Thursday, September 28, 2006

Stephen Sondheim

The New York Times had a interesting interview on Stephen Sondheim and his early theater experiences. here

Sondheim's musicals include: Into the Woods, Sweeney Todd, A Little Night Music, Assassins and many others.

Stephen Sondheim (Birthname: Stephen Joshua Sondheim b. March 22, 1930 in New York City, New York) is a composer and lyricist for stage and screen. He is one of the few people to win an Academy Award, multiple Tony Awards, multiple Grammy Awards, and a Pulitzer Prize.

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. 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 farcical 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. The next day Sondheim came back. Hammerstein hated it. "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." more biography

Grammy Award, Sweeney Todd (1979)
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.

A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum (1963, Best Musical, Best Author of a Musical aka Book, Best Actor for Zero Mostel as "Pseudolus", Best Featured Actor for David Burns as "Senex", Best Director, Best Producer)

Company (1971, Best Musical, Best Score, Best Lyrics, Best Direction, Best Book and Best Scenic Design)

Follies (1972, Best Score, Best Direction, Best Choreography,Best Lighting Design, Best Costume Design, Best Scenic Design and Best Actress for Alexis Smith as "Phyllis Stone")

A Little Night Music (1973, Best Musical, Best Score and Best Book)

Pacific Overtures (1976, Best Scenic Design and Best Costume Design)

Sweeney Todd (1979, Best Musical, Best Book, Best Score, Best Actor for Len Cariou as "Sweeney Todd", Best Actress for Angela Lansbury as "Mrs. Lovett", Best Scenic Design, Best Costume Design and Best Direction)

Sunday In The Park With George (1984, Best Scenic Design, Best Lighting Design)
Into The Woods (1988, Best Book, Best Score, Best Actress for Joanna Gleason as "Baker's Wife")

Passion (1994, Best Musical, Best Score, Best Book, Best Actress for Donna Murphy as "Fosca")
Into the Woods (2002, Best Revival of a Musical)

Assassins (2004, Best Revival of a Musical, Best Featured Actor in a Musical, Michael Cerveris as "Booth")

Sweeney Todd (2006, Best Direction of a Musical for John Doyle, Best Orchestrations for Sarah Travis)

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