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Vision Quote of the Day

Stephen Sondheim

Award-winning Composer and Lyricist

The way you get into the character -- the way you get in the song, both musically and lyrically -- is to become the character. It's the only way. I don't know how else you do it, unless you're the playwright who created the character in the first place. But I'm always writing for characters that somebody else has created, my collaborator, and so the only way I can get into I've said -- and it's probably an exaggeration, but not much -- that by the time I get through writing a score, I know the book better than the book writer does, because I've examined every word, and questioned the book writer on every word. Why does she say this? Why doesn't she say that? And that's getting to know the character. And then writing the song is acting it. So I can start ad libbing. It's exactly like improvisatory acting. So here's the character Blanche. We're hiring you to play Blanche. Okay. Just veer from the Tennessee Williams script and just start ad libbing as Blanche. If you're thoroughly in the character, you can do it. You may not have the poetry yet, but everything you say will be in the character of Blanche. That's what I do. I take off from what the book writer has written, sometimes using a line of his as a springboard, and ad lib, and improvise as that character. That's what I'm doing.
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