Stephen Sondheim (March 22, 1930 - ..)
Born: 22nd March, 1930
Nationality: American
Profession/Occupation: Composer
Region: New York City, New York, "West Side Story", "Sooner or Later (I Always Get My Man)", "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum", "Gypsy", "Sunday in the Park with George", "Company"
Notable works: Presidential Medal of Freedom, Praemium Imperiale, Grammy Award, Academy Award

Stephen Sondheim Facts

Biography

Stephen Sondheim, in full Stephen Joshua Sondheim, (born March 22, 1930, New York City, New York, U.S.), American composer and lyricist whose brilliance in matching words and music in dramatic situations broke new ground for Broadway musical theatre.

Precocious as a child, Sondheim showed an early musical aptitude among other wide-ranging interests. He studied piano and organ, and at age 15 he wrote a musical at George School in Bucks county, Pennsylvania. Under the tutelage of a family friend, Oscar Hammerstein II, he studied musical theatre. He also studied music at Williams College, Williamstown, Massachusetts, and wrote college shows there. When he graduated in 1950, he received the Hutchinson Prize for composition, a fellowship. He then studied further in New York City with the composer Milton Babbitt.

In the early 1950s Sondheim wrote scripts in Hollywood for the television series Topper. After returning to New York City, he wrote incidental music for the play The Girls of Summer (1956). He made his first significant mark on Broadway, though, as the lyricist for Leonard Bernstein's West Side Story, which opened in 1957. He then wrote the lyrics for Gypsy (1959; music by Jule Styne).

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum--based on comedies by the Roman playwright Plautus--opened on Broadway in 1962, with music and lyrics by Sondheim. It ran for 964 performances and won the Tony Award for best musical. Two years later, however, his Anyone Can Whistle closed after only nine performances.

After contributing lyrics to Do I Hear a Waltz? (1965; music by Richard Rodgers), Sondheim focused solely on shows in which he wrote both music and lyrics. He won Tony Awards for best score for Company (1970), on contemporary marriage and bachelorhood; Follies (1971), a tribute to early 20th-century Broadway that includes many pastiche songs; A Little Night Music (1973; film 1977), based on Ingmar Bergman's film Smiles of a Summer Night (1955); and Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (1979; film 2007), a macabre tale set in Victorian-era London. All were either produced or directed by Harold Prince, as were Pacific Overtures (1976), in which Sondheim looked to Japanese Kabuki theatre for stylized effects, and Merrily We Roll Along (1981), adapted from a 1934 play by George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart.

Sondheim next collaborated with playwright-director James Lapine to create Sunday in the Park with George (1984), a musical inspired by the painting Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte by pointillist Georges Seurat. Sondheim and Lapine paired again for Into the Woods (1987; film 2014), which deconstructs and interweaves the plots of familiar fairy tales, and Passion (1994), a melodramatic romance based on the Italian film Passione d'amore (1981). Both shows won the Tony Award for best score. Assassins (1990) explores the lives of nine historical characters, such as John Wilkes Booth, who either assassinated U.S. presidents or attempted to do so. Later Sondheim works include Bounce (2003; retitled Road Show in 2008), about the colourful adventures of a pair of early 20th-century American entrepreneurs.

Sondheim's acerbic lyrics hit responsive chords with many theatregoers. Most critics agree that his work marked a break from more traditional and sentimental musical comedies of the earlier decades of the century. Several revues of his work were staged, among them Side by Side by Sondheim (1976), Putting It Together (1992), and Sondheim on Sondheim (2010). In 2000 he received the Japan Art Association's Praemium Imperiale prize for theatre/film, and in 2008 he was honoured with a special Tony Award for lifetime achievement in the theatre. The book Finishing the Hat (2010) is a collection of Sondheim's lyrics, with his own commentaries on them.

Sondheim, an enthusiast for games and puzzles, cowrote two nonmusical mysteries: the film The Last of Sheila (1973), with Anthony Perkins, and the play Getting Away with Murder (1996), with George Furth. He also notably wrote five songs for the movie Dick Tracy (1990), winning an Academy Award for "Sooner or Later (I Always Get My Man)." The HBO documentary Six by Sondheim (2013) chronicled his life and artistic process. In 2015 he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Top 69 Stephen Sondheim quotes

Nowadays, there are sometimes more producers than there are people in the cast, because it takes that much money to put a show on.
Because
Cast
Money
More
Much
Nowadays
People
Producers
Put
Show
Sometimes
Takes
Than
I prefer neurotic people. I like to hear rumblings beneath the surface.
Beneath
Hear
Like
Neurotic
People
Prefer
Surface
One difference between poetry and lyrics is that lyrics sort of fade into the background. They fade on the page and live on the stage when set to music.
Background
Between
Difference
Fade
Live
Lyrics
Music
Page
Poetry
Set
Sort
Stage
Everyone I used to play with has either given up or is dead.
Dead
Either
Everyone
Given
Play
Up
Used
After the Rodgers and Hammerstein revolution, songs became part of the story, as opposed to just entertainments in between comedy scenes.
After
Became
Between
Comedy
Hammerstein
In-between
Just
Opposed
Part
Revolution
Scenes
Songs
Story
There's something inimical about the camera and song.
About
Camera
Something
Song
Musicals are, by nature, theatrical, meaning poetic, meaning having to move the audience's imagination and create a suspension of disbelief, by which I mean there's no fourth wall.
Audience
Create
Disbelief
Fourth
Having
Imagination
Mean
Meaning
Move
Musicals
Nature
Poetic
Suspension
Theatrical
The movie adaptations of stage musicals that I've seen, without exception, in my opinion don't work. A lot of people would disagree with me.
Adaptation
Disagree
Exception
In my opinion
Lot
Me
Movie
Musicals
Opinion
People
Seen
Stage
Without
Work
A close-up on screen can say all a song can.
Close-up
On-screen
Say
Screen
Song
If people have split views about your work, I think it's flattering. I'd rather have them feel something about it than dismiss it.
About
Dismiss
Feel
Flattering
I think
People
Rather
Something
Split
Than
Them
Think
Views
Work
All the best performers bring to their role something more, something different than what the author put on paper. That's what makes theatre live. That's why it persists.
Author
Best
Bring
Different
Live
Makes
More
Paper
Performers
Persists
Put
Role
Something
Than
Generally, the best recording is the original cast, because that's the way the piece grew: integrally, with them.
Because
Best
Cast
Generally
Grew
Original
Piece
Recording
Them
Way
I played the organ when I went to military school, when I was 10. They had a huge organ, the second-largest pipe organ in New York State. I loved all the buttons and the gadgets. I've always been a gadget man.
Always
Been
Buttons
Gadget
Gadgets
Had
Huge
Loved
Man
Military
Military school
New
New york
New york state
Math and music are intimately related. Not necessarily on a conscious level, but sure.
Conscious
Level
Math
Music
Necessarily
Related
Sure
Art, in itself, is an attempt to bring order out of chaos.
Art
Attempt
Bring
Chaos
Itself
Out
The nice thing about doing a crossword puzzle is, you know there is a solution.
About
Crossword
Doing
Know
Nice
Nice thing
Puzzle
Solution
Thing
You
I fell into lyric writing because of music. I backed into it.
Backed
Because
Fell
Lyric
Music
Writing
I would have been a geologist.
Been
Geologist
Would
Oscar Hammerstein was a surrogate father during all those many days, and weeks and months when I didn't see my own father.
Days
Father
Hammerstein
Many
Months
My own
Oscar
Own
See
Surrogate
Those
Weeks
My mother wanted me off her hands. She was a working woman. She designed clothes, and she was a celebrity collector. It's my mother's ambition to be a celebrity.
Ambition
Celebrity
Clothes
Collector
Designed
Hands
Her
Me
Mother
Off
She
Wanted
Woman
Working
Lyrics have to be underwritten. That's why poets generally make poor lyric writers because the language is too rich. You get drowned in it.
Because
Drowned
Generally
Get
Language
Lyric
Lyrics
Make
Poets
Poor
Rich
Too
Why
Writers
I firmly believe lyrics have to breathe and give the audience's ear a chance to understand what's going on. Particularly in the theater, where you have costume, story, acting, orchestra.
Acting
Audience
Believe
Breathe
Chance
Costume
Ear
Firmly
Give
Going
Lyrics
Orchestra
Particularly
Story
Gotta watch out for directors.
Directors
Gotta
Out
Watch
By the time I was 22, I was a professional. A young and flawed professional, but not an amateur.
Amateur
By the time
Flawed
Time
Young
Musicals are plays, but the last collaborator is your audience, so you've got to wait 'til the last collaborator comes in before you can complete the collaboration.
Audience
Before
Collaboration
Collaborator
Complete
Got
Last
Musicals
Plays
Wait
You
Your
When the audience comes in, it changes the temperature of what you've written.
Audience
Changes
Temperature
Written
You
When you know your cast well and their strengths and weaknesses, you can start writing for them, just the way Shakespeare wrote for his actors.
Actor
Cast
His
Just
Know
Shakespeare
Start
Strengths
Them
Way
Weaknesses
Well
Writing
Wrote
I really don't want to write a score until the whole show is cast and staged.
Cast
Really
Score
Show
Staged
Until
Want
Whole
Write
So many good songs get written fast, because you know exactly what has to work.
Because
Exactly
Exactly what
Fast
Get
Good
Know
Many
Songs
Work
Written
You
The more restrictions you have, the easier anything is to write.
Anything
Easier
More
Restrictions
Write
You
In the Rodgers and Hammerstein generation, popular hits came out of shows and movies.
Came
Generation
Hammerstein
Hits
Movies
Out
Popular
Shows
I don't listen to recordings of my songs. I don't avoid it, I just don't go out of my way to do it.
Avoid
Go
Just
Listen
Out
Recordings
Songs
Way
One of the hardest things about writing lyrics is to make the lyrics sit on the music in such a way that you're not aware there was a writer there.
About
Aware
Hardest
Lyrics
Make
Music
Sit
Such a way
Things
Way
Writer
Writing
You
If you're dealing with a musical in which you're trying to tell a story, it's got to sound like speech. At the same time it's got to be a song.
Dealing
Got
Like
Musical
Same
Same time
Song
Sound
Speech
Story
Tell
Time
Trying
Which
Every writer I've ever spoken to feels fraudulent in some way or other.
Ever
Every
Feels
Fraudulent
Other
Some
Spoken
Way
Writer
The worst thing you can do is censor yourself as the pencil hits the paper. You must not edit until you get it all on paper. If you can put everything down, stream-of-consciousness, you'll do yourself a service.
Censor
Down
Edit
Everything
Get
Hits
Must
Paper
Pencil
Put
Service
Thing
Until
Worst
You can't have personal investors anymore because it's too expensive, so you have to have corporate investment or a lot of rich people.
Anymore
Because
Corporate
Expensive
Investment
Investors
Lot
People
Personal
Rich
Rich people
Too
You
The dumbing down of the country reflects itself on Broadway. The shows get dumber, and the public gets used to them.
Broadway
Country
Down
Dumber
Get
Gets
Itself
Public
Reflects
Shows
Them
Used
When I was growing up, there was no such thing as Off-Broadway. You either got your show on or you didn't.
Either
Got
Growing
Growing up
Show
Thing
Up
You
Your
My personal life and my artistic life do not interfere with each other.
Artistic
Each
Interfere
Life
Other
Personal
Personal life
Musical comedies aren't written, they are rewritten.
Comedies
Musical
Rewritten
Written
I chose and my world was shaken. So what? The choice may have been mistaken; the choosing was not. You have to move on.
Been
Choice
Choosing
Chose
May
Mistaken
Move
Move on
Shaken
World
You
I was raised to be charming, not sincere.
Charming
I was raised
Raised
Sincere
Nice is different than good.
Different
Good
Nice
Than
The fact is popular art dates. It grows quaint. How many people feel strongly about Gilbert and Sullivan today compared to those who felt strongly in 1890?
About
Art
Compared
Dates
Fact
Feel
Felt
Grows
How
How many people
Many
People
Popular
Strongly
My idea of heaven is not writing.
Heaven
Idea
Writing
On stage, generally speaking, the story is stopped or held back by songs, because that's the convention. Audiences enjoy the song and the singer, that's the point.
Audiences
Back
Because
Convention
Enjoy
Generally
Held
Point
Singer
Song
Songs
Speaking
Stage
Stopped
I'm interested in the theater because I'm interested in communication with audiences. Otherwise I would be in concert music.
Audiences
Because
Communication
Concert
Interested
Music
Otherwise
Theater
Would
Would-be
I love the theater as much as music, and the whole idea of getting across to an audience and making them laugh, making them cry - just making them feel - is paramount to me.
Across
Audience
Cry
Feel
Getting
I love
Idea
Just
Laugh
Love
Making
Me
Much
Music
I think 'lunch' is one of the funniest words in the world.
Funniest
I think
Lunch
Think
Words
World

Stephen Sondheim essays

Explore Related Essays
Analyzing marketing opportunities
Marketing has often been identified in conditions of gratifying customers needs and would like critics however maintain that marketing goes beyond that and creates needs and needs that did not exist before. Relating to these critics, marketers encourage consumers to spend additional money than they have to on goods and services they actually don't need. Marketing was described by the American Marketing association Table of Directors as "Marketing is the activity,..
Analyzing the affordable health care act health and social treatment essay
Healthcare is undeniably one of the very most fundamental necessities vital to the maintenance of someone's healthy physical express. While excellent healthcare services are available in america, its gain access to is interestingly impenetrable for the majority of the populace. Besides its extended soaring costs, the syndication of healthcare services is principally executed through health insurance coverage. Regarding to a report commissioned by the buyer health..
Boston consulting group matrix (bcg) explained
The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) growth-share matrix is an extremely vital addition in marketing or tactical management. The Boston Matrix developed by Bruce Henderson in the first 70s of the Boston Consulting Group. Even thou taking into consideration the flaws in the model, the Boston Consulting Group model is one of the most famous portfolio management tool integrated in product life pattern theory. It provides effective direction towards resource distribution. The..
Carbon and nitrogen cycles: style of chemical cycling
The general style of nutrient cycling shows the key reservoirs associated with both carbon and nitrogen cycles. Most nutrients gather in four reservoirs, each which is described by two attributes: whether it includes organic or inorganic subject and whether or not the matter is immediately accessible for use by organisms. One section of organic and natural materials is comprised of the living organisms themselves and detritus; these nutrients can be found to other organisms..
Devadasi system in india
Commonly known as 'dance girls' or 'temple ladies' is a system that has come directly into existence for more than thousand years. When the fantastic tamil kings owned by the erstwhile Chola, Chera and Pandya Kings built huge temples for his or her gods, they noticed that there is a need to keep up these temples in an effective way and thus need full time devotees to take care of the diety and the temple premises. One other angle directed at creating Huge temples are to safeguard the..
Distributed systems definitions
Distributed Systems: There is always compromise whenever we use sent out systems. Being truly a distributed systems knowledge means knowing the best bargain to make. There is not any global clock. Distributed systems classification: A sent out systems is thought as a collection of independent personal computers that appears to its users as solitary coherent system. Software systems that operate on more than one computer Internet, Intranet. Mobile computing,..
Media role in elections
During the pre-election, the election prospects usually will choose appropriate marketing as their tools to disseminate their asserted assertions of future's government policies and to convey the best way to improve the citizen's living. In addition, it a tool to getting the ruling vitality from opposition celebrations, which might sway the voters' decision of balloting. This manual offers a simple description of a fresh method of producing journalistic skills for elections,..
Of mice and men american dream essay
One of the most interesting literature works that students have to read during their studies at high school is Of mice and Men, which is a masterpiece of an outstanding writer known as Steinback John. Together with reading this piece of classic literature students usually need to provide an analysis in a form of essay, like writing Of mice and men American dream essay. As a rule, the main purpose of such analysis is to enlighten the meaning of an American dream, the way how the main..
Sickle cell anemia: treatment and effects
Sickle cell anemia can be an inherited genetic blood vessels disorder characterized by bouts of intense pain, organ destruction, infection, depleted oxygen levels and at times premature death. Although it has come to be known as a disease that influences mainly people of African respectable; affliction with sickle cell anemia in addition has been seen in those individuals with ancestry stemming from parts of the center East, India, Latin America, the Mediterranean and the..
State sponsored terrorist organization
Wesley L. Metcalf Corresponding to Taylor &Swanson (2016) State, terrorism is thought as Terrorism committed by way of a national government, within its national borders and directed at its individuals and sometimes guests. The idea behind this type of terrorism is to instill dread into the country's residents to coerce them into following a new guideline of law. Status -sponsored terrorism is where state governments use terrorist categories as proxies to help expand..
Traditional personnel management and human resources management essay
Personnel management was your previous pattern in the nineteenth century prior to it advanced into human resources management. Personnel managers during that time were named "welfare officers. " Welfare officers became active in the work place due to the tough conditions that employees will be experiencing. Primarily, labor assemblage and organizational movements influenced the introduction of wellbeing officers who had been mostly feminine. Their aim..
Essay regarding we find out mark hated school
In the get started of chapter 21, all of us learn Indicate hated institution because he has not been too happy when his mom started dropping suggestions about starting school. In the environment where Mark were raised, education had not been valued as much as survival including learning how to battle and steal. From a gang of boys, he believed college was a stupidity and wanted to be a part of their "exciting life" of enduring on their own by simply leaving their particular..
The effects of mixed race on north korea dissertation
Think about having to worry regarding expressing the own concepts freely and struggling to provide your family with food. In North Korea massive levels of people are about to die while armed forces and federal government officials refuse to provide for these people, but instead chose to eliminate. A breakdown of information including the persons targeted, the punishment of the people, and exactly how genocide may be eliminated will assist you to better appreciate this serious..
Philosophy as metaphysics
Idea as Metaphysics (1)SUMMARY: Philosophy works together special types of things: the totalities. The basic features of this form of object will be their metaphysical, transcendental, and total personality. The character of such objects can determine the specificity of dialect and the methods of philosophy. The language of beliefs represents representational language; speculation is the simple method of philosophy. On the one hand, objects of this type emphasis homo..
I had been very ill as a child essay
I was very unwell as a child; which usually made me both an insider and a great outsider, with regards to the company I kept. Annually of grammar school from third grade to senior year I overlooked at least 30 days of school.While i was in 6th grade and was diagnosed with Melanoma. Rather than backing away from me, my buddies and my peers tried to be because close as it can be to me, for a couple of weeks. I was an 11 year old female with curly hair that took place to my personal waist, and so the..
The human rights act 1998 essay
The Human Privileges Act 1998 was introduced to ‘bring rights home' by the labour get together in their basic election lampante in 97 whereby conferences from ECHR were integrated in the UK home law. The act came in full actions in March 2000 following receiving royal assent in November 98. It was made to integrate a traditional civil liberties approach to protect "effective personal democracy", in the strong persuits of independence and freedom in the United..
Vygotsky's educational theory essay
Vygotsky is an important theorist in the 20th century in education. This individual has come program the theory talking about the area of proximal development and its particular application for the education of person with special needs. This theory has been practice in discovering strategies for people with intellectual challenges. But this however does not develop full support as some from the propositions in the theories have been completely criticized. In the theories..
The moral pertaining to anti abortionists essay
In this instance Marquis states that the moral for anti-abortionists is that it is "seriously incorrect to take a runner life" (Marquis 184) in addition to the eyes of those which have been pro-choice "it is only prima facie critically wrong for taking the life of a member of the human community" (Marquis 184). He understands that every case is delicate in its morals and rights since not only human beings, but persons and members of a community as well. He also..
Blindness in oedipus the king
"The blind man sees and the seeing man is blind. "To what extent is true in Oedipus the King?"To be sensible is to go through. " Throughout this enjoy we see that after Oedipus endures and manages to lose his visual acuity it is only in that case he is able to seek the truth.While we are first brought to Oedipus, he is a strong head who is thoroughly respected by the people of Thebes. "O greatest of men. " Oedipus was your saviour of Thebes 15 years before..
Back pain treatments during pregnancy: jordanian research study (including implications to get health professionals)
AbstractTarget: To explore the tactics used by Jordanian women to control back pain while pregnantDesign: an exploratory detailed designEnvironment and participants: 235 Jordanian women from the three parts of Jordan, older between 18-54 years, who had been pregnant during the study or previously had at least one complete term motherhood.Findings: There were a number of tactics used by Jordanian women in the sample to handle back pain of pregnancy, typically were non-pharmacological..
Subscribe to our updates
79 345 subscribers already with us

Related authors

Anne Rice
Anne Rice
Anne Rice, nee Howard Allen O'Brien, (born October 4, 1941, New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S.), American..
Theophile Gautier
Theophile Gautier
Theophile Gautier, byname le bon Theo, (born August 31, 1811, Tarbes, France--died October 23,..
Sam Shepard
Sam Shepard
Sam Shepard, byname of Samuel Shepard Rogers, (born November 5, 1943, Fort Sheridan, near Highland..
Hans Christian Andersen
Hans Christian Andersen
Hans Christian Andersen, (born April 2, 1805, Odense, near Copenhagen, Denmark--died August 4,..
Margaret Atwood
Margaret Atwood
Margaret Atwood, in full Margaret Eleanor Atwood, (born November 18, 1939, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada),..
Kitano Takeshi
Kitano Takeshi
Kitano Takeshi, byname Beat Takeshi, (born January 18, 1947, Tokyo, Japan), Japanese actor, director,..
Adam Mickiewicz
Adam Mickiewicz
Adam Mickiewicz, in full Adam Bernard Mickiewicz, (born December 24, 1798, Zaosye, near Nowogrodek,..
Harold Robbins
Harold Robbins
Harold Robbins, original name Harold Francis Rubin, (born May 21, 1916, New York City, New York,..
Arundhati Roy
Arundhati Roy
Arundhati Roy, full name Suzanna Arundhati Roy, (born November 24, 1961, Shillong, Meghalaya,..
Harlan Ellison
Harlan Ellison
Harlan Ellison, in full Harlan Jay Ellison, (born May 27, 1934, Cleveland, Ohio, U.S.--died June..
Anthony Trollope
Anthony Trollope
Anthony Trollope, (born April 24, 1815, London, Eng.--died Dec. 6, 1882, London), English novelist..
W.S. Merwin
W.S. Merwin
W.S. Merwin, in full William Stanley Merwin, (born September 30, 1927, New York, New York, U.S.--died..
Studs Terkel
Studs Terkel
Studs Terkel, byname of Louis Terkel, (born May 16, 1912, New York City, New York, U.S.--died October..
John Gay
John Gay
John Gay, (born June 30, 1685, Barnstaple, Devon, Eng.--died Dec. 4, 1732, London), English poet..
Marvin Hamlisch
Marvin Hamlisch
Marvin Hamlisch, in full Marvin Frederick Hamlisch, (born June 2, 1944, New York, New York, U.S.--died..
Thomas De Quincey
Thomas De Quincey
Thomas De Quincey, (born Aug. 15, 1785, Manchester, Lancashire, Eng.--died Dec. 8, 1859, Edinburgh,..
David Henry Hwang
David Henry Hwang
David Henry Hwang, (born August 11, 1957, Los Angeles, California, U.S.), American playwright,..
Margaret Fuller
Margaret Fuller
Margaret Fuller, in full Sarah Margaret Fuller, married name Marchesa Ossoli, (born May 23, 1810,..
Salman Rushdie
Salman Rushdie
Salman Rushdie, in full Sir Ahmed Salman Rushdie, (born June 19, 1947, Bombay [now Mumbai], India),..
Henrietta Szold
Henrietta Szold
Henrietta Szold, (born Dec. 21, 1860, Baltimore, Md., U.S.--died Feb. 13, 1945, Jerusalem), American..