Chapter

An Introduction to Sondheim’s Life and Art

Ethan Mordden

in On Sondheim

Published in print January 2016 | ISBN: 9780199394814
Published online January 2016 | e-ISBN: 9780199394999 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199394814.003.0001
An Introduction to Sondheim’s Life and Art

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This introductory chapter describes the life and subsequent Broadway career of American composer and lyricist Stephen Sondheim. Born into an upper-middle class family in New York, Sondheim enjoyed the privilege of private schooling, a secular worldview, and a wide cultural perspective. Growing up, Sondheim formed a strong bond with Oscar Hammerstein, who gave him the stable relationship of an appreciative “parent,” and later became his mentor. Sondheim eventually launched a career in music theatre, and later worked on play and movie scripts. By the 1960s, Sondheim began flourishing in the New York theatre world. He wrote the music and lyrics for A Funny Thing Happened On the Way To the Forum (1962) and Anyone Can Whistle (1964), in addition to West Side Story (1957) and Gypsy (1959). Some of his most celebrated works include Company (1970), Sweeney Todd (1979), and Into the Woods (1987).

Keywords: Stephen Sondheim; Oscar Hammerstein; Broadway; music theatre; Company; Sweeney Todd; Into the Woods

Chapter.  7809 words. 

Subjects: American Music

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