VIDEO EXCLUSIVE: Judy Collins Recalls Working With Stephen Sondheim On “Send In The Clowns”

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Judy Collins performs at Town Hall in New York City (Photo: Sachyn Mital)

Judy Collins reminisced on her work with the late Stephen Sondheim and recording his hit song “Send In The Clowns” in her new uInterview.

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“At one point I went to see him and he spent an entire day with me, playing me songs,” Collins said to uInterview Founder Erik Meers. “Sitting at the piano and playing them and singing them. And I was, first of all, just bowled over because every note that’s in every Sondheim song that was ever written are played, were played, originally by him on the piano. And then he gives that to his orchestrator and then the orchestrator figures out ‘Should the oboe go “da da da da.” You know? ‘Should the strings do this part.’

“But he was an amazing, amazing writer and he changed Broadway forever. Made it into something different, something that could experiment with all kinds of subjects in a way that was different than the Broadway before. Well, it sort of integrated a lot of different ideas about people going to hear music and to hear stories. And we love stories. We need to have stories in our lives, I think, to thrive, to stay on the planet. And let’s face it, without them I don’t know what we would do.”

Sondheim is best known for writing the music and lyrics to Company, FolliesMerrily We Roll AlongSunday in the Park with George and Into the Woods. He also wrote the lyrics for West Side Story and Gypsy.

“And Stephen Sondheim was brilliant,” Collins said. He wrote ‘Send In The Clowns’ as an extra song in Little Night Music. ”

The song is one of Sondheim’s most recognizable, and has been performed by the likes of Julie Andrews, Frank Sinatra, Bernadette Peters and Barbra Streisand.

“It wasn’t his favorite song,” Collins revealed, laughing. “He didn’t think very much of it. It was kind of a fill in song and he was under impressed, but then of course that was the one that went platinum and was all over the place when I sang it, recorded it and it became a big hit.