Sunday, March 23, 2014

A Very Happy Birthday To Stephen Sondheim!

Stephen Sondheim
Yesterday was the birthday of the great Stephen Sondheim - the Broadway genius who has defined the modern American musical.

We didn't intentionally neglect Sondheim's 84th birthday. We simply didn't get around to writing about it. We're sure Stephen Sondheim wouldn't mind. He's not in the least bit vain. He's just not that kind of guy.

We're great fans of Sondheim. We've seen nearly all of his shows -- many of them two or three times or more.

His Broadway output over seven decades has been nothing less than monumental. From the fifties through the current decade one Sondheim show or another has been running on Broadway.

Here -- we'll go through his shows and place an asterik (*) next to the ones we've seen. Sondheim wrote the music and lyrics for Bounce (2003),Passion* (1994), Assassins* (1991), Into the Woods* (1987), Sunday in the Park with George* (1984), Merrily We Roll Along* (1981), Sweeney Todd* (1979), Pacific Overtures* (1976), The Frogs (1974), A Little Night Music* (1973), Follies* (1971, revised in London, 1987), Company*(1970), Anyone Can Whistle (1964), and A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum* (1962), as well as lyrics for West Side Story(1957), Gypsy* (1959), Do I Hear A Waltz? (1965), and additional lyrics for Candide (1973). Side by Side by Sondheim (1976), Marry Me A Little (1981), You're Gonna Love Tomorrow (1983), and Putting It Together (1992) are anthologies of this work as a composer and lyricist.

For films, he composed the scores of Stavisky* (1974) and Reds* (1981) and songs for Dick Tracy* (1990), for which he won an Academy Award. He also wrote songs for the television production "Evening Primrose"* (1966), co-authored the film The Last of Sheila* (1973) and the play Getting Away With Murder (1996), and provided incidental music for the plays The Girls of Summer (1956), Invitation to a March(1961), and Twigs (1971).

He won Tony Awards for Best Score for a Musical for Passion, Into the Woods, Sweeney Todd, A Little Night Music, Follies, and Company. All of these shows won the New York Drama Critics Circle Award, as did Pacific Overtures and Sunday in the Park with George, the latter also receiving the Pulitzer Prize for Drama (1985).
When it comes to Broadway, Stephen Sondheim is The Master.

No one else even comes close.

And he's not finished yet. He's reportedly working on a new musical called "All In The Timing."

Happy Birthday, Mr. Sondheim!

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