Stephen SondheimStephen Sondheim (born March 22, 1930) is an American composer and lyricist of musicals.
Sondheim was born in New York City and at about the age of ten he became friends with the son of lyricist/playwright Oscar Hammerstein II, who taught Sondheim the basics of the musical when Sondheim came to him with a show he had written for a school performance. Hammerstein's reaction was negative, but he saw Sondheim's potential. As a training exercise, Hammerstein told Sondheim to write four musicals:
- A musical based on a good play (which became All That Glitters)
- A musical based on a bad play (which became High Tor)
- A musical based on an existing novel or short story not previously dramatized (which became Mary Poppins)
- An original musical (which became Climb High)
Sondheim went on to study composition with the composer Milton Babbitt. In 1954, he 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.
At the age of 25 Sondheim wrote the lyrics to West Side Story, accompanying Leonard Bernstein's music and Arthur Laurents's book. In 1959 he wrote the lyrics to the musical Gypsy, which had music by Jule Styne and a book again by Laurents. Finally in 1962 Sondheim saw a musical for which he wrote both the music and lyrics, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, open on Broadway. His next musical, Anyone Can Whistle, was a financial failure, though it has developed a cult following. He subsequently wrote lyrics only to one more show, Do I Hear a Waltz, with music by Richard Rodgers, and from then on has provided both music and lyrics to a series of critically acclaimed musicals.
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2 Minor Works
Unless otherwise noted, music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim.
Film / TV