Frequently Asked Questions  

I am more than happy to help you with any questions you may have about Sondheim, his work, and this Guide, but please first see if it is answered below.  There is an amazing quantity of information gathered in this Guide.  Before writing, take some time to explore the site by going to the complete Table of Contents.  I have also provided a rather extensive list of Links to other websites with Sondheim information.

    Here are the most commonly asked questions.

Can you send me the lyrics to Sondheim's "Losing My Mind" (or "No One is Alone" or "Move On", etc.)?

Neither I, nor any other website, have the right to post or email the lyrics of any Sondheim song.  They are fully copyrighted by law and are the property of Stephen Sondheim.  Most of the librettos of his shows have been published and are currently in print.  If you are unable to buy the books, your local library should either have the book or be able to obtain it through Inter-Library loan.  Of course, most of the original cast recordings have the lyrics included. Or you can purchase copies of Finishing the Hat: Collected Lyrics (1954-1981) and Look, I Made a Hat: Collected Lyrics (1981-2011).

Where can I get the video of "Into the Woods" (or "Sweeney Todd", or "Passion", etc.)?

Videos of Sondheim's shows go in and out-of-print.  If the major Internet retailers (or your local store) can not order a copy for you, then it is out-of-print.  Your only other option is to try eBay.  You may have to bid on a auction, or there may be a "Buy It Now" option.  You might have to pay more than retail, but at least you'll have a copy to enjoy (and then kick yourself when it comes back into print for $14.95.)

Where can I find the sheet music to "Being Alive" (or any of the hundreds of Sondheim songs)?

The music and lyrics of Sondheim's most popular songs have been gathered into his All Sondheim anthologies, currently up to four volumes.  These books are available from your local music store and most on-line retailers at a very reasonable price for the value given.  If the song is not included in either of these four volumes, it might be difficult to find.  There are published folios of the "hits" from most of the shows, but you might have to spend a hefty sum to purchase the complete score.

I am doing a school paper on Sondheim.  What are the major themes that are developed in his work?  or How has Sondheim influenced American musical theatre?  or What makes Sondheim the premier composer of musicals of the past half-century? or ...

Unfortunately, I don't have the time to help everyone who requests assistance.  Fortunately, there is a large body of scholarship on Sondheim and his work.  Check out the Bibliography that we (Randy Detwiler and myself) have compiled for the Guide.  You'll find tons of material just waiting to be explored, either at your local library or book store.

Why don't you put the lyrics online?

Go back and reread the answer to Question 1.

We are doing a production of "Pacific Overtures" (or "Sunday in the Park With George", or "A Little Night Music").  Do you have any advice to share?

I have never been involved in a staged production of a Sondheim musical, so I have no personal knowledge to pass along.  There are a couple of books that I believe would be quite helpful: Joanne Gordon's Art Isn't Easy and Scott Miller's From Assassins to West Side Story: The Director's Guide to Musical Theatre.  Both are available from your local bookstore or library.

What are the requirements for staging "Follies" (or "Anyone Can Whistle", or "Assassins", etc.)?

There are a couple of websites that provide staging and musical requirements for Sondheim's shows (as well as synopses).  Music Theatre International, who licenses most of his shows, has extensive information.  Go to my Links page and then scroll down to the show you're interested in.

I would like to write Mr. Sondheim and personally thank him for all the joy that he's brought into my life.  Do you have his address?

You should write to him through his agent at the following address:

F. Richard Pappas
2705 Wooldridge Dr.
Austin TX 78703

Phone: 512-477-5434

Why do you put so much effort in this site?

Why have I spent countless hours toiling away in relative obscurity without any hope of monetary compensation?  Simple.  It's the music of Stephen Sondheim that inspired me to start this Guide, and while I've taken months-long breaks from it, it's my love and admiration for his work that keeps me coming back.  Who can listen to "Not a Day Goes By", or "What Can You Lose?", or "No More", or "In Buddy's Eyes", or "I Remember" and not be emotionally moved?  Who can listen to "The Little Things You Do Together", or "What More Do I Need?". or "You Must Meet My Wife", or "Agony" and not laugh out loud?  Who can listen to "Finishing the Hat" or "My Friends" and not know how one song in such a short time can reveal so much?  The answer to those questions?  No one, after I've gotten through with them.  Even if most people who visit this site are Sondheim fans, I hope they leave with just a little more knowledge of his work and pass it on to those who haven't yet been bitten by the Sondheim bug.

So, can you send me the lyrics, just this once?

Your faithful webmaster has left the building.  Please direct all other questions to the man at the front desk.  You will recognize him, because he is reading one of the two volumes of The Collected Lyrics of Stephen Sondheim.

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Last modified on Sunday, April 13, 2014
Compiled by Michael H. Hutchins