Stephen Sondheim

Stephen Sondheim

Infobox Musical artist
Name = Stephen Sondheim
Img_capt =
Landscape =
Background = non_performing_personnel
Birth_name = Stephen Joshua Sondheim
Alias =
Born = birth date and age|1930|3|22
New York City, NY, U.S.
Origin =
Instrument =
Genre = Musical theatre
Occupation = Composer, Lyricist
Years_active = 1954 ndash Present
Label =
Associated_acts =
Current_members =
Past_members =
Notable_instruments =

Stephen Joshua Sondheim (born March 22, 1930) is an American musical and film composer and lyricist, winner of an Academy Award, multiple Tony Awards (seven, more than any other composer) and the Special Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre, multiple Grammy Awards, and a Pulitzer Prize. He has been described by Frank Rich in the "The New York Times" as "the greatest and perhaps best-known artist in the American musical theatre." cite news |last=Rich |first=Frank |url= |title=Conversations With Sondheim |publisher=The New York Times |date=2000-03-12 |accessdate=2007-01-17] His most famous scores include (as composer/lyricist) "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum", "Company", "Follies", "A Little Night Music", "Sweeney Todd", "Sunday in the Park with George", "Into the Woods", and "Assassins", as well as the lyrics for "West Side Story" and "". He was president of the Dramatists Guild from 1973 to 1981.

Early life

Stephen Sondheim was born to Herbert and Janet ("Foxy") Sondheim, in New York City, New York, and grew up on the Upper West Side of Manhattan and later on a farm in Pennsylvania. Herbert was a dress manufacturer and Foxy designed the dresses. An only child of well-to-do parents living in a high-rise apartment on Central Park West, Sondheim's childhood has been portrayed as isolated and emotionally neglected in Meryle Secrest's biography, "Stephen Sondheim: A Life."

Sondheim traces his interest in theater to "Very Warm for May", a Broadway musical he saw at the age of nine. "The curtain went up and revealed a piano," Sondheim recalled. "A butler took a duster and brushed it up, tinkling the keys. I thought that was thrilling."cite news|last = Henry|first = William A, III|url =,9171,966141,00.html |title = Master of the Musical; Stephen Sondheim Applies a Relentless|publisher = Time|date = 1987-12-07|accessdate = 2007-03-19]

When Stephen was ten years old, his father Herbert, a distant figure in Stephen's life, abandoned him and his mother. Stephen "famously despised" Foxy; he once wrote a thank-you note to close friend Mary Rodgers that read, "Dear Mary and Hank, Thanks for the plate, but where was my mother's head? Love, Steve." When Foxy died on September 15, 1992, Sondheim refused to attend her funeral.


Mentorship under Oscar Hammerstein II

At about the age of ten, around the time of his parents' divorce, Sondheim became friends with Jimmy Hammerstein, son of the well-known lyricist and playwright Oscar Hammerstein II. The elder Hammerstein became a surrogate father to Sondheim, as the young man attempted to stay away from home as much as possible. Hammerstein had a profound influence on the young Sondheim, especially in his development of love for musical theater. Indeed, it was at the opening of Hammerstein's hit show "South Pacific" that Sondheim met Harold Prince, who would later direct many of Sondheim's most famous shows. During high school, Sondheim attended George School, a private Quaker preparatory school in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. He had the chance to write a comic musical based on the goings-on of his school, entitled "By George". It was a major success among his peers, and it inflated the young songwriter's ego considerably; he took it to Hammerstein, and asked him to evaluate it as though he had no knowledge of its author. Hammerstein said it was the worst thing he had ever seen. "But if you want to know why it's terrible," Hammerstein consoled the young man, "I'll tell you." The rest of the day was spent going over the musical, and Sondheim would later say that "in that afternoon I learned more about songwriting and the musical theater than most people learn in a lifetime." [Zadan, Craig, "Sondheim & Co.", New York: Harper & Row, 1974 & 1986 p. 4 ISBN 0-06-015649-X]

Thus began one of the most famous apprenticeships in the musical theatre, as Hammerstein designed a kind of course for Sondheim to take on the construction of a musical. This training centered around four assignments, which Sondheim was to write. These were:

*A musical based on a play he admired (which became "All That Glitters")
*A musical based on a play he thought was flawed (which became "High Tor")
*A musical based on an existing novel or short story not previously dramatized (which became his unfinished "Mary Poppins", not connected to the musical film and stage play scored by the Sherman Brothers.)
*An original musical (which became "Climb High")

None of these "assignment" musicals was ever produced professionally. "High Tor" and "Mary Poppins" have never been produced at all, because the rights holders for the original works refused to grant permission for a musical to be made.

In 1950, Sondheim graduated magna cum laude from Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts, where he was a member of Beta Theta Pi fraternity. He went on to study composition with the composer Milton Babbitt. Sondheim says that when he asked Babbitt if he could study atonality, Babbitt replied "No, I don't think you've exhausted your tonal resources yet." [Horowitz, Mark Eden, "Sondheim on Music"New York: Scarecrow Press Date, (3rd Edition), page ??? 2003 ISBN-13: 9780810844377 ISBN 0810844370 ] . Sondheim agreed, and despite frequent dissonance and a highly chromatic style, his music remains resolutely tonal.

Move to Broadway and work as lyricist

"A few painful years of struggle" followed for Sondheim, during which he conditionally auditioned songs and lived in his father's dining room to save money. He also spent some time in Hollywood writing for the television series "Topper". Though, to date, Sondheim has only dabbled in movie musicals, he devoured the film of the forties and fifties and has called cinema his "basic language." In the fifties, his knowledge of film got him through "The $64,000 Question" contestant tryouts. Though his favorite movies include classics like "Citizen Kane", "The Grapes of Wrath", and "Stairway to Heaven", Sondheim says he dislikes movie musicals. He added that "studio directors like Michael Curtiz and Raoul Walsh....were heroes of mine. They went from movie to movie to movie, and every third movie was good and every fifth movie was great. There wasn't any cultural pressure to make art."cite news |last=Mitchell |first=Elvis |url= |title=Sondheim, Film Aficionado; Choices for Telluride Festival Show Nonmusical Side |publisher=The New York Times |date=2003-08-28 |accessdate=2008-03-28 ]

In 1954, Sondheim wrote both music and lyrics for "Saturday Night", which was never produced on Broadway and was shelved until a 1997 production at London's Bridewell Theatre. In 1998 "Saturday Night" received a professional recording, followed by an Off-Broadway run at Second Stage Theatre in 2000.

Sondheim's big break came when he wrote the lyrics to "West Side Story", accompanying Leonard Bernstein's music and Arthur Laurents's book. The 1957 show, directed by Jerome Robbins, ran for 732 performances. While this may be the best-known show Sondheim ever worked on, he has expressed some dissatisfaction with his lyrics, stating they don't always fit the characters and are sometimes too consciously poetic.

In 1959, he wrote the lyrics for another hit musical, "". Sondheim would have liked to write the music as well, but Ethel Merman, the star, insisted on a composer with a track record. Thus, Jule Styne was hired. [Zadan, p. 38] Sondheim questioned if he should write only the lyrics for yet another show, but his mentor Oscar Hammerstein told him it would be valuable experience to write for a star. Sondheim worked closely with book writer Arthur Laurents to create the show. It ran 702 performances.

Finally, Sondheim participated in a musical for which he wrote both the music and lyrics, "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum". It opened in 1962 and ran 964 performances. The book, based on the farces of Plautus, was written by Burt Shevelove and Larry Gelbart. Sondheim's score was not especially well-received at the time - the show won several Tony Awards, including best musical, but Sondheim did not even receive a nomination. In addition, some critics felt the songs were not properly integrated into the farcical action.

At this point, Sondheim had participated in three straight hits. His next show ended the streak. "Anyone Can Whistle" (1964) was a 9-performance flop, although it introduced Angela Lansbury to musical theatre and has developed a cult following.

In 1965 he donned his lyricist-for-hire hat for one last show, "Do I Hear a Waltz?", with music by Richard Rodgers—the one project he has since openly regretted working on. In 1966, he semi-anonymously provided the lyric for "The Boy From...", a parody of "The Girl from Ipanema" that was a highlight of the off-Broadway revue "The Mad Show". (The official songwriting credit went to the linguistically-minded pseudonym "Esteban Rio Nido", which translates from the Spanish to "Stephen River Nest". In the show's Playbill, the lyric was credited to "Nom De Plume".)

Maturity as composer/lyricist in the 70s

Since then Sondheim has devoted himself to both composing and writing lyrics for a series of varied and adventurous musicals, beginning with the innovative "concept musical" "Company" in 1970.

Sondheim's work is notable for his use of complex polyphony in the vocal parts, such as the chorus of five minor characters who function as a sort of Greek chorus in 1973's "A Little Night Music". He also displays a penchant for angular harmonies and intricate melodies reminiscent of Bach (Sondheim has claimed that he "loves Bach" but his favorite period is Brahms to Stravinsky). interview on "Sunday Arts", ABC (Australia) TV August 5, 2007 "An Audience With Stephen Sondheim" [ 2007 ABC Australia TV interview] downloadable [ ("Episode 26")] ] To aficionados, Sondheim's musical sophistication is considered to be greater than that of many of his musical theater peers, and his lyrics are likewise renowned for their ambiguity, wit, and urbanity.

Sondheim collaborated with producer/director Harold Prince on six distinctive musicals between 1970 and 1981. "Company" (1970) was a "concept musical", a show centered on a set of characters and themes rather than a straightforward plot. "Follies" (1971) was a similarly-structured show filled with pastiche songs echoing styles of composers from earlier decades. "A Little Night Music" (1973), a more traditionally plotted show based on the film "Smiles of a Summer Night" by Ingmar Bergman, was one of his greatest successes, with "Time" magazine calling it "Sondheim's most brilliant accomplishment to date."cite news|url =,9171,906953,00.html |title = A Precious Fancy|publisher = Time|date = 1973-03-19|accessdate = 2007-03-19] Notably, the score was mostly composed in waltz time (either ¾ time, or multiples thereof.) Further success was accorded to "A Little Night Music" when "Send in the Clowns" became a hit for Judy Collins. Although it was Sondheim's only Top 40 hit, his songs are frequently performed and recorded by cabaret artists and theatre singers in their solo careers.

"Pacific Overtures" (1976) was the most non-traditional of the Sondheim-Prince collaborations, an intellectual exploration of the westernization of Japan. "Sweeney Todd" (1979), Sondheim's most operatic score and libretto (which, along with "A Little Night Music," found a definite foothold in opera houses), once again explores an unlikely topic, this time murderous revenge and cannibalism. The book, by Hugh Wheeler, is based on Christopher Bond's 1973 stage version of the Victorian original.

Later work

"Merrily We Roll Along" (1981), with a book by George Furth, is one of Sondheim's more "traditional" scores and was thought to hold potential to generate some hit songs (Frank Sinatra and Carly Simon each recorded a different song from the show). Sondheim's music director, Paul Gemignani, said, “Part of Steve’s ability is this extraordinary versatility.” "Merrily", however, was a 16-performance flop. "Merrily" did not succeed, but its score endures thanks to subsequent productions and recordings. According to Martin Gottfried, "Sondheim had set out to write traditional songs… But [despite] that there is nothing ordinary about the music." [Gottfried, Martin (photos By Martha Swope), "Sondheim", New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 1993, pgs. 146-147 ISBN 9780810938441 ISBN 0810938448] Sondheim and Furth have extensively revised the show since its initial opening.

The failure of "Merrily" greatly affected Sondheim; he was ready to quit theater and do movies or create video games or write mysteries. He was later quoted as saying, "I wanted to find something to satisfy myself that does not involve Broadway and dealing with all those people who hate me and hate Hal." [in Gottfried, "Sondheim", pg. 153] The collaboration between Sondheim and Prince would largely end after "Merrily" - until the 2003 production of "Bounce", another failure.

However, instead of quitting the theater following the failure of "Merrily", Sondheim decided "that there are better places to start a show", and found a new collaborator in the "artsy" James Lapine. Lapine has a taste "for the avant-garde and for visually oriented theater in particular." "Sunday in the Park with George" (1984), their first collaboration, was very much the avant-garde, but they had blended it together with the professionalism of the commercial theater to make a different kind of musical. Sondheim again was able to show his versatility and his adaptability. His music took on the style of the artist Georges Seurat's painting techniques. In doing so, Sondheim was able to bring his work to another level.

In 1985, he and Lapine won the Pulitzer Prize in Drama for "Sunday in the Park with George". It is one of only seven musicals that have received this prestigious award. The show had its first revival on Broadway in 2008. The Sondheim-Lapine collaboration also produced the popular fairy-tale show "Into the Woods" (1987) and the rhapsodic "Passion" (1994). 1990 saw the opening of Sondheim's "Assassins" off-Broadway.

In the late nineties, Sondheim reunited with Hal Prince for "Wise Guys", a long-in-the-works musical comedy about Addison and Wilson Mizner. Though a Broadway production starring Nathan Lane and Victor Garber and directed by Sam Mendes was announced for Spring 2000, [cite news|last = Bahr|first = David|url =
title = Everything's coming up Sondheim|publisher = The Advocate|date = 1999-10-12|accessdate = 2007-03-19
] the New York debut of the musical was delayed. Rechristened "Bounce" in 2003, the show was mounted at the Goodman Theatre in Chicago, and at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.. "Bounce" received disappointing reviews and never reached Broadway. A revised version of "Bounce" is scheduled to premiere off-Broadway at The Public Theater under the new name "Road Show" from October 28, 2008 through December 28, 2008.

Regarding whether he had any interest in writing new work, Sondheim was quoted in a 2006 "Time Out: London" interview as saying, "No... It's age. It's a diminution of energy and the worry that there are no new ideas. It’s also an increasing lack of confidence. I’m not the only one. I’ve checked with other people. People expect more of you and you’re aware of it and you shouldn’t be." [ [ 2006 Sondheim feature,] London] In December 2007, however, Sondheim said that, along with continued work on "Bounce", he was "nibbling at a couple of things with John Weidman and James Lapine." [ [ 2007 Interview: Stephen Sondheim for "Sweeney Todd",]]

According to a 2008 interview with "", he is currently working on a book of annotations of his lyrics. Sondheim said "It's going to be long. I'm not, by nature, a prose writer, but I'm literate, and I have a couple of people who are vetting it for me, whom I trust, who are excellent prose writers." [Haun, Harry. [ "Exclusive! Sondheim Explains Evolution from Bounce to Road Show",], August 12, 2008] [Gardner, Elysa. [ "Sondheim sounds off about writing songs",] "USA oday", October 9, 2008]

In Conversation with Frank Rich

In March 2008, Sondheim and Frank Rich of the "New York Times" appeared in four interviews/conversations in California [ [ UCSB listing] ] [ [ UCLA listing] ] [ [ Rich schedule] ] and Portland, Oregon [ [ Portland listing] ] titled "A Little Night Conversation with Stephen Sondheim". [ [ "Vanity Fair" article about the talks, March 2008] ] [ [ "Santa Barbara Independent", Interview with Sondheim about the talks, March 6, 2008] ]

In September 2008, they appeared at Oberlin College in Oberlin, Ohio. The "Cleveland Jewish News" reported on the Oberlin event, writing: "Sondheim said: 'Movies are photographs; the stage is larger than life.' What musicals does Sondheim admire the most? "Porgy and Bess" tops a list which includes "Carousel," "She Loves Me," and "The Wiz," which he saw six times. Sondheim took a dim view of today’s musicals. What works now, he said, are musicals that are easy to take; audiences don’t want to be challenged." [ [ Oberlin listing] ] [Heller, Fran. [ "Sondheim scores a hit at Oberlin College",] Cleveland Jewish News article October 10, 2008]

An earlier "conversation" took place on April 28,2002 during the Sondheim Celebration at the Kennedy Center. [ [ Kennedy Center Sondheim Celebration] ] [ [ Sondheim Guide listing for Kennedy Center Celebration, 2002] ]

Work away from Broadway

Sondheim's mature career has been varied, encompassing much beyond composition of musicals.

An avid fan of games, in 1968 and 1969 Sondheim published a series of cryptic crossword puzzles in "New York" magazine. (In 1987, "Time" referred to his love of puzzlemaking as "legendary in theater circles," adding that the central character in Anthony Shaffer's hit play "Sleuth" was inspired by Sondheim. That the show was given the working title "Who's Afraid of Stephen Sondheim?" is an urban legend. In a "New York Times" interview on March 10, 1996, Shaffer denied ever using the title, and Sondheim speculated that it was the invention of producer Morton Gottlieb.) He parlayed this talent into a film script, written with longtime friend Anthony Perkins, called "The Last of Sheila". The 1973 film, directed by Herbert Ross, starred Dyan Cannon, Raquel Welch, Richard Benjamin, and others.

He tried his hand at writing one more time - in 1996 he collaborated on a play called "Getting Away with Murder". It was not a success, and the Broadway production closed after 29 previews and 17 performances.

His compositional efforts have included a number of film scores, notably a set of songs written for Warren Beatty's 1990 film version of "Dick Tracy"; one song, "Sooner or Later (I Always Get My Man)" (as performed by Madonna), won Sondheim an Academy Award.

Major works

Unless otherwise noted, music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim.
*"Saturday Night" (1954, though unproduced until 1997) (book by Julius J. Epstein and Philip G. Epstein)
*"West Side Story" (1957) (music by Leonard Bernstein; book by Arthur Laurents; directed by Jerome Robbins)
*"" (1959) (music by Jule Styne; book by Arthur Laurents; directed by Jerome Robbins)
*"A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum" (1962) (book by Burt Shevelove and Larry Gelbart; directed by George Abbott)
*"Anyone Can Whistle" (1964) (book by Arthur Laurents; directed by Arthur Laurents)
*"Do I Hear a Waltz?" (1965) (music by Richard Rodgers; book by Arthur Laurents; directed by John Dexter)
*"Company" (1970) (book by George Furth; directed by Hal Prince)
*"Follies" (1971) (book by James Goldman; directed by Hal Prince)
*"A Little Night Music" (1973) (book by Hugh Wheeler; directed by Hal Prince)
*"Pacific Overtures" (1976) (book by John Weidman; directed by Hal Prince)
*"Sweeney Todd" (1979) (book by Hugh Wheeler; directed by Hal Prince)
*"Merrily We Roll Along" (1981) (book by George Furth; directed by Hal Prince)
*"Sunday in the Park with George" (1984) (book by James Lapine; directed by James Lapine)
*"Into the Woods" (1987) (book by James Lapine; directed by James Lapine)
*"Assassins" (1990) (book by John Weidman; directed by Jerry Zaks)
*"Passion" (1994) (book by James Lapine; directed by James Lapine)
*"Bounce" (2003) (book by John Weidman; directed by Hal Prince)
*"The Frogs" - Second version (2004) (revised book by Nathan Lane, from Burt Shevelove's 1974 book. Contains seven new songs)

"Side By Side By Sondheim" (1976), "Marry Me A Little" (1980), "You're Gonna Love Tomorrow" (1983) and "Putting It Together" (1993) are anthologies or revues of Sondheim's work as composer and lyricist, featuring both produced songs and songs cut from productions.

Minor works


*"Girls of Summer" (1956) (incidental music by Sondheim; play by N. Richard Nash)
*"Invitation to a March" (1960) (incidental music by Sondheim; play by Arthur Laurents)
*"The World of Jules Feiffer" (1962) (incidental music by Sondheim; sketches by Jules Feiffer)
*"Hot Spot" (1963) (music mostly by Mary Rodgers; lyrics mostly by Martin Charnin)
*"The Enclave" (1973) (incidental music to the play by Arthur Laurents)
*"The Mad Show" (1966) (music mostly by Mary Rodgers; lyrics mostly by Marshall Barer) wrote the lyric for "The Boy From...", a parody of "The Girl from Ipanema."
*"Candide" - Second Version (1974) (new lyrics by Sondheim; original lyrics by Richard Wilbur; music by Leonard Bernstein; Book by Hugh Wheeler)
*"The Frogs" (1974), a musical version of Aristophanes' comedy with a book by Burt Shevelove. Performed in the Yale University swimming pool.
*"Getting Away With Murder" (1996), a "comedy thriller" (non-musical play), co-written with George Furth.
*"King Lear" (2007), incidental music for a Public Theater production of the Shakespeare tragedy, composed with orchestrator Michael Starobin. The production was directed by James Lapine and starred Kevin Kline.

Film and TV

*"Topper" (circa 1953), a non-musical television comedy series for which Sondheim wrote about ten episodes.
*"Evening Primrose" (1966), a made-for-TV musical about a secret society of people living in department stores and the romance between Ella, a department store denizen, and Charles, a poet who decides to live in the department store after renouncing the world. Four songs, including the cabaret standard "Take Me To The World" and the well-loved, if lesser-known, ballad "I Remember".
*"The Last of Sheila" (1973), a nonmusical film mystery written with Anthony Perkins. Perkins and Sondheim received a 1974 Edgar Award from the Mystery Writers of America for Best Motion Picture Screenplay.
*Sondheim appears in the 1974 PBS television version of the play "June Moon" by George S. Kaufman and Ring Lardner. In the film, Sondheim plays a wise-cracking pianist named Maxie Schwartz.
*"The Madam's Song", also called "I Never Do Anything Twice", for the film "The Seven-Per-Cent Solution" (1976).
*The score for Alain Resnais's film "Stavisky" (1974).
*Music for the film "Reds" starring Warren Beatty (1981), including the song "Goodbye For Now."
*Five songs for Warren Beatty's film "Dick Tracy" (1990), including "Sooner or Later (I Always Get My Man)", which won the Academy Award for Best Song.
*Two songs for the film "The Birdcage" (1996) "It Takes All Kinds" (not used) and "Little Dream".
*Cameo as himself in the 2003 film "Camp".
*Sondheim had a bit part on "The Simpsons" episode "Yokel Chords" as himself (2007).
*"Sweeney Todd", (2007) a movie adaptation of the stage work, made with Sondheim's participation and approval, was directed by Tim Burton, featuring a largely-nonmusical cast of actors led by Johnny Depp (who was nominated for an Academy Award as Best Actor). Running time: 116 minutes. All choral numbers were cut in order to focus more on the primary characters. The movie, in the USA and abroad, grossed over $150 million.

Awards and recognition

*Hutchinson Prize for Music Composition
*Grammy Awards, "Sweeney Todd" (1979); "Send in the Clowns" Song of the Year (1976)
*Elected to The American Academy of Arts and Letters (1983)
*Pulitzer Prize in Drama, "Sunday in the Park with George" (1985)
*Academy Award for Best Song, "Sooner or Later (I Always Get My Man)" from "Dick Tracy" (1990)
*Kennedy Center Honors, Lifetime Achievement, (1993)
*Multiple Drama Desk Awards and other smaller awards for his Off Broadway productions

*Tony Awards
**"Company" (1971, Best Score, Best Lyrics)
**"Follies" (1972, Best Score)
**"A Little Night Music" (1973 Best Score)
**"Sweeney Todd" (1979, Best Score)
**"Into The Woods" (1988, Best Score)
**"Passion" (1994 Best Score)
**Special Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre (2008)

###@@@KEY@@@### succession box
title=Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Lyrics
for "Sweeney Todd"
before=Carol Hall
for "The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas"
after=Tim Rice
for "Evita"
succession box
title=Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Music
for "Sweeney Todd"
before=Carol Hall
for "The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas"
after=Andrew Lloyd Webber
for "Evita"
succession box
title=Special Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre
before=Harold Prince


;Young PlaywrightsThis organization, founded by Sondheim in 1981, is intended to introduce young people to writing for the theater. He is the Executive Vice President. [ [ Young Playwrights site] ] ;The Stephen Sondheim Center for the Performing ArtsThe Stephen Sondheim Center for the Performing Arts opened December 7-9, 2007, located at the Fairfield Arts & Convention Center in Fairfield, Iowa. The Center opened with performances from seven notable Broadway performers, including Len Cariou, Liz Callaway and Richard Kind, all of whom had taken part in the musicals of Sondheim. [ [ article, Near Cornfields Worthy of Hammerstein, a Theatre Named for Sondheim Rises in Midwest, May 31,2007] ] [ [ article, Original Cast Members Fete Sondheim at New Midwest Arts Center Dec. 7-9, December 4, 2007] ] The center is the first one in the world named after him.

;MediaIn 1993 [ The Stephen Sondheim Society] was set up to promote and provide information about the works of Stephen Sondheim. "The Sondheim Review" is a quarterly magazine totally devoted to Sondheim's work. [ [ Sondheim Review magazine] ] Most of the episode titles from the popular television series "Desperate Housewives" reference his work in some way, through the use of either song titles or lyrics. [Hetrick, Adam. [ "Tomlin to Join Fifth Season of 'Desperate Housewives'",], September 12, 2008] ] [ [ Episode list, "Desperate Housewives", IMDB] ] [Widdicombe, Ben. Gossip, "Daily News (New York)", March 23, 2005, p. 22; "Desperate Housewives" writer Marc Cherry, who congratulated Sondheim in a filmed statement, admitted the composer was such an inspiration that each episode of his blockbuster show is named after a Sondheim song."] [Chang, Justin. "Variety", "Sondheim, Streisand infuse Wisteria Lane", December 20–26, 2004, p. 8; "Broadway-literate fans may have noticed the skein's first three post-pilot episodes... are all named after classic Stephen Sondheim showtunes...."]

;Musical Theatre DevelopmentIn 1990, Sondheim took the Cameron Mackintosh chair in musical theatre at Oxford, and in this capacity ran workshops with promising writers of musicals, such as George Stiles, Anthony Drewe, Andrew Peggie, Paul James and others. These writers jointly set up the Mercury Workshop in 1992, which eventually merged with the New Musicals Alliance to become [ MMD] , a UK-based organisation developing new musical theatre, of which Sondheim continues to be patron.

;The Sondheim AwardThe Signature Theatre, Arlington, Virginia, has announced a new award, "The Sondheim Award", "as a tribute to America's most influential contemporary musical theatre composer." The first award will be presented at a gala fund-raiser in April 2009. Sondheim himself will be the first recipient of the award, which also includes a $5000 honorarium for the recipients' choice of a nonprofit organization. [Jones, Kenneth. [ "Signature Creates Sondheim Award, to Be Presented at April 2009 Gala",], October 6, 2008] [Horwitz, Jane. [ "Backstage" column] "Washington Post", October 8, 2008]

ee also

*Assassinations in fiction
*The Sondheim Review



* Gottfried, Martin. "Sondheim". New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 1993.
* Secrest, Meryle. "Stephen Sondheim: A Life". New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1998.
* Zadan, Craig. "Sondheim & Co". (2nd ed.). New York: Harper & Row, 1986.

External links

* [ The Stephen Sondheim Society] Web site of The Stephen Sondheim Society
* [ Stephen] [ Sondheim] at the Internet Broadway and Movie Databases
* [ MusicalTalk Podcast] featuring interview with Sondheim, Depp, Burton, Rickman, Carter and others.
* [ MusicalTalk Podcast discussing] the concert production of "Sweeney Todd" held at the Royal Festival Hall in the summer of 2007 in London. This episode features Emma Williams who along with being a MusicalTalk presenter, also starred as Johanna for this concert.
* [ MusicalTalk Podcast] with an in depth introduction to the work of Stephen Sondheim
* [ The Quotable Stephen Sondheim Page]
* [ Stephen Sondheim online-with Finishing The Chat]
* [ The Stephen Sondheim Reference Guide] Comprehensive listings of productions and recordings information
* [ "Fresh Air" NPR radio interview] with Sondheim from 2000 (20 minutes, streaming audio)
* [ Kennedy Center interview] with Sondheim, conducted by Frank Rich in 2002 (90 minutes, streaming video)
* [ Stephen Sondheim Center for Performing Arts]
* [ MMD - developing new musical theatre with Sondheim as patron]
* [ Stephen Sondheim Podcast produced by Sony BMG Masterworks]
* [ News article "Sondheim 'Story So Far' available 9/30, including previously unreleased tracks"] ,

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  • Stephen Sondheim Center for the Performing Arts — The Stephen Sondheim Center for the Performing Arts, opened December 7 10, 2007, located with the Fairfield Arts Convention Center in Fairfield, Iowa. The Center opened with 7 notable Broadway stars, including Liz Callaway and Richard Kind, all… …   Wikipedia

  • Stephen Sondheim — noun United States composer of musicals (born in 1930) • Syn: ↑Sondheim • Instance Hypernyms: ↑composer …   Useful english dictionary

  • The Stephen Sondheim Society — The Stephen Sondheim Society, founded in 1993, exists to promote the works of Stephen Sondheim in the UK and elsewhere, and to create a greater interest and appreciation of them by means of circulating information and providing a focal point… …   Wikipedia

  • SONDHEIM, STEPHEN — (Joshua) (1930– ), U.S. composer and lyricist born in New York. His meeting with his neighbor oscar hammerstein II in Pennsylvania (where he moved with his mother) led him to write lyrics for stage shows. Winning the Hutchinson Prize for music at …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • Sondheim — steht für: Sondheim vor der Rhön, Gemeinde im Landkreis Rhön Grabfeld, Bayern, Deutschland Sondheim im Grabfeld, Ortsteil von Mellrichstadt, Landkreis Rhön Grabfeld, Bayern, Deutschland Sondheim (Homberg), Stadtteil von Homberg (Efze), Schwalm… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Sondheim (surname) — Sondheim is a surname, and may refer to:* Alan Sondheim (21st century), American poet and critic * Stephen Sondheim (born 1930), American stage musical and film composer and lyricist …   Wikipedia

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