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Social Roundup: 31 Meaningful Sondheim Lyrics


We asked, you answered! Our readers are sharing their favorite Sondheim lyrics.

The theater community around the world is mourning the loss of legend Stephen Sondheim after his passing on November 26, 2021.

Sondheim was responsible for some of theater's most iconic songs, including the music and lyrics for Into the Woods (1987), Passion (1994), Assassins (1991), Sunday in the Park with George (1984), Merrily We Roll Along (1981), Sweeney Todd (1979), Pacific Overtures (1976), A Little Night Music (1973), Follies (1971; revised in London, 1987), Company (1970), Anyone Can Whistle (1964) and A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (1962), and more. He also wrote the lyrics for West Side Story (1957), Gypsy (1959), Do I Hear a Waltz? (1965) and additional lyrics for Candide (1973).

We asked our readers which Sondheim lyric meant the most to them and why. Read their answers below!

"Look, I made a hat." These lyrics convey an artist's process. Stephen Sondheim was an artist. Also this lyric meant enough to him to title his last book.

@broadwaybabysaf on Twitter

I have many that I love. "Sunday" from "Sunday in the Park", but I always get a smile out of the song "Agony" from "Into the Woods". The idea of just how fickle these Prince Charmings were always tickles me.

@KathyOpus on Twitter

Being Alive from Company is my favorite, maybe because it was the first Sondheim I ever heard.

@SeanNos1 on Twitter

"Into the woods you go again, you have to every now and then." True to life and doesn't hurt that it's from my favorite musical. The one that first made me fall in love with theatre.

@booksass on Twitter

You said you loved me, Or were you just being kind Or am I losing my mind - At least once in our life we live through those words, wondering if whatever we were feeling was true or just a flicker of our imagination

@ilona_jazz on Twitter

Into The Woods is particularly special to me - its been like a How-To handbook for the hardest times in my life. So many favorites, but this one is way up there: "Just remembering you've had an "and" when you're back to "or" Makes the "or" mean more than it did before"

@hbodesign on Twitter

Could I bury my rage, with a boy half your age, in the grass? Bet your ass!" It's such a great zinger and always such fun to sing along to!

@onelifetoliver on Twitter

"And take extra care with strangers - even flowers have their dangers - and though scary is exciting, nice is different than good." ~I Know Things Now, Into the Woods This is among my favorites because like so many of his deceivingly simple songs, this one is a metaphor for life.

@SaraGudahl on Twitter

"Anything you do, / Let it come from you." He was writing specifically about art, but it applies to absolutely everything.

@MattBoardSongs on Twitter

"Stop worrying if your vision is new. Let others make that decision--they usually do. Just keep moving on."

Reason: it seems like every creative person has those imposters' syndrome doubts from time to time. You just gotta keep creating and not worry about it.

@jeisrael on Twitter

Dreams don't die/ so keep an eye on your dreams Haven't stopped chasing my dreams since I heard those lyrics as a teenager. I know they inspired multiple generations to do the same.

@CRiley13 on Twitter

"Chances that you miss, ignore, Ignorance is bliss, what's more you won't remember, you won't remember at all!" Regrets are futile...every night of Follies on the NT Olivier stage, I'd relish the phrasing with every hair standing on end!

@liz_izen on Twitter

"I got through all of last year and I'm here." It always reminds me to respect my perseverance.

@sissyinhwd on Twitter

"I chose, and my world was shaken
So what?
The choice may have been mistaken
The choosing was not
You have to move on"

In life, we contemplate our choices. I myself am a very indecisive person. But if we spend al our lives contemplating our choices, then we aren't really living. So in life, it's important to choose and not dwell on what you chose, as you have to let life move on

@vj_scarpaci2217 on Instagram

"More light" in Color and Light- it comes at a "breakthrough" part of the song and simple as it is, it reminds me to always keep searching for light and making my world the best it can be

@dialtenhof on Instagram

"Stop worrying if your vision is new
Let others make the decision, they usually do
And keep moving on."
-You can't control what people think. Accept that what they think does not have anything to do with you.

@avoidinglaundry on Instagram

"Let the moment go. Don't forget it for a moment, though." My favorite song from Into The Woods helps me remember to let go of the past and move on with the lessons I've learned. A piece of advice I'll cherish forever.

@berkuzman on Instagram

"I saw you and the world went away" (Tonight from West Side Story). It really sums up how Tony and Maria felt for each other and is one of the most beautiful lyrics ever written

@sammyyy.945 on Instagram

"A Little Priest" because it teaches how to run a small business.

@rory.lance on Instagram

"Did I abuse her or show her disdain" the first line I had ever sung on stage. Brings tears to my eyes.

@swany_sings on Instagram

I sort of hate to ask it, but do you have a basket... not the most profound, but hey, would you have thought of that rhyme yourself?!

@ladynix414 on Instagram

"Hard to see the light now
Just don't let it go
Things will come off right now
We can make it so
Someone is on your side
No one is alone"

I love these lyrics because it shows you that even though there are people who won't agree with you, doesn't mean you're alone, and to hold on because, eventually, you'll find the light.
Rest In Peace Mr. Sondheim

@rachelsnintendo on Instagram

"There are big, tall, terrible, awesome, scary, wonderful giants in the sky!"

With that song, I auditioned for (and got!) a part in a community theatre production that I truly believe saved my life. I'd just been fired from a job I'd dreamed about and felt so terribly alone - that production gave me a creative outlet, community, and a reason to keep getting up in the mornings. It wasn't a Sondheim show, but I'm so glad his words got me in the door - and keep me going to this day

@jlowef on Instagram

Lately it's been, "Stop worrying if your vision is new. Let others make that decision, they usually do." As an artist, I often worry too much if what I'm creating is different or groundbreaking, rather than allowing myself to simply write what I feel, and worry about the rest later.

@john_claudy on Instagram

For 'meaningful' reasons: "Sometimes people leave you, Halfway through the wood, Others may deceive you, You decide what's good, You decide alone, But no one is alone."

But for 'cleaverness' reasons: "We've no time to sit and dither while her whithers whither with her."

@tom_schopper on Instagram

"I remember sky, It was blue as ink" When I used to work at the Venetian in Las Vegas as a magician and singer with the painted sky in the mall, I was sometimes in there for multiple days at a time without seeing the real sky and would often sing this song to myself over and over.

Paul D. on Facebook

Attend the tale of Sweeney Todd. His skin was pale and his eye was odd. He shaved the faces of gentleman who never thereafter were heard of again. He trod a path that few have trod, did Sweeney Todd, the Demon Barber Fleet Street.

Quite an odd verse/lyric to site as a favorite, but ST is my favorite Sondheim show. When that music starts, when the verse begins, and when the chorus is totally in sync with their diction, I am at my happiest.

Aurora C. on Facebook

"It's intolerable being tolerated." Once I understood it, it made a lot of things in life make sense. Robert D. on Facebook

My favorite lyrics from Sondheim is truly endless, he was THAT much of a genius that anyone could relate to his lyrics. "But alone, is alone. Not alive" is one that resonates with me most right now. I recently turned 35 and like Bobbie/Bobby, I have struggled with singleness most of my life. A lot of my friends are married, dating or engaged. I want to be with someone, I want to support someone and be supported by them. I want a love like what Sondheim describes in 'Company'. The fact that 'Company' is my favorite Sondheim is very fitting the age that I just turned and the fact I get to see it on Broadway, with a female Bobbie, is so special.

Ashley H. on Facebook

So many, but in 2021, "There's a place for us, somewhere a place for us. Peace and quiet and open air wait for us, somewhere."

Carolyn B. on Facebook

So many come to mind immediately, but I will choose this one:

People strolling through the trees,

Of a small suburban park,

On an island in the river,

On an ordinary Sunday

because it captures the power of creativity and art from even the most mundane subjects and situations.

Tom A. on Facebook

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