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Just after Thanksgiving this past year, we lost Stephen Sondheim, the essential musical dramatist of our time, one of the greatest composers America has yet produced, and its preeminent lyricist. In Hamlet’s words, “[We] shall not look upon his like again.”
The term “legendary” is often tossed around, but in Sondheim’s case, it’s merely accurate: he helped define musical theater itself and is widely considered its founder. Over the last fifty years or so, his works have garnered 9 Tonys, 8 Grammys, an Oscar and the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. And they continue to be produced, on and off Broadway, in film, and in regional theaters and schools throughout this country and the entire globe.
A classically-trained composer, Sondheim considered himself more a playwright than a songwriter. He was as agile with words as with music, as is evident in “West Side Story,” “Gypsy,” “Company,” “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum,” “A Little Night Music,” “Merrily We Roll Along,” “Pacific Overtures,” “Sweeney Todd,” “Into the Woods,” and “Sunday in the Park with George."
In our first Sondheim meetup, we enjoyed excerpts showing his extraordinary range in style and subject. Please join us on February 5th as we continue to explore the man and his incredible music.