All archives
Previous Issue (21 March 2004) | Current month | Next Issue (23 March 2004)

Quotes of the Day for 22 March 2004 – Musicals

Stephen Sondheim was born at New York City on this day in 1930, and grew up in Pennsylvania. At ten he became friends with Jimmy Hammerstein, whose father (Oscar Hammerstein II) taught him the basics of the musical. Andrew Lloyd Webber was born at London on this day in 1948, and took to music even earlier than Sondheim. Both have had profound impact on musicals, so that's where I went looking for today's quotes.

On the Shaw quote below, note that his heirs weren't as fastidious, and promptly allowed "Pygmalion" to become "My Fair Lady".

Van's signature

The quotes:

In America the musical theater is generally considered a whore. My ambition is to help make a good woman of her.
     - Richard Rodgers

Wherever it came from, the musical came with its hair mussed and with an innocent, indolent, irreverent look on its bright, bland face.
     - Walter Kerr

Critics complained it wasn't opera, it wasn't a musical. You give someone something delicious to eat and they complain because they have no name for it.
     - Rouben Mamoulian, on Porgy and Bess

I absolutely forbid any such outrage.
     - George Bernard Shaw, on turning his "Pygmalion" into a musical

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.
     - Stephen Sondheim

I wish life were more like a musical, so when I burst into song at the bus stop, people would stop staring at me. It might also make them more inclined to learn the chorus and the dance numbers.
     - P. B. Hill

Do you see an error on this page? A typo, a character that is messed up, a misattribution? Please let us know!