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Stephen Sondheim Quotes and Sayings

I hope you find great value in these Quotes by Stephen Sondheim from my large collection of motivational and inspirational quotes and sayings.

Art, in itself, is an attempt to bring order out of chaos.
- Stephen Sondheim

Related topics: Art

The dumbing down of the country reflects itself on Broadway.
The shows get dumber, and the public gets used to them.
- Stephen Sondheim

You can't have personal investors anymore because it's too expensive,
so you have to have corporate investment or a lot of rich people.
- Stephen Sondheim

The more restrictions you have, the easier anything is to write.
- Stephen Sondheim

 

The fact is popular art dates.
It grows quaint.
How many people feel strongly about Gilbert and Sullivan
today compared to those who felt strongly in 1890?
- Stephen Sondheim

There's something inimical about the camera and song.
- Stephen Sondheim

The nice thing about doing a crossword puzzle is,
you know there is a solution.
- Stephen Sondheim

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Everyone I used to play with has either given up or is dead.
- Stephen Sondheim

Nice is different than good.
- Stephen Sondheim

I chose and my world was shaken.
So what? The choice may have been mistaken;
the choosing was not.
You have to move on.
- Stephen Sondheim

Lyrics have to be underwritten.
That's why poets generally make poor lyric writers
because the language is too rich.
You get drowned in it.
- Stephen Sondheim

If you're dealing with a musical in which you're trying to tell a story,
it's got to sound like speech.
At the same time it's got to be a song.
- Stephen Sondheim

I was raised to be charming, not sincere.
- Stephen Sondheim

If people have split views about your work,
I think it's flattering.
I'd rather have them feel something about it than dismiss it.
- Stephen Sondheim

One difference between poetry and lyrics is that lyrics
sort of fade into the background.
They fade on the page and live on the stage when set to music.
- Stephen Sondheim

My personal life and my artistic life do not interfere with each other.
- Stephen Sondheim

I would have been a geologist.
- Stephen Sondheim

After the Rodgers and Hammerstein revolution,
songs became part of the story, as opposed to just
entertainments in between comedy scenes.
- Stephen Sondheim

I fell into lyric writing because of music.
I backed into it.
- Stephen Sondheim

Oscar Hammerstein was a surrogate father during all those many days,
and weeks and months when I didn't see my own father.
- Stephen Sondheim

Math and music are intimately related.
Not necessarily on a conscious level,
but sure.
- Stephen Sondheim

My mother wanted me off her hands.
She was a working woman.
She designed clothes, and she was a celebrity collector.
It's my mother's ambition to be a celebrity.
- Stephen Sondheim

Musicals are plays, but the last collaborator is your audience,
so you've got to wait 'til the last collaborator comes
in before you can complete the collaboration.
- Stephen Sondheim

The movie adaptations of stage musicals that I've seen,
without exception, in my opinion don't work.
A lot of people would disagree with me.
- Stephen Sondheim

Every writer I've ever spoken to feels fraudulent in some way or other.
- Stephen Sondheim

By the time I was 22, I was a professional.
A young and flawed professional, but not an amateur.
- Stephen Sondheim

In the Rodgers and Hammerstein generation,
popular hits came out of shows and movies.
- Stephen Sondheim

I prefer neurotic people.
I like to hear rumblings beneath the surface.
- Stephen Sondheim

I don't listen to recordings of my songs.
I don't avoid it, I just don't go out of my way to do it.
- Stephen Sondheim

One of the hardest things about writing lyrics is to
make the lyrics sit on the music in such a way that
you're not aware there was a writer there.
- Stephen Sondheim

Musical comedies aren't written, they are rewritten.
- Stephen Sondheim

Generally, the best recording is the original cast,
because that's the way the piece grew:
integrally,
with them.
- Stephen Sondheim

A close-up on screen can say all a song can.
- Stephen Sondheim

When I was growing up, there was no such thing as Off-Broadway.
You either got your show on or you didn't.
- Stephen Sondheim

Nowadays, there are sometimes more producers than there are people in the cast,
because it takes that much money to put a show on.
- Stephen Sondheim

When you know your cast well and their strengths and weaknesses,
you can start writing for them, just the way Shakespeare wrote for his actors.
- Stephen Sondheim

Gotta watch out for directors.
- Stephen Sondheim

When the audience comes in, it changes the temperature of what you've written.
- Stephen Sondheim

So many good songs get written fast,
because you know exactly what has to work.
- Stephen Sondheim

I really don't want to write a score until the whole show is cast and staged.
- Stephen Sondheim

All the best performers bring to their role something more,
something different than what the author put on paper.
That's what makes theatre live.
That's why it persists.
- Stephen Sondheim

I played the organ when I went to military school,
when I was 10.
They had a huge organ, the second-largest pipe organ in New York State.
I loved all the buttons and the gadgets.
I've always been a gadget man.
- Stephen Sondheim

The worst thing you can do is censor yourself as the pencil hits the paper.
You must not edit until you get it all on paper.
If you can put everything down, stream-of-consciousness,
you'll do yourself a service.
- Stephen Sondheim

Musicals are, by nature, theatrical,
meaning poetic,
meaning having to move the audience's imagination and
create a suspension of disbelief,
by which I mean there's no fourth wall.
- Stephen Sondheim

I firmly believe lyrics have to breathe and give the
audience's ear a chance to understand what's going on.
Particularly in the theater, where you have costume,
story, acting, orchestra.
- Stephen Sondheim

Courage is the art of being the only one
who knows you're scared to death.
- Earl Wilson

Tell me what company thou keepst,
and I'll tell thee what thou art.
- Miguel de Cervantes

The supreme art of war is
to subdue the enemy without fighting.
- Sun Tzu

Motivation is the art of getting people to do
what you want them to do because they want to do it.
- Dwight D. Eisenhower

Your life is the manifestation of your dream;
it is an art.
You can change your life anytime if
you aren't enjoying the dream.
- don Miguel Ruiz

Besides the noble art of getting things done,
there is the noble art of leaving things undone.
The wisdom of life consists in the elimination of non-essentials.
- Lin Yutang

Minimal art went nowhere.
- Sol LeWitt

Art is not a study of positive reality,
it is the seeking for ideal truth.
- John Ruskin

Wherever art appears, life disappears.
- Robert Motherwell

All art is but imitation of nature.
- Lucius Annaeus Seneca

The principles of true art is not to portray,
but to evoke.
- Jerzy Kosinski

Art is a revolt against fate.
- Andre Malraux

Art is an invention of aesthetics, which in turn is
an invention of philosophers...
What we call art is a game.
- Octavio Paz

Fine art is that in which the hand, the head,
and the heart of man go together.
- John Ruskin

Art is the unceasing effort to compete with the beauty of flowers -
and never succeeding.
- Gian Carlo Menotti

Modern art is what happens when painters stop looking
at girls and persuade themselves that they have a better idea.
- John Ciardi

Just smiling goes a long way toward
making you feel better about life.
And when you feel better about life, your life is better.
- Art Linkletter

Art is man's expression of his joy in labor.
- Henry A. Kissinger

The true work of art is but a shadow of the divine perfection.
- Michelangelo

Religion is the masterpiece of the art of animal training,
for it trains people as to how they should think.
- Arthur Schopenhauer

No heirloom of humankind captures the past as do art and language.
- Theodore Bikel

My love of fine art increased - the more of it I saw,
the more of it I wanted to see.
- Paul Getty

The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things,
but their inward significance.
- Aristotle

Art is a step from what is obvious and well-known toward
what is arcane and concealed.
- Khalil Gibran

So vast is art, so narrow human wit.
- Alexander Pope

A guilty conscience needs to confess.
A work of art is a confession.
- Albert Camus


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