Cast Inteviews: Favorite Lyrics

April 20, 2024

Did you know that Stephen Sondheim is often credited with writing the first rap performed on Broadway with Into the Woods in 1987? While there's still debate around the truth of this (Sondheim gave the credit to Meredith Wilson's Music Man), it can't be denied that he distinguished himself from his contemporaries with his clever melodies and ingenious lyrics. From the syncopated syllables of Into the Woods to the beautifully clear and powerful lines of A Little Night Music, Sondheim's shows are packed with poetry.

With a cast of world-class performers and Sondheim aficionados (Jeremy has been eleven different productions of his work!), we couldn't resist asking our cast to to pick their favorite lyrics from Sondheim on Sondheim. Read on to learn what line each performer picked! Some of their answers might surprise you...

Jeremy Koch — “Children will Listen” from Into the Woods

"Though it's fearful, though it's dark, and though you may lose the path, though you may encounter wolves, you mustn't stop, you mustn't swerve, you mustn't ponder, you have to act!"

Jeremy says "This advice applies to so many people in so many ways. For me personally, these words remind me that some of the choices we make in our lives can be frightening....especially bold choices. There have been many times I've felt uncertain but often if you just jump...just do it, you'll find your way. Maybe you'll find that what you thought would be terrifying isn't that bad. Here's to taking that first step toward living your best life!"

Denene Mulay Koch — “Sorry-Grateful” from Company

"You're sorry-grateful,
Why look for answers
When none occur?
You'll always be what you always were,
Which has nothing to do with, all to do with her."

Denene says: "This lyric really speaks to me because when you’ve been with someone for a long time, you begin to wonder what your life would be like if you had gone down a different path. The juxtaposition of feeling grateful and sorry at the same time, and the fact that, even though we stay innately who we are, we are forever changed by the people we spend our lives with. I just think it’s a beautiful lyric."

Meredith Mancuso — ”Loving You" from Passion

"Loving you is not a choice
It's who I am
Loving you is not a choice
And not much reason to rejoice,
But it gives me purpose
Gives me voice to say to the world:
This is why I live 
You are why I live. "

Meredith says: "I'm a sucker for a good love story. The way Sondheim speaks about love is so raw and real. His lyrics have a way of putting your exact feelings into words. It's so much deeper than just saying "I love you." He's clever and makes you think, "why didn't I ever think of saying it that way!" The lyrics make you feel like you have a sense of ownership over them. They become yours, which is why I think acting out his songs comes so naturally to so many people."

Aaron Pottenger — “Is This What You Call Love?” from Passion

"Love is not a constant demand, it’s a gift you bestow."

Aaron says: "Love is a choice, and these lyrics are a testament to that. It’s so easy to choose hate. Hate is so popular in our social media age. Love is a gift and a sacrifice."

Ciarra Stroud — “Something’s Coming” from West Side Story

"I’ve got a feeling there’s a miracle due
Gonna come true
Coming to me"

Ciarra says: "I love this lyric because of its optimism. It reminds me that even when things might be hard, the next good thing is always right around the corner and tomorrow’s truth doesn’t exist until you create it."

Jason Long — “Beautiful” from Sunday in the Park with George

"Pretty isn't beautiful Mother, pretty is what changes.
What the eye arranges is what is beautiful."

Jason says: "These few lyrics speak to me that beauty can truly be found in everything, it is up to you to find it, to create it, to let it affect you. Allow your eyes to open and you will find it."

Rowan McStay — “Children Will Listen” from Into the Woods

"Careful the spell you cast,
Not just on children.
Sometimes the spell may last
Past what you can see
And turn against you
Careful the tale you tell,
That is the spell"

Rowan says: "Into the Woods means the world to me; it’s such a tender exploration of the curses we pass down through generations and the ways we try (and often fail) to break them. I see this line as a loving reminder to think before speaking — words, like wishes, can take on a life of their own."

Patrick Poole — “Finishing the Hat” from Sunday in the Park with George

"Reaching through the world of the hat like a window back to this one from that."

Patrick says: "Out of the lyrics I can think of in the show, this one resonates with me the most, because works of art are windows into other worlds. We use them to transport ourselves, and any artistic creation can be the vehicle. Once people find themselves enthralled by an artist's work, they have the potential to heal, grow, learn, explore, and connect."

Experience Sondheim's lyrical genius in Sondheim on Sondheim at Farmers Alley Theatre when it opens on April 25. Performances are now extended through May 19. Get your tickets here.