Shrine to Stephen Sondheim

      "It's the fragment, not the day.
      It's the pebble, not the stream.
      It's the ripple, not the sea
      That is happening.
      Not the building but the beam,
      Not the garden but the stone,
      Only cups of tea
      And history
      And someone in a tree!"
      --Excerpt from 'Someone in a Tree,' (Pacific Overtures) by Stephen Sondheim.

Stephen Sondheim is (in my opinion anyway) the most talented songwriter. Ever. He wrote the music and lyrics to my two favorite musicals, 'Sunday In The Park With George' and 'Into The Woods'.

Here are some of my favorite Sondheim songs -

Putting It Together from 'Sunday In The Park With George'
Act I is basically about the life of painter Georges Seurat (painter of 'A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte') and Act II is about his great grandson, also an artist, and coincidentally enough, also named George. This song is sung by George in Act II during the exhibition of his piece 'Chromolume Number Seven'. Another version of this song was sung by Bernadette Peters at the 1993 Academy Awards Ceremony.

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Move On from 'Sunday In The Park With George'
This is the solo version, found in 'Vocal Collection from Sunday in the Park with George'. When Stephen Sondheim was on 'Inside the Actor's Studio,' and this song was performed, James Lipton explained to the audience that Dot is speaking to George, but he believes she is speaking to all of us. It doesn't really need any other explanation, the song speaks for itself. Click on the title to hear a midi of this song made by the incredibly talented Amy.

    Stop worrying where you're going --
    Move on.
    If you can know where you're going,
    You've gone.
    Just keep moving on.

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

    Look at what you want,
    Not at where you are,
    Not at what you'll be.
    Look at all the things you've done for me:
    Opened up my eyes,
    Taught me how to see,
    Notice every tree,
    Understand the light,
    Concentrate on now.

    I want to explore the light.
    I want to find how to get through,
    Through to something new,
    Something of my own --
    Move on.
    Move on.

    Stop worrying if your vision
    Is new.
    Let others make that decision --
    They usually do.
    You keep moving on.

    Look at what you've done,
    Then at what you want,
    Not at where you are,
    What you'll be.
    Look at all the things you gave to me.
    Let me give to you
    Something in return.

    See what's in my eyes
    And the color of my hair
    And the way it catches light.
    And the care
    And the feeling
    And the life
    Moving on..

    We've always belonged
    We will always belong
    Just keep moving on.

    Anything you do,
    Let it come from you.
    Then it will be new.
    Give us more to see...

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Giants In The Sky from 'Into The Woods'
'Into The Woods' is a big collage of all kinds of fairy tales, and this is.. you guessed it, Jack's (as in Jack and the Beanstalk) song! Click the title to hear a midi, also made by Amy.

    There are giants in the sky!
    There are big tall terrible giants in the sky..

    When you're way up high and you look below
    At the world you left and the things you know
    Little more than a glance is enough to show you
    Just how small you are..
    When you're way up high and you're on your own
    In a world like none that you've ever known
    Where the sky is lead
    And the earth is stone
    You're free
    To do
    Whatever pleases you.
    Exploring things you'd never dare
    'Cause you don't care
    When suddenly there's
    A big tall terrible giant
    At the door..
    A big tall terrible lady giant
    Sweeping the floor..
    And she gives you food,
    And she gives you rest,
    And she holds you close to her giant breast
    And you know things now that you never knew before
    Not 'till the sky.

    Only just when you've made a friend and all
    And you know she's big, but you don't feel small
    Someone bigger than her comes along the hall
    To swallow you for lunch!
    And your heart is lead
    And your stomach's stone
    And you're really scared being all alone..
    And it's then that you miss all things you've known
    And the world you left
    And the little you own
    The fun
    Is done!
    You steal what you can and run
    And you scramble down
    And you look below
    And the world you know begins to grow
    The roof, the house and your mother
    At the door..
    The roof, the house and the world you never thought to explore..
    And you think of all of the things you've seen,
    And you wish that you could live in between,
    And you're back again only different
    Then before..
    After the sky.

    There are giants in the sky!
    There are big, tall, terrible, awesome, scary,
    Wonderful giants,
    In the sky!

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No More from 'Into The Woods'
This is a very lovely song sung by The Baker and the Mysterious Man, his father. I was nice enough to put cues too, since this is a duet. Click the title to hear a midi by Amy.


    No more questions, please.
    No more tests.
    Comes the day you say 'What for?'
    Please, no more.

Mysterious Man:
    They disappoint,
    They disappear,
    They die, but they don't.

    They disappoint
    In turn I fear,
    Forgive though, they won't.

    No more riddles,
    No more jests.
    No more curses you can't undo,
    Left by fathers you never knew.
    No more quests.
    No more feelings...
    Time to shut the door.
    Just, no more.

Mysterious Man:
    Running away,
    Let's do it.
    Free from the ties that bind.
    No more despair,
    Or burdens to bear,
    Out there in the yonder.

    Running away,
    Go to it.
    Where did you have in mind?
    Have to take care,
    Unless there's a where,
    You'll only be wandering blind.
    Just more questions,
    Different kind.

    Where are we to go?
    Where are we ever to go..?

    Running away,
    We'll do it.
    Why sit around resigned?
    Trouble is son,
    The farther you run,
    The more you feel undefined
    For what you have left undone
    And more, what you've left behind..

    We disappoint,
    We leave a mess,
    We die, but we don't.

    We disappoint,
    In turn I guess,
    Forget though, we won't.

    Like father,
    Like son...

    No more giants,
    Waging war.
    Can't we just pursue our lives,
    With our children and our wives,
    'Till that happier day arrives..

    How do you ignore
    All the witches..
    All the curses..
    All the wolves,
    All the lies,
    The false hopes,
    The goodbyes,
    The reverses...
    All the wondering what even worse
    Is still in store.

    All the children.
    All the giants.
    No more....

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Unworthy Of Your Love from 'Assassins'.
In an article by Stephen Schiff, 'Assassins' is described as a show "...which used some of his loveliest music to dress up mildewed insights into why people want to kill the President of the United States." This song is one of Sondheim's loveliest. It is sung by John Hinckley, the man who tried to assissinate President Ronald Regan so Jodie Foster would notice him, and is also sung by Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme, one of the Manson girls.


    I am nothing,
    You are wind and water and sky,
    Jodie, tell me, Jodie,
    How I can earn your love.
    I would swim oceans,
    I would move mountains,
    I would do anything for you.
    What do you want me to do?

    I am unworthy of your love,
    Jodie. Jodie,
    Let me prove worthy of your love.
    Tell me how I can earn your love,
    Set me free.
    How can I turn your love to me?

    I am nothing,
    You are wind and devil and god,
    Take my blood and my body for your love.
    Let me feel fire,
    Let me drink poison,
    Tell me to tear my heart in two,
    If that's what you want me to do...

    I am unworthy of your love,
    Charlie, darlin',
    I have done nothing for your love.
    Let me be worthy of your love,
    Set you free--

    I would come take your from your life...

    I would come take you from your cell...

    You would be queen to me, not wife...

    I would crawl belly deep through hell...

    Baby I'd die for you...

    Baby I'd die for you,

    Even though I will always know:
    I am unworthy of your love,




    Let me prove worthy of your love.
    I'll find a way to earn your love,
    Wait and see.
    Then you will turn your love to me,
    Your love-
    To me....

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Poems from 'Pacific Overtures'
This song is amazing. It's very pretty, and the whole thing is a bunch of haikus. It's a duet by two of the show's main characters, Kayama and Manjiro as they travel and try to keep each other company by writing poems.


    winding into streams
    like the roads to Boston.
    Your turn.

    like the whisper of the silk
    as my lady kneels.
    Your turn.

    like an echo of the lamps
    in the streets of Boston.
    Your turn.

    I love her like the moon
    making jewels of the grass
    where my lady walks.
    my lady wife.

    I love her like the moon,
    washing yesterday away
    as my lady does.
    Your turn.

    Is she muttering for me
    through her field of dreams?
    Your turn.

    Is she quarreling with me?
    Does she want me home?
    Your turn.

    I am no nightingale
    but she hears the song
    I can sing to her.
    My lady wife.

    I am no nightingale
    but my song of her
    could outsing the sea,

    tracing shadows of the pines
    on my lady sleeping.
    Your turn.

    as she opens up her eyes,
    but it's I who comes awake.
    Your turn.

    You go.

    Your turn.

    I love her like the leaves,
    changing greens to pink to gold,
    and the change is ev'rything.

    I see her like the sun
    in the center of a pool,
    sending ripples to the shore
    'till my journey's end.

    Your turn.










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Kiss Me from 'Sweeny Todd'
This is just an excerpt, my favorite part of the song. It's sung by Johanna and Anthony, as they plan to get Johanna out of marrying Judge Turpin.


    Be not afraid.

    Sir, I did
    Love you even as I
    Saw you, even as it
    Did not matter that I
    Did not know your name.
    Tonight I'll
    I'll steal you...


    It's me you'll marry on Monday,
    That's what you'll do!

    And gladly, sir.

    St. Dunstan's, noon.

    Ah, miss,
    Marry me, marry me, miss,
    Oh, marry me Monday!
    Favor me, favor me
    With your hand.
    Marry me, marry me, please,
    Oh, marry me Monday--
    I knew I'd be with you one day,
    Even not knowing who you were.
    I feared you'd never come,
    That you'd been called away,
    That you'd been killed,
    Had the plague,
    Were in debtor's jail,
    Trampled by a horse,
    Gone to sea again,
    Arrested by the--


    Kiss me!


"Oscar Hammerstein never wrote lyrics like that."
--Stephen Schiff

Please tell me what you think?

For more news, information and basically /everything/ you want to know about Stephen Sondheim and his shows, visit The Stephen Sondheim Stage.

For more Sondheim, and Broadway related links, see my link page.

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This page last updated April 27th, 1999.

Sondheim fans have been to this page since April 27th, 1999.

'Sunday In The Park With George' (c) 1984, 'Into The Woods' (c) 1989, 'Pacific Overtures' (c) 1976, 'Assassins' (c)1990, 1992. By the way, I had nothing to do with the making of these songs or the shows they're from. Those honors go to Stephen Sondheim, James Lapine, John Weidman, and a number of producers, directors, actors, etc. etc.