Sondheim's LOOK, I MADE A HAT Wins Sheridan Morely Theatre Bio Prize


The 5th annual Sheridan Morely Prize was presented today, March 8th, at the Garrick Club in London's Covent Garden to Stephen Sondheim for his book LOOK, I MADE A HAT., according to

"Sondheim," said "whose book is a follow-up to 2010's Finishing the Hat, receives a £2000 cash prize."

The Jury included Last Year's Book Prize Winner Simon Callow,Theatre Critic Georgina Brown and Dramatist and Screenwriter Martin Sherman, and is chaired by the critic, broadcaster and biographer Ruth Leon.

Stephen Sondheim has won seven Tonys, an Academy Award, seven Grammys, a Pulitzer Prize and the Kennedy Center Honors. His career has spanned more than half a century, his lyrics have become synonymous with musical theater and popular culture, and in his first book, Finishing the Hat, Sondheim has not only collected his lyrics for the first time, he is giving readers a rare personal look into his life as well as his remarkable productions.

"Look, I Made a Hat: Collected Lyrics (1981-2011) with Attendant Comments, Amplifications, Dogmas, Harangues, Wafflings, Diversions and Anecdotes" picks up where "Finishing the Hat" leaves off.

Along with the lyrics for all of his musicals from 1954 to 1981-including West Side Story, Company, Follies, A Little Night Music and Sweeney Todd, Sondheim treats us to never-before-published songs from each show, songs that were cut or discarded before seeing the light of day. He discusses his relationship with his mentor, Oscar Hammerstein II, and his collaborations with extraordinary talents such as Leonard Bernstein, Arthur Laurents, Ethel Merman, Richard Rodgers,Angela Lansbury, Harold Prince and a panoply of others. The anecdotes-filled with history, pointed observations and intimate details-transport us back to a time when theater was a major pillar of American culture. Best of all, Sondheim appraises his work and dissects his lyrics, as well as those of others, offering unparalleled insights into songwriting that will be studied by fans and aspiring songwriters for years to come.

Accompanying Sondheim's sparkling writing are behind-the-scenes photographs from each production, along with handwritten music and lyrics from the songwriter's personal collection.

The aims of the 'Sherrys' are to advance the cause of biographical writing, particularly in the area of the English-speaking theatre, to promote excellence in authorship by awarding an annual prize for the best theatre biography, to encourage new writers and reward established writers and to evoke historical context in the writing of biography and the pursuit of a better understanding of the work of theatre professionals through the examination of their lives.

Last year's Prize was won by MY LIFE IN PIECES by Simon Callow

The prize is supported by the Garrick Club of which Sheridan was a lifelong member and by contributions from Sheridan's friends and colleagues. It is administered by Oberon Books.

Read the report