This is turning into "The Stephen Sondheim Blog"...but when he keeps writing me, what else can I do?
I wrote to Sondheim on January 2nd, c/o his publishers, about the subject of this post. At the urging of my wife Laura, I also included an anagram I had once devised from the title of one of his shows.
Six weeks later, not having heard back from him, I wrote him again. This time I contacted a friend who I knew had Sondheim's Manhattan address. I had it myself at one time, but lost it. (It's one of the worst-kept secrets of the NYC musical theatre scene.) My second letter mentioned the earlier one, and I wondered to him if he was following the example of Richard Brinsley Sheridan, as outlined here. I asked him the same question about Henson, but this time I cut the anagram in favor of mentioning a local production of Pacific Overtures I had seen the week before. That letter went out on February 16th. His reply was dated February 20th, and the crux of it is here.
And today, I received a response to my first letter! It's dated March 20. So he did get it from the publishers, it just took a couple of months. The response about Henson is briefer this time, but included the new information that he and Lapine had lunch with Henson, but only once.
There's nothing about the mixed-up dates, so I wonder if he vaguely remembered answering my second letter, exactly one month earlier. But he also added this, which delights me to no end:
And your anagram is terrific — congratulations.
That anagram, in case you're curious, is as follows:
SWEENEY TODD — THE DEMON BARBER OF FLEET STREET
WE TRY TO FEED MEN BEEF...OR TENSED THROATS BLEED.