Meryle Secrest puts her formidable skills as
a biographer to good use on the man who is arguably the greatest
living musical theatre composer. Stephen
Sondheim himself was a participant in this project, as were
many of the people who know him best. The result is an amalgam
of both a personal look at Sondheim's private life and a more
public look at the theatre that he has created.
This is the premiere recording of Stephen Sondheim's
unproduced musical (a mere 34 years after it was written).
Several songs from this musical have found lives of their
own in other incarnations — on anthology recordings or in
other Sondheim shows — but this is the first time the complete
score has been recorded.
The Paper Mill Playhouse production that precipitated
this recording received glowing praise from virtually everyone
who saw it.
But when the show was scheduled to cross the Hudson and head
for Broadway, with almost guaranteed success, quibbles over
the rights to the book prevented the move. Fortunately, such
quibbles didn't prevent the creation of this recording, which
features a stellar cast, including Ann Miller, Dee Hoty, Laurence
Guittard, Kay Ballard and Donna MacKechnie.
Subtitled "The Life Story of Vivian Vance," this
biography reveals that the woman behind the character she
created on I Love Lucy was a far more complex
human being than most of us ever suspected. Her second-banana
status sometimes obscured the acting talent she possessed.
This volume chronicles her stormy relationship
with her co-star, her non-traditional love life, and her struggles
with mental illness. It's a must-read for I Love Lucy
Actors and backstage personnel alike recall their experiences
and their peers on Broadway in this unique book. Such luminaries
as Carol Channing, Gwen Verdon, Patricia Neal, Richard Kiley
share their memories in a book that spans more than six decades
of Broadway history.