Cover Image: Putting It Together

Putting It Together

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Member Reviews

In as much as George’s Seurat’s ‘A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte’ was a study in light, contrast in the art of pointillism connecting and blending dots of color to produce an image, so is the brilliance of story, lyrics, music and collaboration of Lapine/Sondheim’s ‘Sunday in the Park with George’. 
Told through conversations, photos, scripts, notes and compositions, it feels similar to opening up a treasure chest of ephemera. Each memento and remembrance carries its own personal story. The dedication, brainstorming of ideas, rewrites and designs are palpable as the reader gets behind the scenes access into the trials, tribulations and wonderment of the creativity involved within the Broadway musical. 
My appreciation of this musical has increased ten fold since reading this book. It is a story within a story and the music and lyrics have become more meaningful with each listen.
Highly recommended with thanks to NetGalley, James Lupine and Farrah, Strauss and Giroux for an ARC in exchange for an honest book review.
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The art of making art is putting it together...

In Putting it Together, James Lapine candidly and thoroughly chronicles the creation of Sunday in the Park with George, a reminiscence augmented by archival materials such as script notes and sketches, as well as conversations with many of those involved, cast and crew, producers and designers, and, of course, Stephen Sondheim. It's an honest, insightful, and elegantly constructed window into the creation of a musical, the creation of this particular musical, and into the nature of art and collaboration. The book itself manages to feel like a perfect reflection of the musical and of the Seurat painting - it's a pointillist memoir, and a must-read for anyone interested in musical theatre or, for that matter, any collaborative, creative process. 

I'm far from the only musical theatre fan/practitioner to have found lifelong joy and meaning in the musical Sunday in the Park with George. Reading this book now, after nearly two years of a global pandemic have derailed, postponed, or destroyed so many theatrical opportunities, felt particularly moving (and made me long to be making theatre again myself). It's a look at how the magic happens - but far from diminishing that magic, being able to see all the ins and outs of the journey makes it even more captivating.

Thank you to NetGalley and Farrar, Straus and Giroux for the advance review copy!
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As a super fan of SUNDAY IN THE PARK WITH GEORGE, I was the perfect reader for this oral history of how the musical went from inception to the Tony Awards. Lapine manages to interview everyone involved with the show, even if they were only part of the workshop and not Broadway (I see you Christine Baranski!). Lapine doesn't shy away from criticisms of himself and what he has learned in the process. It  was lovely to hear Stephen Sondheim speak at length about SUNDAY and to fully understand the insane demands involved in the mounting of a Broadway show.

Thanks to Farrar, Strauss and Giroux, James Lapine and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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Thanks to Netgalley and FSG for the ebook. This is one of my favorite musicals and it’s fascinating to see how it all came together. The second half of the book is the complete script, but the first half is how this show was created. It’s written by the man who wrote the book for the musical as well as directed the show. The directing is key because that means he has to deal with every aspect of the show: The actors, musical team, customers and designers, which gives us an even greater look into all aspects of this show. The most remarkable part of this book is seeing how this simple idea morphs and grows, sometimes painfully, into this beloved musical.
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One of the most thrilling titles I have read in a long time - I struggled to put it down. Lapine's combination of oral history, personal memoir, and artistic excavation is captivating, and I was left with an overwhelming need to work on my own art the moment I finished. 
A glorious addition to the canon of theatrical books, it should be a must read for anyone involved in the art of creation and interpretation.
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I received Putting it Together as part of a NetGalley giveaway.

Putting it Together tracks the development, casting, staging, and eventual Broadway debut of the musical Sunday in the Park with George. In interviews led by playwright and director James Lapine with input from composer Stephen Sondheim, stars Mandy Patinkin and Bernadette Peters, and countless supporting cast and crew, it is an all-encompassing look at a challenging but ultimately satisfying production that regularly sees revivals nearly 40 years later.

I really enjoyed this. I'm a huge Broadway fan, though I'm less familiar with Sunday, and any opportunity to learn about a show from the ground up is one I enthusiastically accept. James Lapine is an incisive and at times self-deprecating interviewer, conceding that his unfamiliarity with musical theatre and direction could sometimes lead him astray. The interviewees provide fascinating insights, and don't shy away from some of the personality and creative conflicts that plagued the show's development. A really insightful look at a classic show.
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SUNDAY IN THE PARK WITH GEORGE is perhaps my all time favorite musical. The ending of Act One is one of the most moving moments I have experienced in the theater. This behind the scenes memoir of the creation of SUNDAY is mesmerizing. On these witty pages author/creator Lapine shares the blood, sweat and tears shed in the creation of the Pulitzer Prize winning musical. If you love theater you will not be able to put this book down. Bravo.
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