Finale: Late Conversations with Stephen Sondheim

Harper: HarperCollins. Nov. 2022. 240p. ISBN 9780063279810. $20.99. THEATER
Composer and lyricist Stephen Sondheim passed away at the age of 91 in November 2021. He left behind a body of work ensuring his legacy for generations to come. An unfinished musical and an incomplete New Yorker profile were also left. Interviewer Max (Every Love Story Is a Ghost Story) culled those 2016–19 Sondheim conversations for a February 2022 tribute. This book amasses those exchanges with a woven narrative of Max’s observations of Sondheim. The results provide tantalizing details into Sondheim’s efforts producing an all-new musical, while reflecting on his struggle with writing fresh material and general mortality. If Sondheim were alive, with the finished musical behind him, these interviews would be simply reflective of his journey into completed works. Max intended to profile rather than memorialize. Yet, in Sondheim’s absence, these interviews take on an unexpected import and catalog a journey seemingly unfinished. What might have been meandering small talk now becomes significant. As such, the context becomes, at times, more emotive than the content.
VERDICT A loose latter-day chronicle of one of theater’s irreplaceable voices; will be cherished by scholars and enthusiasts as a testament to Sondheim’s creative process and to the man himself.
Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing