Today’s last entry in The 2020 PopCult Gift guide is another double-shot suggestion that ties in with today’s episodes of Curtain Call, on The AIR.  This afternoon at 3 PM on The AIR you can hear an encore of Mel Larch’s three-episode tribute to musical theatre icon, Stephen Sondheim, that first ran to celebrate his 90th birthday earlier this year.

To tie-in with that, we have two book suggestions that will thrill and delight any fan of the Maestro…

Into the Woods
by Stephen Sondheim (Author), James Lapine (Author), Hudson Talbott (Illustrator)
ISBN-13 : 978-1510754577
$27.99 (discounted at Amazon)

Finally Back in Print in Over a Decade is the Lavishly Illustrated Story Book of Into the Woods, one of the Most-Performed Musicals, by Pulitzer Prize- and Tony Award-winning Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine

Based on the Grimm Brothers’ most popular folktales, Into the Woods is a reimagining of what can happen when beloved fairytale characters are thrown together in increasingly dramatic and humorous ways. The Pulitzer Prize- and Tony Award-winning team of Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine bring their cherished musical off the stage and onto the page with the help of Hudson Talbott’s enchanting illustrations.

Re-published for Stephen Sondheim’s ninetieth birthday, join Cinderella, Jack (of beanstalk-climbing fame), Little Red Riding Hood, the Baker and his Wife, and more on their quest to find “happily ever after.” Along the way they meet Rapunzel, the Big Bad Wolf, terrifying giants, lusty princes, and their own destinies. But after their journeys are done, the real question remains: what comes after “happily ever after” and will the prices paid for it be worth it in the end?

This is a special storybook adaptation that tells the tale of the musical with beautiful illustrations in just under 100 pages. It’s a work of art that any fan of the musical will love.

West Side Story: The Jets, the Sharks, and the Making of a Classic (Turner Classic Movies)
by Richard Barrios and Turner Classic Movies
Running Press Adult
ISBN-13 : 978-0762469482
$28.00 (discounted at Amazon)

This book is a captivating, richly illustrated full account of the making of the ground-breaking movie classic West Side Story (1961). The musical that put Sondheim on the map, West Side Story is a timeless classic that has and will endure many interpretations. This book looks at the first movie incarnation.

A major hit on Broadway, on film West Side Story became immortal-a movie different from anything that had come before, but this cinematic victory came at a price. In this engrossing volume, film historian Richard Barrios recounts how the drama and rivalries seen onscreen played out to equal intensity behind-the-scenes, while still achieving extraordinary artistic feats.

The making and impact of West Side Story has so far been recounted only in vestiges. In the pages of this book, the backstage tale comes to life along with insight on what has made the film a favorite across six decades: its brilliant use of dance as staged by erstwhile co-director Jerome Robbins; a meaningful story, as set to Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim’s soundtrack; the performances of a youthful ensemble cast featuring Natalie Wood, Rita Moreno, George Chakiris, and more; a film with Shakespearean roots (Romeo and Juliet) that is simultaneously timeless and current. West Side Story was a triumph that appeared to be very much of its time; over the years it has shown itself to be eternal.

Any fan of Sondheim, Bernstein, the movie or musicals in general will love this fascinating document of how the movie made the jump from stage to screen.