Stephen Sondheim

by Olivia Milch

Stephen Sondheim is known as one of the most innovative composers and lyricists of our time. From Romeo and Juliet (West Side Story) to fairy tales (Into the Woods) to Impressionism (Sunday in the Park With George), he has successfully shaped a fantastic assortment of stories into musicals filled with insight and wit.

Sondheim was profoundly influenced by Oscar Hammerstein II Rodgers and Hammerstein who was not only a musical mentor, but a father figure for the young Sondheim. Sondheim's first musical was By George, a parody. Hammerstein pronounced the work atrocious and then went over every detail of the script with Sondheim. In that one afternoon, Sondheim received some of his most essential songwriting lessons. Later, he worked professionally with such top talents as Jerome Robbins, Leonard Bernstein, Richard Rodgers, and Harold Prince.

Sondheim is a passionate game player and even writes crossword puzzles for the New York Magazine. "I'd work on computer games if I had the time," he says. A CD-ROM of Into the Woods even included a game he invented that teaches music to kids and adults.

Sondheim's career spans 5 decades and yet he says, "I don't think of retiring...I just genuinely like it [work], even when I'm having a rotten time doing it."

Page created on 3/12/2013 10:27:37 PM

Last edited 1/4/2017 10:05:23 PM

Related Links

Stephen Sondheim Stage - Mark Bakalor's premiere site on Stephen Sondheim
The Sondheim Review - is dedicated to musical theater and Stephen Sondheim
for biographical information

Extra Info

Stephen Sondheim was born on March 22, 1930.

Related Books

Author Info

"My hero is Stephen Sondheim because he has written the best songs and created the music for West Side Story and A Little Night Music. Those are my two favorites of all the musicals he has written."