Sondheim Code v1.3

by Matthew J. Kingston
SS++ / PO++2, F+3 / R46

Ver 1.0 - So, you're a fan of Sondheim and you want some way to convey your enthusiasm for his work to others. Try this signature code modeled after after other signature codes like the Smurf and Geek codes.

Note: This code is still in the development stage and is bound to reflect my own personal opinions of Sondheim's work. If you have comments, corrections, or suggestions (or even complaints), please E-mail me at Kingston@DePauw.Edu.

(Ver 1.1) - Wow. I can't believe I left out my favorite show PACIFIC OVERTURES!

(Ver 1.2) - Have added a section dealing with how to count your Sondheim recordings.

(Ver 1.3) - The Sondheim Code is now in HTML form for the WWW!

- How to Start -

The Sondheim Code consists of several letter codes. Each letter code is then followed by qualifiers.

For example: Start with the letters SS. This will open your signature code, designating you as a fan of Sondheim. The way you append the letters SS with qualifiers explains your level of enthusiasm for Sondheim.

S+++ I am in correspondence with the master himself.
SS++ I buy anything that has Sondheim's name on it... That's how I ended up with DO I HEAR A WALTZ? Ugh...
SS+ Sondheim is a master of the musical theatre world
SS alone I like the work of Stephen Sondheim.
The increase of pluses conveys higher levels of enthusiasm. Minuses can also be used to show your dislike for something. Ex:
SS- I find Sondheim's work difficult to understand.
SS-- Sondheim? Why can't he write a tune I can hum?
You can also use a question mark to express your confusion over a subject.

S? I just don't understand Sondheim.
You can use a slash (/) to express your range in affection for something.

S++/- I either really like his work or I'm not too enthused about it.
Now that you have established your enthusiasm for Sondheim as a whole, you can express your opinions about different Sondheim aspects...

-His Shows & Songs-

Start with the letter code for his shows:

WSS : West Side Story
G : Gypsy
Forum : A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum
ACW : Anyone Can Whistle
DIHAW : Do I Hear A Waltz?
EP: Evening Primrose
F : Follies
C : Company
ALNM : A Little Night Music
Fr : The Frogs
PO: Pacific Overtures
ST : Sweeney Todd
MWRA : Merrily We Roll Along
SITPWG : Sunday in the Park with George
ITW : Into the Woods
A : Assassins
P: Passion
Append the letter code with qualifiers to express your enthusiasm for the show.
Ex: (for Company)
C+++ I attended the premiere of the original production of Company and the new revival and every production in between, blah, blah, blah
C++ I *LOVE* Company.
C+ I like Company
C- I don't care for Company
C-- What was Sondheim smoking when he wrote this?
C? I don't understand Company.
You can append the letter code with a number to indicate the number of recordings you have of a show.
Ex: (For Follies)
F+3 (I like Follies and have 3 recordings of it)
You don't have to list EVERY show. Just pick 3 or 4 that you have strong feelings about.

If you want, you can list your feelings about individual Sondheim songs as well.

'PLK'+ (I like the song Pleasant Little Kingdom )
'I'mSH'+++5 (I LOVE the song I'm Still Here and I have 5 recordings of it)

- Other Things to Add to your Code -

Number of Recordings:
The letter R followed by a number indicates the number of Sondheim recordings you own.
R15 (I own 15 Sondheim recordings)
1. Count each recording of a show, but not multiple copies of the same recording. Ex. I would count my OCB and York MWRA as 2, but my CD and LP of the OCB as 1.
2. Count each Sondheim event recording. Ex. CELEBRATION AT CARNEGIE HALL.
3. Count each Sondheim compiliation. Ex. SYMPHONIC SONDHEIM, jazz.
4. Count each solo album which devotes at least 40% of the album to Sondheim material. Ex. Mandy's OSCAR & STEVE, but not EXPERIMENT.

Current role performing:

ITW-Nar (I'm currently playing the Narrator in INTO THE WOODS )

Age of 1st Sondheim Experience:
The letter A followed by a number indicates the age at which you first experienced the divine. You can append this with the show code for your first Sondheim show in parentheses.
A16(ITW) I first heard Sondheim through ITW at age 16.
Opinions of Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber:
ALW++ Lloyd Webber kicks Sondheim's butt.
ALW-- Lloyd Webber is a plagiarizer of material that wasn't good in the first place.
ALW-/+ Okay melodies. Why can't he work with a decent lyricist?
Opinions of Barbra Streisand's interpretations of Sondheim works:
Babs++ It's like butta!
Babs- I find her warbling distorts the original intentions of the songs.
You can judge other performers the same way, using their initials.
MP - Mandy Patinkin
BP - Bernedette Peters
AL - Angela Lansbury

- Closing Comments -

Well, it's a start. Please E-mail me with your questions, comments, corrections, suggestions, or complaints.

Matthew J. Kingston / Kingston@DePauw.Edu
SS++ / PO++2, F+3 / r46

The Sondheim Code is © 1996 by Matthew J. Kingston. All rights reserved. You are free to distribute this code in electronic format provided that it remains unchanged and I get credit for creating it. :)

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