Careful the Spell You Cast: How Stephen Sondheim Extended the Range of the American Musical - Ben Francis; | Foyles Bookstore
Enter your search into one or more of the boxes below:
You can refine your search by selecting from any of the options below:
Careful the Spell You Cast: How Stephen Sondheim Extended the Range of the American Musical
Foyalty 255

Careful the Spell You Cast: How Stephen Sondheim Extended the Range of the American Musical (Hardback)

Awaiting publication


Stephen Sondheim is one of the best-known and most-loved musical theatre composers, but also one of the most misunderstood, often being labelled as 'distant' or 'cynical'. Careful The Spell You Cast instead argues that Sondheim firmly belongs to the Broadway aspirational tradition, in that many of his characters are defined by their dreams: to abandon one's dream (as Ben does in Follies, Frank does in Merrily We Roll Along, and Addison does in Road Show) is to lose one's soul.

Rather than take the established view of Sondheim as a cynic, this book contends that throughout Sondheim's work, letting go of one's illusions is a process that his characters need to go through, that they must cast off illusions and false dreams, without becoming cynical and destroying their genuine dreams in the process. In turn this view aligns Sondheim's work as being aspirational and a logical continuation from the work of his mentor, Oscar Hammerstein II.

Following the trajectory of Sondheim's career, Careful the Spell You Cast shows how Sondheim has dramatised this process throughout his writing life alongside different collaborators. From his work as a lyricist with the musicals Gypsy and West Side Story through to his later collaborations with Hal Prince (Company, Follies) and James Lapine (Into the Woods, Sunday in the Park With George), this book reframes the established view through lyrical and structural analysis in relation to the characters within each of these celebrated works of musical theatre, arguing that Sondheim is, in the popular sense of the word, a romantic within the tradition of the Broadway musical.

Film, TV & DramaTheatreMusic & DanceMusic BooksMusic: styles & genresMusicalsMusic & DanceSheet Music Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC Publication Date: 09/03/2023 ISBN-13: 9781350281813  Details: Type: Hardback Format: Books
Availability: Awaiting publication Pre-Order

Ben Francis is a teacher of English. He has contributed to Oxford Handbook of Sondheim Studies (2014) and Oxford Handbook of the British Musical (2016), as well as Christopher Hampton: Dramatic Ironist (1996)

More books by Ben Francis

Leave Review

Delivery Options

All delivery times quoted are the average, and cannot be guaranteed. These should be added to the availability message time, to determine when the goods will arrive. During checkout we will give you a cumulative estimated date for delivery.


Location 1st Book Each additional book Average Delivery Time
Free UK Standard Delivery on Orders Over £25 (2nd Class)     3-5 Days
UK Standard Delivery (2nd Class) £2.99 £0.00 3-5 Days
UK 1st Class Delivery £3.99 £0.00 2-3 Days

Click & Collect / 
Delivery to a Foyles Bookshop


Free Free Click and Collect and Delivery to Store is available for all our shops. Collection times will vary depending on availability of items. Individual despatch times for each item will be given at checkout.
Please wait for order arrival confirmation email before making a journey to collect.
UK Courier* £7.95 £0.00 1 Working Day
Western Europe Airmail** £9.00 £1.00 7-8 Days
Rest of World Airmail*** £12.50 £1.00 7-10 Days

* For courier service please contact the Charing Cross Road store

** Includes Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta, The Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland

*** We are currently unable to delivery to the following countries - Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Ghana, Iraq, Lebanon, Macao, Pakistan, Puerto Rico, Saint Barthelemy, Turkey, Uzbekistan, Virgin Island US

Given the unfolding situation across Ukraine, with regret we have now suspended orders placed from, or to be delivered to, both Russia and Ukraine. Thank you for your patience and understanding. 

For goods delivered outside of the UK, the consignee (ie the person to whom the consignment is sent) will be the declarant and importer into the country for which the consignment is destined. The consignee will be responsible for both customs clearance and payment of customs duties and local taxes where required.

Customs Charges - if you are ordering goods for delivery outside of the UK, please note that your consignment may be subject to VAT (Value Added Tax), other taxes, customs duties and/or fees levied by the destination country. Any such charges levied in relation to customs clearance must be borne by you. It is accepted by you that Foyles has no control over additional charges in relation to customs clearance. Foyles recommend that you check with your local customs officials or post office for more information regarding importation taxes/duties that may be applicable to your online order.

Delivery Help & FAQs

A Year of Books Subscription Packages 

Delivery is free for the UK. Western Europe costs £60 for each 12 month subscription package purchased. For the Rest of the World the cost is £100 for each package purchased. All delivery costs are charged in advance at time of purchase. For more information please visit the A Year of Books page.

Returns Information

If you are not completely satisfied with your purchase*, you may return it to us in its original condition with in 30 days of receiving your delivery or collection notification email for a refund. Except for damaged items or delivery issues the cost of return postage is borne by the buyer. Your statutory rights are not affected.

* For Exclusions and terms on damaged or delivery issues see Returns Help & FAQs

You might also like

Out For Blood: A Cultural History of...
Chris Adams
Out For Blood: A Cultural History of...
Chris Adams
Analyzing Musicals
Michael Buchler; Gregory John Decker
Analyzing Musicals
Michael Buchler; Gregory John Decker
© W&G Foyle Ltd