Sondheim & Lloyd-Webber and The Wordsmiths

Sondheim & Lloyd-Webber and The Wordsmiths

by Stephen Citron


Applause Books, America’s foremost publisher of theater and cinema books, has released two books by Stephen Citron in its Great Songwriters Series: The Wordsmiths: Oscar Hammerstein 2nd and Alan Jay Lerner and Sondheim and Lloyd-Webber: The New Musical (September 2014, Applause Books, $24.99)

Incomparable and unique in their ability to write both libretti and lyrics, Oscar Hammerstein and Alan Jay Lerner brought the musical theater to an artistic peak that remains unsurpassed. From Show Boat, Oklahoma!, and The Sound of Music to Brigadoon, My Fair Lady, and Camelot, they wrote the book and lyrics for one glittering gem after another.

Drawing on a wealth of previously unpublished manuscripts, lyrics, letters, and interviews, Stephen Citron’s dual biography, Wordsmiths, brings to life the strikingly different worlds of Hammerstein and Lerner – two remarkable artists who revolutionized musical theater. Citron’s narrative brims with fascinating stories about these two master wordsmiths, sweeping readers along Hammerstein’s roller-coaster career with its mixture of hits and flops – contrasted sharply with Lerner’s endless rewrites, eight marriages, and debilitating drug habits.

In Sondheim and Lloyd-Webber, Citron takes on two leading contributors to the lyric stage. By exploring the works of these two giants of musical theater and those of their contemporaries, Citron also simultaneously guides readers along the winding path of musical theater.

Beginning with Sondheim’s lyrics-only works West Side Story, Gypsy, and Do I Hear A Waltz? through his scores for A Little Night Music, Sweeney Todd, Merrily We Roll Along, Sunday in the Park, and Into the Woods, among other classic musicals, Citron presents major milestones of musical theater, exploring the influence of the artist’s youthful training and private life upon his creative output. Lloyd-Webber’s musical contributions – from his early works The Likes of Us and Joseph to his smash hits Jesus Christ Superstar, Evita, Cats, and The Phantom of the Opera, among others – are also thoroughly analyzed.

Wordsmiths and Sondheim and Lloyd-Webber feature chronologies that reveal the artists’ lives within the scope of world events, copious quotations from their works, and extensive bibliographies. Both are essential editions to the library of any fan of musical theater.

The Wordsmiths: 9781480386488
Sondheim and Lloyd-Webber: 9781480386495
September 23, 2014
 x 9
464 pages

Applause Theatre & Cinema Books is an imprint of Hal Leonard Corporation

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:                                                                                                                                       

Stephen Citron (1924-2013) was one of the world’s best-known musical theater historians, as well as a composer, pianist, lyricist, and lecturer. His book Songwriting is the standard reference on the subject. He also wrote acclaimed biographies, including in-depth musical analysis in such works as Noel and Cole: The Sophisticates (also available in this series from Applause Books) andJerry Herman: Poet of the Showtune.




Hal Leonard Performing Arts Publishing Group, the trade book division of Hal Leonard Corporations, publishes books on the performing arts under the imprints Hal Leonard Books, Backbeat Books, Amadeus Press, and Applause Theatre and Cinema Books.

Posted on September 19, 2014, in Uncategorized and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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