The following is the transcript of an ad lib dissertation from 1977 on “The Musical Theatre” in response to questions at a Dramatists Guild Special Projects session.
The transcript was edited for publication [in The Dramatists Guild Quarterly, Autumn 1978] with the approval of Mr. Sondheim.
Since we’re here to talk shop, let’s talk, without false modesty. I’ve been the object of a cult admiration because of shows like Anyone Can Whistle—those nine performance wonders that make people think, “It’s so gorgeous!” because it lasted only nine performances. They wouldn’t like that show as much if it had run a year, but because the lucky 300 [people] saw the show, they give it a cachet.
Also, I write generally experimental, unexpected work. The critical fraternity doesn’t like not knowing exactly what they are going to see. It really upsets them.
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