[A] fascinating and rigorous, no-punches-pulled investigation into the provenance and parturition of his and Stephen Sondheim’s first collaboration ... This is not a collection of gossip. It is actually a story of artistic steadfastness, revealing as much about the ultimate work as the experience the participants endured while making it.
... absorbing ... That race—starting from that day in 1982 to May 2, 1984, when their creation opened on Broadway for 604 performances, winning its own Pultizer along the way—is thoroughly and entertainingly chronicled in Lapine’s book. Through interviews with dozens of its creative team—from producers and designers to actors and stagehands—he presents an invaluable historical document, remarkable in its detail considering the lapse in time of nearly four decades ... Backstage sagas are always irresistible to theater fans, and this one had more than its share of twists and turns ... Lapine is an easygoing, self-effacing, candid narrator, aware that as he went through the responsibilities of both librettist and director he was treated with skepticism by the cast for his off-Broadway roots and lack of experience ... As a bonus, the oversized tome is handsomely designed, chock full of color and black-and-white photos, designers’ sketches, Sondheim’s and Lapine’s notes, and even samples of Seurat’s other work.
It is based on interviews with some 40 people who worked on the show, Mr. Sondheim foremost among them, and all are forthright and revealing, as well as amusing ... Putting It Together is the richest backstage memoir I know that concentrates on the work itself. If you want to learn what it’s like to put on a professional show, Mr. Lapine’s book tells pretty much everything ... Best of all are the conversations in which Mr. Lapine and Mr. Sondheim admit you to their workshop, sharing memories that illuminate their creative process like a flash of lightning.
Putting It Together is the fascinating and entertaining story behind the making of Sunday in the Park with George ... An enjoyable tome ... The most compelling parts of the book are when Lapine’s colleagues give their accounts, which results in delightful debate and give-and-take. When Lapine interacts with his colleagues and friends, Putting It Together becomes an interesting tale of creativity and imagination ... Lapine tells a marvelous story of the creation of a fabled musical.
[A] wonderful new book ... Putting It Together works on many levels ... [It] will be catnip for Sondheim fans, who will likely breeze through the 380-plus pages, and then go back from time to time to dip into it like a biblical text ... This is a detailed look into theatrical art and business of a specific period, but most importantly it offers much insight into the greatest musical theater minds of the 20th century—and by extension ever.
It is mostly fascinating, especially if, like me, you’re baffled by the mechanics of artistic collaboration. How is it that two people can find a common voice to make a single work of art? ... Lapine recalls this in a sequence of transcribed conversations, which gives the book a nice flow and allows all involved a turn in the spotlight ... Alas, the format also encourages a lot of luvvie confessional and mutual backslapping ... By the end, the love-in between star and director feels like Sally Field’s Oscar speech rewritten as a duet. Lapine, recalling the struggles of 40 years ago, isn’t above polishing his own legend ... Lapine has hold of a good story all the same.
The interviews in this blend of oral history and theater memoir are frank and friendly ... A captivating story ... Theater fans welcoming Broadway’s reopening in the wake of the COVID-19 emergency will enjoy revisiting one of its most glorious productions.
[A] vivid oral history ... A particular highlight of this book are its reproductions of original notes and sketches, photographs of cast and crew, and the musical’s full script ... Beyond its obvious appeal to Broadway fans, this insider guide to creating art, including making mistakes and accepting criticism, will spark the interest of aspiring artists and writers.
[A] luminous debut ... A captivating oral history ... There’s plenty of entertaining backstage melodrama, but Lapine never plays it just for laughs, instead drawing out the serious devotion to craft and artistic risk-taking that fueled it. This is a fascinating 360-degree panorama of showbiz at its most intense and creative.
This delightful book revisits the two years they spent telling a fictionalized version of Seurat’s life ... The result sometimes feels like a mutual admiration society ... But fans will find much to love ... The author is refreshingly candid ... Art isn’t easy, as this entertaining look at the making of a cultural touchstone amply demonstrates.