Paul Simon reviews Stephen Sondheim’s new book in The New York Times Book Review this weekend and finds it to be “a master class in how to write a musical” taught by “theater’s finest living songwriter.”
The book takes its title, Finishing the Hat, from a song in Sunday in the Park With George about Georges Seurat’s dedication to his craft. Mr. Simon, no slouch when it comes to songwriting himself, draws from his own experiences as he pours over Mr. Sondheim’s self-analysis. Mr. Sondheim, for example, wasn’t a great fan of West Side Story‘s “Maria” (to him it had a disagreeable “overall wetness”), while Mr. Simon didn’t want a third verse for “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” and yet both are well-loved tunes.
In the Daily News, Howard Kissel covered last night’s party for the book. Apparently Mr. Sondheim, now 80, raised a glass of champaigne for Knopf, toasting, “the Ladies who Launch.”