Stephen Sondheim

Biography

Born: March 22, 1930; New York, NY  
According to most critics and theater historians, Stephen Sondheim (born 1930) stands among Broadway show composers and lyricists not only as the greatest of his generation but also as the only great one of his generation. Observers may debate why Broadway failed to produce consistently great writers to follow the Rodgers and Hammersteins and Lerner and Loewes of the 1940s and 1950s, but the fact remains that Sondheim clearly ranks with such Read more masters, and even with Jerome Kern, Irving Berlin, and other masters of the century's first half.

Sondheim became a protege of Hammerstein's after befriending the lyricist's son in school, but he got his first big break when he was hired to adapt Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet for Leonard Bernstein's West Side Story (1957). That show turned out to be one of the biggest hits and most memorable works of its time, and it brought many proposals for text-writing Sondheim's way --though he had always wanted to write music as well. Nevertheless, he worked with Jule Styne on Gypsy (1959), another enormous hit, and would later agree to collaborate with Richard Rodgers on the unsuccessful Do I Hear a Waltz? (1965).

Before that, however, Sondheim scored his first success as both composer and lyricist with A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (1962). It was his last hit until Company (1970), a show about contemporary life and mores that did much to revolutionize the Broadway musical and, as many of Hammerstein's 50 shows had, move it more toward serious and exotic subjects. Since that time, Sondheim's shows have been amazingly daring in terms of subject matter, with unusual musical ideas and stunningly original lyrics. But they have not always been big hits, and have marked a time in theater when Broadway show music became a marginalized art form in terms of popular culture.

Nevertheless, Sondheim's shows of the 1970s and 1980s are benchmarks of the genre: Follies (1971) brought together aging Follies girls for a look at American middle age; A Little Night Music (1973) is based on Ingmar Bergman's film Smiles of a Summer Night and contains Sondheim's sole hit song, "Send in the Clowns"; Pacific Overtures (1976) ambitiously took on the subject of Japanese-American relations; Sweeney Todd (1979) was an operetta based on the British grand guignol tale of a murderous barber; Sunday in the Park with George (1984) was a biography of impressionist painter Georges Seurat; and Into the Woods (1987) wove together children's fairy tales with the theories of psychologist Bruno Bettelheim. At this writing, Sondheim's latest show is Assassins (1991), a short piece about presidential killers. In recent years, he has turned more to films, writing songs for Madonna in Dick Tracy in 1990 and reportedly working on an original movie musical. Read less

There are 116 Stephen Sondheim recordings available.

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Works

Formats & Featured

Stephen Sondheim


MOST POPULAR WORKS
WORKS
Overture / Night Waltz (Love Takes Time)
The Glamorous Life
Now / Soon / Later
You Must Meet My Wife
Every Day A Little Death
Night Waltz
A Weekend In The Country
It Would Have Been Wonderful
Send In The Clowns
Poor Old Frederick
Send In The Clowns (reprise) / Finale
Every Day A Little Death
Night Waltz
End Credits
Overture (From "Follies")
Beautiful Girls (From "Follies")
Don't Look at Me (From "Follies")
Waiting for the Girls Upstairs (From "Follies)
Rain on the Roof (From "Follies")
Ah, Paree! (From "Follies")
Broadway Baby (from "Follies)
The Road You Didn't Take (From "Follies")
In Buddy's Eyes (From "Follies")
Who's That Woman? (From "Follies")
I'm Still Here (From "Follies")
Too Many Mornings (From "Follies")
The Right Girl (From "Follies")
One More Kiss (From "Follies")
Could I Leave You? (From "Follies")
Loveland (From "Follies")
You're Gonna Love Tomorrow/Love Will See Us Through (From "Follies")
Buddy's Blues (From "Follies")
Losing My Mind (From "Follies")
The Story of Lucy and Jessie (From "Follies")
Live, Laugh, Love (From "Follies")
Finale: Waiting for the Girls Upstairs and Beautiful Girls (Reprises) (From "Follies")
The Advantages of Floating in the Middle of the Sea (from "Pacific Overtures")
There is No Other Way (from "Pacific Overtures")
Four Black Dragons (from "Pacific Overtures")
Chrysanthemum Tea (From "Pacific Overtures")
Poems (from "Pacific Overtures")
Welcome to Kanagawa (from "Pacific Overtures")
Someone in a Tree (from "Pacific Overtures")
Please Hello (from "Pacific Overtures")
A Bowler Hat (from "Pacific Overtures")
Pretty Lady (from "Pacific Overtures")
Next (from "Pacific Overtures")
Theme (From "Stavisky")
Salon at the Claridge # 1 (From "Stavisky")
Arlette By Day (From "Stavisky")
Auto Show (From "Stavisky")
Easy Life (From "Stavisky")
Secret of Night (From "Stavisky")
Erna (From "Stavisky")
Distant Past (From "Stavisky")
Arlette By Night (From "Stavisky")
Airport At Biarritz (From "Stavisky")
Trotsky At Saint-Palais (From "Stavisky")
Montalvo at Biarritz (From "Stavisky")
Operetta (From "Stavisky")
Arlette and Stavisky (From "Stavisky")
Recent Past (From "Stavisky")
Salon at the Claridge # 2 (From "Stavisky")
Suite at the Claridge (From "Stavisky")
Old House (From "Stavisky")
Goodbye Arlette (From "Stavisky")
Hideout at Chamonix (From "Stavisky")
Erna Remembered (From "Stavisky")
The Future (From "Stavisky")
Women and Death (From "Stavisky")
Theme (From "Stavisky")
Sunday In The Park With George
No Life
Color and Light
Gossip
The Day Off
Everbody Loves Louis
Finishing The Hat
We Do Not Belong Together
Beautiful
Sunday
It's Hot Up Here
Chromolume #7 / Putting It Together
Children And Art
Lesson #8
Move On
Sunday
Sunday


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