Stephen Sondheim

Stephen Sondheim

STEPHEN SONDHEIM (1930-2021) wrote the music and lyrics for Saturday Night (1954), A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum (1962), Anyone Can Whistle (1964), Company (1970), Follies (1971), A Little Night Music (1973), The Frogs (1974), Pacific Overtures (1976), Sweeney Todd (1979), Merrily We Roll Along (1981), Sunday In The Park With George (1984), Into The Woods (1987), Assassins (1991), Passion (1994), Road Show (2008) and HERE WE ARE (2023), as well as the lyrics for West Side Story (1957), Gypsy (1959), Do I Hear A Waltz? (1965) and additional lyrics for Candide (1973). Side By Side By Sondheim (1976), Marry Me A Little (1981), You’re Gonna Love Tomorrow (1983), Putting It Together (1993/99), Moving On (2001), Sondheim On Sondheim (2010) and Old Friends (2023) are anthologies of his work as composer and lyricist. For films, he composed the scores of “Stavisky” (1974), co-composed the score for “Reds” (1981), and wrote songs for “Dick Tracy” (1990). He wrote songs for the television production “Evening Primrose” (1966), co-authored the film “The Last of Sheila” (1973) and the play Getting Away With Murder (1996) and provided incidental music for the plays The Girls of Summer (1956), Invitation To A March (1961), Twigs (1971) and The Enclave (1973).

He won the Tony Award for Best Score for Company, Follies, A Little Night Music, Sweeney Todd, Into the Woods, and Passion, all of which won the New York Drama Critics' Circle Award, as did Pacific Overtures and Sunday In The Park With George, the latter also receiving the Pulitzer Prize for Drama (1985).

Stephen Sondheim was born and raised in New York City. He graduated from Williams College, winning the Hutchinson Prize for Music Composition, after which he studied theory and composition with Milton Babbitt. He served on the Council of the Dramatists Guild, the national association of playwrights, composers and lyricists, and served as its president from 1973 to 1981. In 1983 he was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters and in 1990 was appointed the first Visiting Professor of Contemporary Theatre at Oxford University. He was awarded the Kennedy Center Honors in 1993, the National Medal of Arts in 1996, the MacDowell Medal in 2013 and the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2015. His collected lyrics with attendant essays have been published in two volumes: "Finishing the Hat" (2010) and "Look, I Made a Hat" (2011).

In 2010 the Broadway theater formerly known as Henry Miller's Theatre was renamed in his honor, and in 2019 he became the first living artist to have a theatre named in his honor on Shaftesbury Avenue when the refurbished Queen’s Theatre in London’s West End was renamed the Sondheim Theatre to commemorate his 90th birthday, by Sir Cameron Mackintosh.