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Stephen Sondheim: From Apprentice to Master
Transcript of Stephen Sondheim: From Apprentice to Master
One based on a play he liked, but thought was flawed (High Tor)
One based on a novel or short story (Bad Tuesday)
An original musical (Climb High) None of the musicals were produced at the time, and only All that Glitters and Climb High have ever been performed. Sondheim attended Williams College, Mass. Sondheim studied Lyrics and composition under, Milton Babbit The two had a very strong teacher-pupil relationship Sondheim developed a passion for finding a formula for writing musical showtunes After leaving college, he struggled to find work 1954 - Wrote lyrics for "Saturday Night" which wasn't performed until 1997 1957 Sondheim was offered a chance to write lyrics for Leonard Bernstein's new musical, West Side Story West Side Story was a huge success, running for 732 Broadway performances The 1960's GYPSY 1962 A Funny Thing Happened on the way to the Forum Anyone Can Whistle 1964 1965 1959 Following his success, he was invited to write lyrics for Gypsy He almost turned it down, as he wanted to compose the music too - Hammerstein had to persuade him It would have been a huge mistake!!! Gypsy was a huge success
It ran for 702 Broadway performances
Nominated for 8 Tony Awards It has since won 6 for its various rivavals Based on Greek Tragedy, but given a humourous and witty twist Another massive success
Ran for 964 Broadway performances
Won 5 Tony Awards (including Best Musical - but none for Sondheim's score or lyrics Sondheim was criticised for not integrating the songs fully into the action Tells the story of citizens of a bankrupt town trying to save it The show was a disaster
Slated by critics
Closed after 9 performances But it did introduce the world to Angela Lansbury Do I Hear a Waltz? Sondheim wrote the lyrics for Richard Rodgers Another failure
Never made it to Broadway
Sondheim regretted being a part of it
He felt it was an anti-climax to Rodgers' career The 1970's Company 1970 1975 A Little Night Music By Bernstein! 1973 Pacific Overtures 1976 Sweeney Todd 1979 A series of vignettes in a non-linear structure. No through-line of plot A big hit
702 Performances on Broadway
Winning 6 Tony Awards The first Broadway musical to be written entirely in waltz time Another big hit!
Ran for 602 Broadway performances
Won 6 Tony Awards, including Best Musical And another personal Tony Award for Sondheim! Wrote lyrics for tribute show to his first employer Ambitious musical telling the story of the westernisation of Japan Praised by critics for its ambition
Audience numbers didn't reflect the critical success
Closed after 193 performances
Nominated for 10 Tony Awards, winning only Costume and Scenic Design His most dark and operatic score to date Starred Angela Lansbury as Mrs. Lovett.
Another hit - 557 Broadway performances
Nominated for 9 Tony Awards, winning 8 And another individual award for Sondheim's score 1981 - Another Failure Sondheim's "Merrily We Roll Along" fails on Broadway, closing after 16 performances Sondheim is devastated by the failure
He felt it was his best musical score to date
Sondheim becomes depressed... I'm sad He vows to quit musical theatre forever Sondheim meets an avantagarde producer called James Lapine, who convinces him to write a new musical! The 1980's Sunday in the Park with George 1984 1989 Into the Woods Assassins 1987 Based on the life of Painter, George Seurat Critical reviews were mixed
Audiences enjoyed it - it ran for 604 Performances
Was largely overlooked at the Tony Awards, only winning two for design
Sondheim won the Pulitzer Prize! Based on children's fairytales Another massive success
Ran for 765 performances on Broadway
Nominated for 10 Tony Awards, Winning 3 And another individual Tony Award for Sondheim's score! Tells the story of famous US Presidential Assassins Huge critical success off-Broadway
Never really translated into commercial succcess
Revived in 2004, winning 4 Tony Awards 1994 Sondheim writes "Passion" - his last collaboration with James Lapine Had a short run on Broadway - 280 Performances
Nominated for 10 Tony Awards, winning 4 - including Best Musical
Sondheim wins another individual Tony Award The shortest ever run for a winning Musical The Enigma Sondheim arguably hasn't had massive success since the 1970 & 80's
He is criticised for over-complicating his musical scores
But he is seen as a Broadway legend
He has a lifetime achievement Tony Award, an Oscar and a Pulitzer Prize
He even has a Broadway Theatre named after him But he hasn't created significant work since 1994 AUDIENCES LOVE SONDHEIM'S PAST, NOT HIS PRESENT