Send in the Clowns

From Academic Kids

"Send in the Clowns" is a song by Stephen Sondheim, from the 1973 musical A Little Night Music.

Of Stephen Sondheim's more than 800 songs, this is the one that became a megahit. It achieved popularity with recordings by Frank Sinatra and, later, Judy Collins. Sondheim added a verse for a 1985 Barbra Streisand recording.

The song was written for actress Glynis Johns, who had a breathy voice and a limited tessitura—Sondheim wrote the song with short phrases and a small music range (only about an octave).

The title refers to a phrase reputedly used in a circus when an unforeseen disaster had occurred, with the clowns being sent in to distract the audience from the problem. Alternatively, the title could refer to the practice in vaudeville theatre of sending the clowns on to the stage to distract the audience after a particularly bad act.

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