If I cannot fly, let me sing.

— Stephen Sondheim

The most staggering Stephen Sondheim quotes that are simple and will have a huge impact on you

The only reason to write is from love.

53

Any moment, big or small, Is a moment, after all. Seize the moment, skies may fall Any moment.

52

Art, in itself, is an attempt to bring order out of chaos.

49

Musicals are, by nature, theatrical, meaning poetic, meaning having to move the audience's imagination and create a suspension of disbelief, by which I mean there's no fourth wall.

48

All the best performers bring to their role something more, something different than what the author put on paper. That's what makes theatre live. That's why it persists.

44

Try the Top 10 quotes and images by Stephen Sondheim


Or check the curated lists with quotes from Stephen Sondheim:
Quotes about Song

Everything depends upon execution; having just a vision is no solution.

28

I like neurotic people. I like troubled people. Not that I don't like squared-away people, but I prefer neurotic people. I like to hear rumblings beneath the surface.

21

If you told me to write a love song tonight, I'd have a lot of trouble.

But if you tell me to write a love song about a girl with a red dress who goes into a bar and is on her fifth martini and is falling off her chair, that's a lot easier, and it makes me free to say anything I want.

19

The dumbing down of the country reflects itself on Broadway.

The shows get dumber, and the public gets used to them.

16

Opportunity is not a lengthy visitor.

15

Let the moment go. . . . Don't forget it for a moment, though. Just remembering you've had an "and" when you're back to "or" makes the "or" mean more than it did before. . . . Now I understand! And it's time to leave the woods.

15

After the Rodgers and Hammerstein revolution, songs became part of the story, as opposed to just entertainments in between comedy scenes.

14

About Stephen Sondheim

Quotes 192 sayings
Nationality American
Profession Composer
Birthday October 16

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

14

When you trance out properly, when you're completely in that world, there is no other world, so there's no conflict.

13

Music straightjackets a poem and prevents it from breathing on its own, whereas it liberates a lyric. Poetry doesn't need music; lyrics do.

10

The worst thing you can do is censor yourself as the pencil hits the paper.

You must not edit until you get it all on paper. If you can put everything down, stream-of-consciousness, you'll do yourself a service.

10

The more restrictions you have, the easier anything is to write.

9

I firmly believe lyrics have to breathe and give the audience's ear a chance to understand what's going on. Particularly in the theater, where you have costume, story, acting, orchestra.

7

Two of the hardest words in the language to rhyme are life and love. Of all words!

7

Math and music are intimately related. Not necessarily on a conscious level, but sure.

6

Into the woods you go again You have to every now and then Into the woods, no telling when Be ready for the journey Into the woods, each time you go There's more to learn of what you know.

6

I played the organ when I went to military school, when I was 10.

They had a huge organ, the second-largest pipe organ in New York State. I loved all the buttons and the gadgets. I've always been a gadget man.

6

No one has ever known me as clearly as you.

No one has ever shown me that love allows everything. Not pretty or safe or easy but something I never knew. Love within reason, that isn't love and I learned that from you.

6

My personal life and my artistic life do not interfere with each other.

6

Oh if life were made of moments Even now and then a bad one--! But if life were only moments, Then you'd never know you had one.

6

I prefer neurotic people. I like to hear rumblings beneath the surface.

6

The nice thing about doing a crossword puzzle is, you know there is a solution.

5

When the audience comes in, it changes the temperature of what you've written.

5

White. A blank page or canvas. So many possibilities.

5

The movie adaptations of stage musicals that I've seen, without exception, in my opinion don't work. A lot of people would disagree with me.

4

There's a hole in the world Like a great black pit And the vermin of the world Inhabit it ... And it goes by the name of London.

4

My mother wanted me off her hands. She was a working woman. She designed clothes, and she was a celebrity collector. It's my mother's ambition to be a celebrity.

3

For me it's more fun to find an unexpected moment for a character to sing when you don't expect them to.

3

Automobile in America,Chromium steel in America,Wire-spoke wheel in America,Very big deal in America!Immigrant goes to America,Many hellos in America,Nobody knows in America,Puerto Rico's in America!I like the shores of America!Comfort is yours in America!Knobs on the doors in America!Wall-to-wall floors in America!

3

It's pleasanter to work in the country, where you can wander out among the trees. But I don't get as much work done. In the city you don't want to leave the room because there's all that chaos going on.

3

They all deserve to die. Even you, Mrs. Lovett Even I. Because the lives of the wicked should be made brief For the rest of us death would be relief.

3

Am I not sensitive, clever, well-mannered, considerate, passionate, charming, as kind as I'm handsome and heir to a throne?

3

Musical comedies aren't written, they are rewritten.

3

A song is such a short form ... that 'the slightest flaw seems like a mountain.' And so every song needs to be revised 'til it's close to perfection... But achieving perfection takes a lot of energy.

3

It's age. It's a diminution of energy and the worry that there are no new ideas. It's an increasing lack of confidence. I'm not the only one. I've checked with other people.

3

What justifies a character singing one idea for 3 minutes on the screen? I get impatient and want the story to carry on. I don't get impatient in the theatre.

3

The Tonys ignored West Side Story. The Tonys ignored Gypsy. It's a kind of public humiliation.

2

Let Pirelli's / Miracle Elixir / Activate your roots, sir.

.. Keep it off your boots, sir- / Eats right through. Yes, get Pirelli's! / Use a bottle of it! / Ladies seem to love it... Flies do, too!

2

I liked my father a lot, but I didn't see him very often because my mother was bitter about him. He remarried, and I used to have to sneak off to see him.

2

Writing is a form of mischief.

2

You get used to the exact amount of space between lines.

You write a word and then you write an alternate word over it. You want enough room so you can read it, so the lines can't be too close.

2

You're so nice. You're not good, you're not bad, You're just nice. I'm not good, I'm not nice, I'm just right. I'm the witch. You're the world.

1

One difference between poetry and lyrics is that lyrics sort of fade into the background. They fade on the page and live on the stage when set to music.

1

Anything that is white is sweet. Anything that is brown is meat. Anything that is grey, don't eat.

1
famous quotes