“I was essentially trained by Oscar Hammerstein to think of songs as one-act plays, to move a song from point A to point B dramatically. I think of songs in sonata form – statement, development, and recapitulation – but in Oscar’s terms it was first act, second act, and third act. The character singing goes through a development process and comes out with a conclusion emotionally different from where he began, so the song has a sense of moving the story forward even though it may not move the plot forward. Oscar’s attempt was never to have a song that merely stated one idea over and over again, which had been the practice of people like Cole Porter and Rodgers and Hart, because that was what was required before Oscar came along and revolutionized the musical theater by applying these principles and making them into a series of hit musicals.”
Stephen Sondheim, A Conversation with Stephen Sondheim
This article makes me smile.