascinating to see how it all came together. The second half of the book is the complete script, but the first half is how this show was created. It’s written by the man who wrote the book for the musical as well as directed the show. The directing is key because that means he has to deal with every aspect of the show: The actors, musical team, customers and designers, which gives us an even greater look into all aspects of this show. The most remarkable part of this book is seeing how this simple idea morphs and grows, sometimes painfully, into this beloved musical.

  5. 5 out of 5

    V. Briceland

    In this compulsively readable volume, James Lapine has stitched together personal memoir and candid chats with artists of all stripes to recount the making of Sunday in the Park with George, the 1984 Stephen Sondheim musical which Lapine directed and for which he wrote the book. Lapine recounts the genesis of the project from its earliest days, during his transition from the design world into the realm of experimental theater, and how it began to take shape shortly after meeting Sondheim and sug In this compulsively readable volume, James Lapine has stitched together personal memoir and candid chats with artists of all stripes to recount the making of Sunday in the Park with George, the 1984 Stephen Sondheim musical which Lapine directed and for which he wrote the book. Lapine recounts the genesis of the project from its earliest days, during his transition from the design world into the realm of experimental theater, and how it began to take shape shortly after meeting Sondheim and suggesting a collaboration. Through dozens of casual—and often humorous—conversations with Sondheim and the many producers and artists who contributed to mounting the show, Lapine manages to give fans of the show behind-the-scenes looks at how the story was shaped, the songs tortuously composed, the orchestrations set, the sets and costumes constructed, and even how its casting decisions arose and its unforgettable promotional poster was conceived. The story is rife with backstage gossip and conflict. Decades enough have passed, though, that most of the participants are able to recount them with a sense of humor. Lapine is disarmingly frank about his inexperience as a Broadway director and recognizes how frustrated the professional actors and artists must have been with his inability to express what he wanted in terms they would readily understand. In a similar vein, lead actor Mandy Patinkin is equally vocal about how difficult he was to Lapine and his fellow actors, thanks to his own insecurities at the time. The book really only stretches as far as the show's opening night, with a brief, sweet coda when it won the Pulitzer Prize for drama. As a bonus, Lapine includes the complete book of the show. Any fan of Sondheim or of the theatrical creative process should enjoy this fascinating tale; I found it so enjoyable that by book's end I was merrily composing a list of other shows I'd love to see receive a similar treatment.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Jeff Goodman

    Musical theatre nerds, rejoice! I just finished listening to the audiobook of James Lapine’s “Putting it Together: How Stephen Sondheim and I Created Sunday in the Park with George.” It’s a must read/listen. They have a main narrator who reads the text and the voice of James Lapine, and then a group of actors reading the quotes of all of the various people interviewed. Len Cariou is the voice of Stephen Sondheim and is fantastic. It includes music from the show played on the piano to underscore Musical theatre nerds, rejoice! I just finished listening to the audiobook of James Lapine’s “Putting it Together: How Stephen Sondheim and I Created Sunday in the Park with George.” It’s a must read/listen. They have a main narrator who reads the text and the voice of James Lapine, and then a group of actors reading the quotes of all of the various people interviewed. Len Cariou is the voice of Stephen Sondheim and is fantastic. It includes music from the show played on the piano to underscore the themes being presented. Listen to the audio version. It made me love one of my all time favorite shows even more!

  7. 4 out of 5

    Alex Curtis

    Theater buffs, acting students and budding playwrights will love this delicious masterclass on creating a Broadway musical. I grew up with Sunday In The Park With George, so this was just a treat. These witty pages author/creator Lapine shares the blood, sweat and tears shed in the creation of the Pulitzer Prize winning musical. If you love theater you will not be able to put this book down. Bravo.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Michael

    If you like theater, Broadway, Sondheim, backstage gossip you will devour this book. Sunday in the Park with George is actually one of my least favorite shows, but I like Sondheim, it was a lot of fun to go on a deep dive into the behind-the-scenes making of a musical and all the problems joys and larger-than-life folks behind things before anyone ever takes to the stage. The book breezes by and really was a treat.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Ais

    Way too short. I needed so much more of this. 60000/10

  10. 4 out of 5

    Tim Pinckney

    I devoured this. An oral history about the creation of "Sunday in the Park with George", a show that most artists love unconditionally. This examines the creative process through candid discussions by the diverse collection of artists that created the piece. I devoured this. An oral history about the creation of "Sunday in the Park with George", a show that most artists love unconditionally. This examines the creative process through candid discussions by the diverse collection of artists that created the piece.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Susan Chapek

    Devoured this so quickly I didn't even take the time to post it on my "currently reading" shelf. Yeah, theater nut here, and I love to read memoirs--especially about process. My thanks to everybody who agreed to be interviewed. Devoured this so quickly I didn't even take the time to post it on my "currently reading" shelf. Yeah, theater nut here, and I love to read memoirs--especially about process. My thanks to everybody who agreed to be interviewed.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Rick

    I inhaled this book in one sitting. James Lapine writes about the creation of one of my favorite musicals of all time: Sunday in the Park With George. I enjoyed reading about the creative/collaborative process he and Stephen Sondheim took in creating this masterpiece. I first discovered the musical itself when I was at a difficult crossroads in my life. At the time, I was facing some serious and life changing decisions. So much of the music/lyrics spoke to me at the time. This lyric in particula I inhaled this book in one sitting. James Lapine writes about the creation of one of my favorite musicals of all time: Sunday in the Park With George. I enjoyed reading about the creative/collaborative process he and Stephen Sondheim took in creating this masterpiece. I first discovered the musical itself when I was at a difficult crossroads in my life. At the time, I was facing some serious and life changing decisions. So much of the music/lyrics spoke to me at the time. This lyric in particular, from “Move On”… Stop worrying where you're going Move on If you can know where you're going You've gone Just keep moving on I chose, and my world was shaken So what? The choice may have been mistaken The choosing was not You have to move on These words stuck in my brain and became almost like a mantra. They helped me build up the courage to make the choices I needed to make. And then, there’s what I consider to be the best song in the history of musical theater, “Finishing the Hat”. Though the character, George, is singing about creating art, and getting lost in that world of creation, the lyrics resonated in me. I am a teacher. Teaching is both a science and an art. This fact is one of the many reasons I have loved my vocation for so long. Creating lessons and units of study is an art form that can be totally absorbing. So, when George sings the following, I understood completely: Finishing the hat How you have to finish the hat How you watch the rest of the world From a window while you finish the hat Mapping out a sky What you feel like, planning a sky What you feel when voices that come Through the window Go Until they distance and die Until there's nothing but sky And how you're always turning back too late From the grass or the stick Or the dog or the light Coming from the hat, studying the hat Entering the world of the hat Reaching through the world of the hat Like a window Back to this one from that If you’re unfamiliar with this Pulitzer Prize winning show, you can probably stream in on YouTube. I hear that it’s definitely streaming on Hoopla.

  13. 4 out of 5

    RKreads

    Thank you to Netgally and Farrar, Straus and Giroux Publishing for providing me with an arc of this audiobook in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. I really wanted to read this book because I have a love for musical theater from the performance perspective but I also really enjoy a lot of the behind the scenes and development process. I think its important to note that a huge part of why I enjoyed this book is because I find the subject matter interesting. I found the first Thank you to Netgally and Farrar, Straus and Giroux Publishing for providing me with an arc of this audiobook in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. I really wanted to read this book because I have a love for musical theater from the performance perspective but I also really enjoy a lot of the behind the scenes and development process. I think its important to note that a huge part of why I enjoyed this book is because I find the subject matter interesting. I found the first couple of chapters a bit boring and self- indulgent.so it did take me a little while to get into it and once the book gets into the actual process for Sunday in the Park it gets much better and only gets better as the book progresses. Even he interviews which I found a bit cringey in the beginning got better as the book progressed. I appreciate that the author goes into extensive detail with the things that "weren't working" and the rough road of the musical's origin's. Being on the younger side means that I really only know this musical as a "master piece" and a success. I think it's super interesting hearing about how it wasn't always viewed that way. It's also super interesting when it's put into he context of being after the "failure" of Merrily and before my favorite Sondheim musical, Into the Woods. I listed to the audiobook and I am a bit torn about recommending it. On the one hand the fact that I was listening to the audiobook helped with getting through the beginning of the book and I feel I might have DNFed early if I wasn't listening to the audiobook. On the other hand there are a lot of interview sections which I found very strange to listen to. It was like listening to a documentary that is entirely reenactments. These interviews are being conducted with people whose voices I know but the audiobook has different voice actors (I get it, I wouldn't expect Bernadette Petters to come in to voice her interviews) so it just feels a little weird and off. In general, I found the interview sections a bit weird in terms of their style and the mismatched voices didn't help.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Kevin

    Theater buffs, acting students and budding playwrights will love this delicious masterclass on creating a Broadway musical. In 1982, Lapine began collaborating with Stephen Sondheim to create SUNDAY IN THE PARK WITH GEORGE. Sondheim wrote the songs while Lapine wrote the book and directed the 1984 Broadway production. "Memory is uniquely personal and, as time passes, the facts of an event are often rewritten to reflect the teller and the stories he or she chooses to hold true," writes Lapine, ex Theater buffs, acting students and budding playwrights will love this delicious masterclass on creating a Broadway musical. In 1982, Lapine began collaborating with Stephen Sondheim to create SUNDAY IN THE PARK WITH GEORGE. Sondheim wrote the songs while Lapine wrote the book and directed the 1984 Broadway production. "Memory is uniquely personal and, as time passes, the facts of an event are often rewritten to reflect the teller and the stories he or she chooses to hold true," writes Lapine, explaining his decision to interview 40 people connected with the production. These conversations are presented throughout the book in a q&a format and form an oral history. The conversations between Lapine and Sondheim are fascinating and insightful, especially detailing their writing routines. Sondheim still follows his training under Oscar Hammerstein: "Always think character and story, and then you think about the song." Sondheim's anecdotes also create delightful and precise mini-portraits of previous collaborators (Arthur Laurents, Hal Prince, Hugh Wheeler and others). Lapine's conversations with cast members (including Bernadette Peters, Mandy Patinkin and Christine Baranski) are also expansive, covering the production of GEORGE and other shows. Kudos to Lapine for keeping in some thorny conversations that don't always show him in the best light--he reminds Brent Spiner of their clashes on two projects, and Spiner replies, "Yes. You were new to the game. You didn't have a vocabulary to talk to actors." PUTTING IT TOGETHER offers musical theater fans front row center seats to creating a Broadway show with an impeccable lineup of tour guides. PUTTING IT TOGETHER is the Broadway book of the year, filled with passion, conflict and the truth about how a legendary Broadway musical was created.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Hunter Burke

    Sunday in the Park with George is one of those pieces of musical theatre that sticks with you. It speaks to the creative process, the importance of art, the things we leave behind and inherit. It’s one of my favorite pieces of theatre, so when I heard that James Lapine was releasing a book about the creation of this musical, I knew I had to get my hands on a copy. From the way it was marketed, I expected Putting it Together to be a blend of memoir and interviews with people who were involved in Sunday in the Park with George is one of those pieces of musical theatre that sticks with you. It speaks to the creative process, the importance of art, the things we leave behind and inherit. It’s one of my favorite pieces of theatre, so when I heard that James Lapine was releasing a book about the creation of this musical, I knew I had to get my hands on a copy. From the way it was marketed, I expected Putting it Together to be a blend of memoir and interviews with people who were involved in the original production of Sunday in the Park with George. This books definitely reads less like a memoir, and more as a well edited oral history of the making of a piece of theatre. And it’s extremely engaging. Getting to hear first hand accounts of this show’s creation all the way to its premiere on Broadway is thrilling. James Lapine and Stephen Sondheim feature heavily in this book. A good majority of the book is made up of conversations between the two of them. It’s so exciting to be able to peek behind the curtain of this show, to learn about what went wrong and what went right, how things changed from Off-Broadway to Broadway, how Sunday was one of the first musicals to ever have an extended workshop process before heading to Broadway. There is so much history here that has thankfully been recorded and immortalized in this book. It’s a must read for any Sondheim fan, any composer, or anyone who loves musical theatre.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Claire

    I received Putting it Together as part of a NetGalley giveaway. Putting it Together tracks the development, casting, staging, and eventual Broadway debut of the musical Sunday in the Park with George. In interviews led by playwright and director James Lapine with input from composer Stephen Sondheim, stars Mandy Patinkin and Bernadette Peters, and countless supporting cast and crew, it is an all-encompassing look at a challenging but ultimately satisfying production that regularly sees revivals n I received Putting it Together as part of a NetGalley giveaway. Putting it Together tracks the development, casting, staging, and eventual Broadway debut of the musical Sunday in the Park with George. In interviews led by playwright and director James Lapine with input from composer Stephen Sondheim, stars Mandy Patinkin and Bernadette Peters, and countless supporting cast and crew, it is an all-encompassing look at a challenging but ultimately satisfying production that regularly sees revivals nearly 40 years later. I really enjoyed this. I'm a huge Broadway fan, though I'm less familiar with Sunday, and any opportunity to learn about a show from the ground up is one I enthusiastically accept. James Lapine is an incisive and at times self-deprecating interviewer, conceding that his unfamiliarity with musical theatre and direction could sometimes lead him astray. The interviewees provide fascinating insights, and don't shy away from some of the personality and creative conflicts that plagued the show's development. A really insightful look at a classic show.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Kristin

    Towards the ending of this musical, George describes the air as being "rich and full of light". And I honestly cannot think of a better phrase to describe this book (and show itself, of course). I've seen the filmed original production many times, as well as the most recent Broadway revival. It is a GIFT to finally have a history chronicling this magnificent show's creation/road to Broadway. This book is chock full of interviews between Lapine and Sondheim, the cast, crew and other industry membe Towards the ending of this musical, George describes the air as being "rich and full of light". And I honestly cannot think of a better phrase to describe this book (and show itself, of course). I've seen the filmed original production many times, as well as the most recent Broadway revival. It is a GIFT to finally have a history chronicling this magnificent show's creation/road to Broadway. This book is chock full of interviews between Lapine and Sondheim, the cast, crew and other industry members behind this work. Each was full of incredibly fascinating, deeply honest conversation. I listened in a state of awe. My only complaint is that I wish it was longer! I would have loved to hear about replacement casts and the filming of the production for PBS. Highly recommend taking this in on audiobook - the various narrators (especially Adam Grupper and Len Cariou) were excellent. "Putting It Together" should absolutely be required reading for anyone interested in the theater. A masterpiece about the making of a masterpiece.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Caleb Hoyer

    For fans of the musical "Sunday in the Park With George," or any lovers of musical theater, this book offers a fascinating look at the development of this particular show. I especially found it interesting as a historical record of a show's development from idea to off-Broadway to Broadway via a method and an era that doesn't exist in the same way anymore. My only quibble with the book is its transcript format. In some ways I liked it; it certainly made the reading fast and it was also very dire For fans of the musical "Sunday in the Park With George," or any lovers of musical theater, this book offers a fascinating look at the development of this particular show. I especially found it interesting as a historical record of a show's development from idea to off-Broadway to Broadway via a method and an era that doesn't exist in the same way anymore. My only quibble with the book is its transcript format. In some ways I liked it; it certainly made the reading fast and it was also very direct, with little room given for Lapine's subjective reflection and maximum room given to people's direct accounts. But it also felt like a shortcut in some ways, just people getting together and reminiscing instead of a structured, thoughtful account of the show's creation. It's hard to say whether this aspect was a net negative or positive for the book's enjoyment, but it was big question mark for me. Still, though, I found the book riveting and enjoyable.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Christy

    If you enjoy theater, you will probably enjoy reading about how this show came together (and how long it took, and how the second act wasn’t finished) from the writer and composer and producers and actors and costume designer and set designer and musical director and musicians. What makes this book much more than a typical oral history is who these people ended up becoming, so seeing them at this period in their lives informs so much of what they accomplished afterwords. James Lapine with his fi If you enjoy theater, you will probably enjoy reading about how this show came together (and how long it took, and how the second act wasn’t finished) from the writer and composer and producers and actors and costume designer and set designer and musical director and musicians. What makes this book much more than a typical oral history is who these people ended up becoming, so seeing them at this period in their lives informs so much of what they accomplished afterwords. James Lapine with his first Broadway experience. Sondheim, anytime. A young Mandy Patinkin. Bernadette Peters, already an experienced performer. Christine Baranski, Dana Ivey, Charles Kimbrough. Also fascinating to hear their thoughts more than three decades later, especially about how they did or did not get along, and their thoughts on the most recent revival.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Rodrigo

    I mean, if you even know of the existence of this book than you're most likely just as much a Sondheim stan as I am and in this case, this book will hit every button for you. I listened to the audio book so it sort of came off as like an extended podcast or audio doc but that was fine by me. And yeah there were a few times I wish it was someone other than James Lapine who, if i'm being polite, seems to have a very pointed/one sided take on how things went down and while he does interview most of I mean, if you even know of the existence of this book than you're most likely just as much a Sondheim stan as I am and in this case, this book will hit every button for you. I listened to the audio book so it sort of came off as like an extended podcast or audio doc but that was fine by me. And yeah there were a few times I wish it was someone other than James Lapine who, if i'm being polite, seems to have a very pointed/one sided take on how things went down and while he does interview most of the folks involved with the production you definitely can feel his hand editing and shaping this book to be very much HIS version of things. But stil...I ate this shit up and wanted even more when I finished it all too quickly (just two days)

  21. 4 out of 5

    Noah

    A brilliant treatise on writing and producing a musical, to be sure, but also, a vivid, exhaustive journey retold of one of my favorite musicals ever. Mainly told through interviews with dots of Lapine’s prose here and there, Putting it Together offers perspectives from nearly all involved in the production — including those who didn’t necessarily support it. I loved seeing the photos and manuscripts included, too. Through it all, I felt Steve’s and James’s stress, excitement, and energy. The boo A brilliant treatise on writing and producing a musical, to be sure, but also, a vivid, exhaustive journey retold of one of my favorite musicals ever. Mainly told through interviews with dots of Lapine’s prose here and there, Putting it Together offers perspectives from nearly all involved in the production — including those who didn’t necessarily support it. I loved seeing the photos and manuscripts included, too. Through it all, I felt Steve’s and James’s stress, excitement, and energy. The book ends with the complete script for Sunday. It made me cry. To relive Sunday’s conception and then read the full work is to see everything anew. Thank you for giving us more to see, James.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Tom Holehan

    A glorious behind-the-scenes look at the creation of a modern musical masterpiece. James Lapine's unlikely rise from graphic designer to Tony Award nominated director/writer makes for endlessly fascinating reading and his collaboration with Stephen Sondheim (theatre god!) at such a young age should give every fledgling writer hope out there. There are a series of great interviews scattered throughout the book from people who were intimately involved in the creation of SUNDAY IN THE PARK WITH GEO A glorious behind-the-scenes look at the creation of a modern musical masterpiece. James Lapine's unlikely rise from graphic designer to Tony Award nominated director/writer makes for endlessly fascinating reading and his collaboration with Stephen Sondheim (theatre god!) at such a young age should give every fledgling writer hope out there. There are a series of great interviews scattered throughout the book from people who were intimately involved in the creation of SUNDAY IN THE PARK WITH GEORGE and delicious gossip and theatrical wit sprinkled liberally among the pages. As a bonus, the entire book of the musical is included at the end of Lapine's reporting, but it's ultimately his personal history that makes you want to read on and on.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Eric

    Briefly, a wonderful book. I’ve only heard the musical Sunday in the Park with George once (not all of it - the songs of the original cast album, and that, a few days ago!) but I can tell I’m going to want to hear it again, and see the whole show; and the interviews, sketches, the description of what went into making this musical was a terrific read, combining many of the qualities of Ted Chapin’s book on Follies and Sondheim’s own two books on the background of his musicals, while adding others Briefly, a wonderful book. I’ve only heard the musical Sunday in the Park with George once (not all of it - the songs of the original cast album, and that, a few days ago!) but I can tell I’m going to want to hear it again, and see the whole show; and the interviews, sketches, the description of what went into making this musical was a terrific read, combining many of the qualities of Ted Chapin’s book on Follies and Sondheim’s own two books on the background of his musicals, while adding others. At least for fans of his work like me, this and the Putting It Together podcast (not associated with this book beyond the name also coming from Sunday, but a terrific in-depth Sondheim podcast) have been some of the great recent discoveries for me.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Elisa

    As a super fan of SUNDAY IN THE PARK WITH GEORGE, I was the perfect reader for this oral history of how the musical went from inception to the Tony Awards. Lapine manages to interview everyone involved with the show, even if they were only part of the workshop and not Broadway (I see you Christine Baranski!). Lapine doesn't shy away from criticisms of himself and what he has learned in the process. It was lovely to hear Stephen Sondheim speak at length about SUNDAY and to fully understand the in As a super fan of SUNDAY IN THE PARK WITH GEORGE, I was the perfect reader for this oral history of how the musical went from inception to the Tony Awards. Lapine manages to interview everyone involved with the show, even if they were only part of the workshop and not Broadway (I see you Christine Baranski!). Lapine doesn't shy away from criticisms of himself and what he has learned in the process. It was lovely to hear Stephen Sondheim speak at length about SUNDAY and to fully understand the insane demands involved in the mounting of a Broadway show. Thanks to Farrar, Strauss and Giroux, James Lapine and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Matthew Carey

    I loved this. The most candid book I can remember reading about the theatre-making process. I had the pleasure of working on a subsequent production of the show Sunday in the Park with George so I know the show back to front. This isn't just a 'peek under the hood'...this is an account that starts from gathering the parts, laying them out on the floor to see what you've got and then building the car...while it's rolling down a hill headed towards a Broadway opening night. This is a must-read for I loved this. The most candid book I can remember reading about the theatre-making process. I had the pleasure of working on a subsequent production of the show Sunday in the Park with George so I know the show back to front. This isn't just a 'peek under the hood'...this is an account that starts from gathering the parts, laying them out on the floor to see what you've got and then building the car...while it's rolling down a hill headed towards a Broadway opening night. This is a must-read for all Sondheim fans, and anyone who has dreamed of creating their own musical. Art isn't easy. Wish I could give this 6 stars.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Jill Shaw Ruddock

    What an amazing story of how this musical masterpiece was created by James Lapine and Stephen Sondheim. I was particularly moved by the creation of the songs Lesson #8 and Children and Art and how were added to the show just the weekend before it opened. It’s all in the struggle which Lapine uses to motivate,ignite and connect the cast to the script and the music. I also loved the bit about Frank Rich of the New York times who gave it a good review but then went back the next night to see it aga What an amazing story of how this musical masterpiece was created by James Lapine and Stephen Sondheim. I was particularly moved by the creation of the songs Lesson #8 and Children and Art and how were added to the show just the weekend before it opened. It’s all in the struggle which Lapine uses to motivate,ignite and connect the cast to the script and the music. I also loved the bit about Frank Rich of the New York times who gave it a good review but then went back the next night to see it again and gave it a great review. And then sunday was awarded the Pulitzer. It’s a wonderful read and I loved how the story was constructed and told

  27. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

    If you are a musical fan, this book is pure gold. James Lapine describes his journey to writing musicals, the most famous of which is obviously Sunday in the Park with George. The audiobook is an absolute gift. Read by the author, the stories are given personal weight and George Sondheim himself reads his portions of the dialogue describing their collaboration. We also hear about Bernadette Peters and Mandy Patinkin and their thoughts on Sunday and Lapine and Sondheim. This book has laughs and a If you are a musical fan, this book is pure gold. James Lapine describes his journey to writing musicals, the most famous of which is obviously Sunday in the Park with George. The audiobook is an absolute gift. Read by the author, the stories are given personal weight and George Sondheim himself reads his portions of the dialogue describing their collaboration. We also hear about Bernadette Peters and Mandy Patinkin and their thoughts on Sunday and Lapine and Sondheim. This book has laughs and a lot of learning moments. I absolutely love it.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Tad

    An absolute must read for all musical theatre lovers, particularly fans of Stephen Sondheim. Here, you get a deep dive into the behind the scenes of Sunday in the Park with George, one of Sondheim's more acclaimed works. Will probably be enjoyed more by folks who are more familiar with the musical. I've only seen it once so don't know it that well so some of the more intimate details of the show and how it came together were lost on me. But this was still a very enjoyable read and I'm gonna need An absolute must read for all musical theatre lovers, particularly fans of Stephen Sondheim. Here, you get a deep dive into the behind the scenes of Sunday in the Park with George, one of Sondheim's more acclaimed works. Will probably be enjoyed more by folks who are more familiar with the musical. I've only seen it once so don't know it that well so some of the more intimate details of the show and how it came together were lost on me. But this was still a very enjoyable read and I'm gonna need Lapine to write one about Into the Woods (my favorite musical) now!

  29. 5 out of 5

    Andrea Larson

    I love anything related to Sondheim, so this book was easy to like. But even if you're not a big Sondheim fan, this is an amazing overview of what it takes to conceive and make a Broadway musical. Lapine, who wrote the book for and directed "Sunday," constructed this book by pulling together interviews he had done with lots of folks who were involved in the 1984 show. Wonderful insights into Sondheim's process and Broadway legends like Mandy Patinkin and Bernadette Peters. Perfect for all musica I love anything related to Sondheim, so this book was easy to like. But even if you're not a big Sondheim fan, this is an amazing overview of what it takes to conceive and make a Broadway musical. Lapine, who wrote the book for and directed "Sunday," constructed this book by pulling together interviews he had done with lots of folks who were involved in the 1984 show. Wonderful insights into Sondheim's process and Broadway legends like Mandy Patinkin and Bernadette Peters. Perfect for all musical fans - and a great, multi-voiced audiobook too.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    This goes on my shelf right next to the wonderful annotated "making of 'Hamilton'" book by Lin- Manuel Miranda. Set in the early years of the 1980s, putting on a Broadway show was a much different enterprise than today, where there's a dozen producers named in the credits and the crowds are scanty due to Covid. So many great nuggets in this book, uncovered mostly via James Lapine's Q&As with the original cast and crew. A "must read" if you're a fan of Sondheim and the original "Sunday in the Par This goes on my shelf right next to the wonderful annotated "making of 'Hamilton'" book by Lin- Manuel Miranda. Set in the early years of the 1980s, putting on a Broadway show was a much different enterprise than today, where there's a dozen producers named in the credits and the crowds are scanty due to Covid. So many great nuggets in this book, uncovered mostly via James Lapine's Q&As with the original cast and crew. A "must read" if you're a fan of Sondheim and the original "Sunday in the Park with George."

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