Stephen Sondheim

  • Aired:  12/14/10
  •  | Views: 82,813

Stephen asks Stephen Sondheim if there really is a place for an illegal immigrant like Maria and finishes "Send in the Clowns" with his own lyrics. (6:48)

EVERYBODY.

MY GUEST TONIGHT IS A LEGENDARY

BROADWAY COMPOSER, WHICH I

BELIEVE WILL MAKE THIS SHOW

ELIGIBLE FOR A TONY.

PLEASE WELCOME STEPHEN SONDHEIM.

( CHEERS AND APPLAUSE )

MR. SONDHEIM, THANK YOU SO MUCH

FOR COMING ON.

>> HELLO THERE.

>> Stephen: LOVELY TO MEET

YOU.

>> NICE TO MEET YOU, TOO.

>> Stephen: SIR YOU ARE, AS

PEOPLE SAY, A LIVING LEGEND.

YOU ARE THE GREATEST VOICE OF

THE AMERICAN THEATER OVER THE

LAST 50 YEARS, AND LET'S EDUCATE

THE PEOPLE A LITTLE BIT TO THE

CALIBRE OF MAN I'M SITTING

ACROSS FROM.

JAMES, PLEASE.

♪ SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE

A COMEDY TONIGHT ♪♪

♪ TONIGHT, TONIGHT

THERE'S ONLY YOU TONIGHT ♪♪

♪ WHERE ARE THE CLOWNS

SEND IN THE CLOWNS ♪♪

♪ EVERYTHING'S COMING UP ROSES

FOR ME AND FOR YOU ♪♪

( CHEERS AND APPLAUSE )

>> Stephen: WOW.

THAT'S JUST... THAT'S JUST A

SMATTERING OF WHAT YOU HAVE

ACCOMPLISHED IN YOUR CAREER, AND

THIS BOOK YOU'VE GOT NOW,

STEPHEN SONDHEIM'S FINISHING THE

HAT, COLLECTED LYRICS 1954 TO

1981, IT DOESN'T EVEN HIT THINGS

LIKE "SONNY IN THE PARK WITH

GEORGE."

>> THAT COMES LATER, SECOND

VOLUME.

>> Stephen: WHY HAIR CYST?

DO YOU THINK OF YOURSELF AS A

BOLT?

>> NO, I THINK OF MYSELF AS A

LYRICIST?

>> Stephen: WHAT IS A LYRICIST

EXCEPT A POET WITH THE

POSSIBILITY OF MAKING CASH?

>> IT'S A GUY WHO CAN SING.

IT'S A GUY WHO FEELS MUSIC.

THAT'S ALLMENT YOU WRITE LYRICS

BECAUSE THERE'S MUSIC IN YOUR

HEAD AND MUSIC GOES WITH THE

LYRICS.

THAT'S WHAT MAKES THE WORD FLY.

>> Stephen: WHO TAUGHT YOU

WHAT YOU KNOW?

EVERYBODY NEEDS Açó MENTIONER?

>> OSCAR HAMMERSTEIN.

WHEN I WAS 11 YEARS OLD, MY

PARENTS GOT DIVORCED.

I FELL IN WITH THE HAMMERSTEIN

FAMILY AND BECAME A SURE GOT SON

TO OSCAR.

WHEN I WAS 15 HE TAUGHT ME

ALMOST EVERYTHING IN ONE

AFTERNOON.

>> Stephen: REALLY?

>> YEP, YEP.

I GAVE HIM A SHOW I'D WRITTEN

FOR SCHOOL.

AND I THOUGHT HE WOULD PRODUCE

IT ON BROADWAY.

I'D BE THE FIRST 15-YEAR-OLD.

>> Stephen: AT 15.

CONFIDENCE.

THAT'S NICE.

>> AND HE SAID, WELL, YOU GOT TO

PRETEND THAT YOU DON'T KNOW ME,

I JUST CROSSED YOUR DESK.

HE SAID, "IN THAT CASE, IT'S THE

WORST THING I EVER READ."

HE STARTED TO TREMBLE A LITTLE.

HE SAID, IT'S NOT UNTALENTED,

BUT I'LL TELL YOU WHAT'S WRONG

WITH IT.

HE WENT THROUGH IT LINE BY LINE.

HE TREATED ME LIKE AN ADULT.

HE TOOK FIRST STAGE DIRECTION,

WHY DOES THIS CHARACTER SEE

THIS?

WHY DOES SHE DROP OUT?

I DON'T SEE HER AGAIN.

HE TREATED ME SERIOUSLY.

>> Stephen: WAS THAT PAINFUL

AT ALL?

>> NOT REALLY.

WHEN YOU'RE A SPONGE WHEN YOU

ARE...

>> Stephen: BECAUSE I DON'T

TAKE CRITICISM VERY WELL AT ALL.

>> WELL, I DON'T THINK THERE'S

MUCH TO CRITICIZE WITH YOU, IS

THERE?

>> Stephen: GOD BLESS YOU.

( APPLAUSE )

NOW, YOU ALSO... NOW, ALL OF

THESE MUSICALS THAT YOU WROTE,

THEY WERE ORIGINALLY DISNEY

ANIMATIONS, CORRECT?

>> WE WOULD LIKE THEM TO BE.

>> Stephen: OKAY.

AM I GOING TO FIND ANY RHYMES,

FOR INSTANCE, THAT YOU REGRET?

IF YOU COULD TAKE BACK A RHYME,

BECAUSE I ONCE WROTE A SONG

ABOUT THE BALKAN CRISIS, HONEST

TO GOD, AND I REMIND

DICTATORSHIP WITH POTATO CHIP.

>> CLOSE, CLOSE.

NO CIGAR.

>> Stephen: I'M PROUD OF THAT.

BUT IS THERE ANYTHING YOU WOULD

LIKE TO TAKE BACK?

>> NO.

ONCE YOU HAVE A MOVIE ACTRESS

NAMED CLAUDETTE COLBERT.

I USED HER IN A SONG AND I

REMIND IT.

>> Stephen: YOU REMIND

COLBERT?

>> YES.

>> Stephen: WHAT'S THE RHYME?

>> SHE CAME TO A PARTY AND SHE

LATER SAW COLBERT.

>> Stephen: I FEEL LIKE THAT'S

ACTED ME.

"WEST SIDE STORY," YOU WERE THE

LYRICIST FOR "WEST SIDE STORY."

YOU WERE STILL A YOUNG GUY AT

THAT TIME.

>> 25.

>> Stephen: 25 YEARS OLD.

CAN I TAKE ISSUE WITH SOME OF

YOUR LYRICS?

>> YOU CERTAINLY CAN.

>> Stephen: "THERE'S A PLACE

FOR US."

THAT'S TONY AND MARIA.

IS THERE REALLY A PLACE FOR THEM

BECAUSE MARIA IS AN ILLEGAL

IMMIGRANT FROM PUERTO RICO.

THIS IS WHY WE NEED A BORDER

WALL.

THERE IS NO PLACE FOR HER.

>> THE WAY IT WAS IN THE SHOW,

IT LOOKED LIKE NEW JERSEY.

THE KIDS HAD THIS BALLET IN THE

SECOND ACT AND THEY ESCAPE FROM

THE HORRORS OF MANHATTAN.

THE WAY THE SET LOOKED, IT WAS

NEW JERSEY.

>> Stephen: REALLY?

THE HORRORS OF NEW JERSEY?

>> THAT KIND OF YELLOW SMOKE.

>> Stephen: MAYBE YOUR BIGGEST

TOE-TAPPER OUT THERE, THE ONE

PEOPLE KNOW THE BEST IS "SEND IN

THE CLOWNS."

>> VERY SLOW TAP.

IT'S FROM "A LITTLE NIGHT

MUSIC."

>> Stephen: WHERE WERE THE

CLOWNS?

WHERE ARE THE CLOWNS?

WE NEVER FIND OUT WHERE THE

CLOWNS WERE, AND IT REALLY

LEAVES THE AUDIENCE HANGING.

>> SHE'S A LOST LADY.

SHE DOESN'T KNOW WHERE THEY ARE

EITHER.

>> Stephen: I FOUND WHERE THEY

ARE.

I'VE GOT SOME LYRICS.

I COULD PERHAPS FINISH YOUR

SONG.

>> YOU.

CAN

♪ WHERE ARE THE CLOWNS

I BOOKED THEM FOR A

♪ MET THEM ON THE PHONE SAYING

THEY'RE LATE

♪ TRAFFIC WAS BAD

THE TUNNEL'S A MESS

♪ 12 OF THEM CAME IN ONE CAR

THEY LOST MY ADDRESS

♪ YOU JUST CAN'T TRUST CLOWNS

THAT'S WHY THEY'RE CALLED CLOWNS

♪♪

( CHEERS AND APPLAUSE ) SO MUCH

MORE SATISFYING, ISN'T IT?

ISN'T THAT SATISFYING TO KNOW

WHERE THE CLOWNS ARE?

>> WELL, WE HAVE THREE WEEKS

LEFT OF THE SHOW ON BROADWAY

BEFORE IT CLOSES IN JANUARY.

I DON'T SEE ANY REASON WHY

BERNADETTE PETERS CAN'T SING

THAT.

>>

>> Stephen: I'M TOTALLY READY

TO PITCH THAT.

>> WE NEED SOME LAUGHS IN THE

SECOND HALF.

>> Stephen: ARE YOU GOING TO

HAVE MORE?

>> THE SECOND ONE IS GOING TO BE

CALLED "LOOK I HAVE HAT."

>> Stephen: I'M SO HAPPY YOU

CAME HERE.

YOU AND ME, BUD, WE'RE THE

LOONIES.

DID YOU KNOW THAT?

I BET YOU DIDN'T KNOW THAT.

STEPHEN SONDHEIM, THANK YOU SO

MUCH.

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