In these pages, I have often spoken of my love of the work of Stephen Sondheim. I always knew I was not alone, and now I have proof: “22 Signs You Were Raised by Stephen Sondheim.” Guilty.
At least half the numbers referred to have been in heavy rotation on my iTunes at some point in time. I have a favorite Bobby (as much as I love Neal Patrick Harris, Raul Esparza sings rings around him); I have tried, unsuccessfully, to be able to sing “Not Getting Married Today”; I have not yet given up on learning “Will I Leave You?”. Along with #8, “Your knowledge of art history comes mostly from Sunday In the Park With George” I think they should have included “Your knowledge of early Japanese-American relations comes from Pacific Overtures.” I’m annoyed that they didn’t include “Gee, Officer Krupke” from West Side Story. (This video is from the movie. The version from the stage is, IMHO, sharper.) I hope to be reincarnated as Bernadette Peters. (I love Patti LuPone, but if Aretha Franklin is God, then Bernadette is the Chief Angel.) I can (or at least I used to be able to, I haven’t tried lately) name all of the Sondheim musicals that made it to Broadway, including the flops, such as Bounce and Anyone Can Whistle, and the ones Sondheim only wrote the lyrics for, such as West Side Story and Do I Hear a Waltz?.
I have both volumes of Sondheim’s annotated lyrics, Finishing the Hat and Look, I Made a Hat, both Christmas presents bought for me soon after they came out. And I know where the title comes from. (In case you don’t, it is from the song “Finishing the Hat” from Sunday In the Park With George.) The Sondheim quote on my sidebar, “writing is a form of mischief,” comes from Look, I Made a Hat.
So, while I wasn’t raised on Sondheim (I did not start listening to him until I was in my late thirties), my kids sure were. I’m not quite sure how they feel about that — with the exception of Railfan, who played Rapunzel’s prince in a middle school production of Into the Woods, Jr. — less than enthusiastic, from what I can tell.