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Young Dylan Pickus, a senior at Kamiak High School, musical-theater geek, and budding Sondheim freak—he's been in Into the Woods twice and owns the entire canon, minus Passion, Follies and Road Show.

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Dylan wrote an enthusiastic essay, but it was his older brother Aaron, who wrote in independently, that cinched it:

I am volunteering 100 hours a week to get McGinn elected mayor of Seattle. I saved up just enough to pay rent for a few months and quit my job to volunteer. My little brother's birthday is next month. He is a Sondheim nut, but I can't afford the ticket.

A do-gooder who didn't even want the ticket for himself—he just wanted it for his brother. Brought a tear to my eye.

The fickle hand of Slog will decide who gets the second pair of tickets to watch Frank Rich interview Stephen Sondheim tonight. It was tough to winnow the submissions down to four 50-word essays. Some were sweet, some were sad, some were shrill, and a few were way over the word count. (Disqualified!)

The contenders:

1. Rebecca Crawford:

I have written twelve versions of this story. None seem good enough; I lack Sondheim’s wit, and Rich’s clarity. Honesty will have to do. I'm a teacher and I love my crazy job, but I need a break. I'd love that break to be an evening with my two heroes.

She lives in Seattle and teaches tenth and eleventh grade English in Federal Way. "My students are hilarious, often unintentionally so," she says. "(Kid: 'What Chaucer topic did you get?' Other Kid: 'The Art of Courtly Love.' Kid: 'Oooooh, I *love* her!'"

2. Paul Pearson:

I respond to artistic extensions of the human condition as presented in Sondheim's masterful mesh between the epic and the intimate, the monolithic and the internal, his intertwining of the emotional, carnal and festive. Plus I have some gay friends I really want to impress, and I can't sew.

I didn't know you could impress gay friends with sewing. But I like Mr. Pearson's critical impulse (his was the only essay that leaned in that direction). He lives in Columbia City.

3. Slog regular Rhett Oracle:

Here’s to the gays who disguise -
Don’t they make us wince?
Posting false profiles on
Craig’s List of genital size,
Hoping to convince.
Another boy to come on by,
A boy on whom to squeeze lime,
A snort of meth, a Boodle’s dry,
A snack of priest from Sondheim.
Let’s drink to that.

"Rhett (aka Marc Henri) is a longtime Sondheim junkie," Mr. Oracle writes, "and attended Sunday's 'West Side Story' sing-along that was gayer than pink ink. He writes, cooks, organizes his porn drawer once a month and occasionally appears on various local stages. His only sadness in his life is that his parents did not name him Falcon or Désirée."

4. Anna Pederson:

In two weeks time I will be giving a presentation on the influence of musical theatre on American music, a path well worn by Stephen Sondheim. Frank Rich will ask hard-hitting questions, but the audience really wants to know where Sondheim and McGinn get their hair groomed together.

Anna works as a peanut/cracker jack vendor at Qwest Field, attends Seattle Center Community College—site of the presentation—and hopes to cross the finish line at NYU's graduate program in media, culture, and communications. She wants to be a copy editor.

Take it away, Slog.

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The other pair of Sondheim/Rich tickets should go to...

The voting will end at an undisclosed time.

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