Monday, June 16, 2008

To Be Stirred...

is I think one of my favorite life experiences. Whether it's a peice of art, or a song, or just something you hear someone say on the street; that feeling of your heart lifting in your ribcage in a moment of euphoria is something that is always genuine. And anything in this day and age that is truly genuine should be cherished.

I was stirred last night during (possibly the worst ever) Tony awards broadcast. But though the broadcast itself was bad, there were a few numbers that stood out. For me, there was nothing to compare with "Move On" from Sondheim's Sunday In The Park With George. This performance along with the letter Sondheim wrote in acceptance of his lifetime achievement award, absolutely made the night for me. I'd like to share them both with you here.

Stephen Sondheim
Special Tony Award® for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre
(As read by Mandy Patinkin)

Thank you all, but this award has to be shared with Julius Epstein, Arthur Laurents, Burt Shevelove, Larry Gelbart, George Furth, Jim Goldman, John Weidman, Hugh Wheeler and James Lapine. These are the men who created the characters that sang the songs, the situations that gave rise to the songs and the criticism that improved the songs. They were my collaborators. They are called playwrights. They invent. They make whole cloth out of nothing. They make a hat where there never was a hat. And they don’t just write musicals.

Oh, and if you’re wondering why I’m not sharing this Award with Hal Prince, it’s because he already has one.

Lifetime Achievement has a deadly sound to it, a ring of finality, a faint whiff of "You’ve outlived your usefulness." And, as you get older, you start to believe that. At least some writers do, including me.

The problem is that the more venerable you get, the harder it becomes to avoid the fear of not living up to the expectations and praise that are bestowed on you -- as in the form of a Lifetime Achievement Award. Nevertheless, buoyed by your encouragement, with more Lifetime I -- we -- promise you more, if not higher, Achievement.

Thank you all again.

Edit: How could I forget the one part of the evening that actually made me tear up a little!!!!! What is wrong with me. I am referring of course, to this...