Radio Wolinsky

Stephen Sondheim (1930-2021), “Finishing the Hat,” 2010

Stephen Sondheim (1930 – November 26, 2021) in conversation with Richard Wolinsky, recorded in San Francisco, November 6, 2010.

Stephen Sondheim died at the age of 91 on November 26, 2021. A titan of American musical theater whose work both transcended and changed the genre itself, Sondheim was responsible for the lyrics for Gypsy and West Side Story — and his own shows, Company, Follies, A Little Night Music, Sweeney Todd, Sunday in the Park with George, Into the Woods, all became classics in the field. His lyrics were clever and deep – whether it be the torch song “Losing My Mind” from Follies, the history lesson, “Someone in a Tree” from Pacific Overtures, the gorgeous “Sunday” from Sunday in the Park, “Not While I’m Around” from Sweeney Todd, “Not a Day Goes By” from Merrily We Roll Along, “Send in the Clowns”… the list goes on.

In this interview recorded following the publication of Finishing The Hat, first of his two-volume autobiography/collected lyrics, he discusses elements of musical theater, his view on “Mary Poppins” as a musical, how he crafts lyrics, what’s important in acting in his shows, his experiences writing for the TV show “Topper,” and spending time on the set of “Beat the Devil” with John Huston and Humphrey Bogart, and more.

This interview will air on KPFA-FM in its entirety on Thursday, December 30, 2021 at 1 pm. A shorter version airs in syndication.

Stephen Sondheim interview, for Look, I Made a Hat, the second volume of his autobiography/collected lyrics, recorded November 29, 2011 in his townhouse in New York City.