Such, anyway, is always my view of the human race after listening to a cast recording of a Stephen Sondheim musical, or even to just one of his ballads. And when it comes to emotions, Sondheim — more than any other composer from the Broadway songbook — is the one I trust to tell me the truth. Of course, his ever-nimble lyrics — which have made his name a byword for verbal cosmopolitanism — abound in paradoxes, puns and declarations of uncertainty, all etched into deep-burrowing grooves. But the music adds yet another layer, which often both confirms and battles with the words. Which is why it took audiences and critics so long to embrace him, and why — once they did — he assumed his rightful place on an Olympian peak that no subsequent songwriter has ever been able to ascend. My baptism into the multicolored, churning waters of a Sondheim score occurred when I was 16, on my maiden trip to New York, a place that loomed in my Southern childhood like the Emerald City of Oz. I should say here that I considered myself well-versed in musicals at that time. Original cast recordings of New York shows were still regularly spinning on turntables in middle-class American homes. Growing up in Winston-Salem, N. They exalted everyday life — which I intuited early on was always going to be messy — by giving it a rhythm and rhyme that you could belt, wail and dance to.
By Jesse Green. Act One: Bobby, the man, tries to get April, the stewardess, to come back to bed but fails. Act Three: When she accedes to his relentless importuning, he is instantly horrified. What just happened? The director in the original production, Harold Prince gets something too: a rich scene to stage; the actors, a palpable conflict to play and the subtext to inform it. They help you sympathize a little more with Bobby, even if you like him a little less. To say that he has been revered as a brilliant trickster lyricist for at least 60 years, and for 50 as a composer of singular breadth and passion, minimizes his achievement. But listening again to the 15 major stage works for which he has served as both composer and lyricist, I find myself thinking not of Sondheim the word man or of Sondheim the music man but of Sondheim the dramatist.
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He is also known for writing the lyrics for West Side Story and Gypsy The composer grew up on the Upper West Side of Manhattan and, after his parents divorced, on a farm near Doylestown, Pennsylvania. As the only child of well-to-do parents living in the San Remo on Central Park West , he was described in Meryle Secrest 's biography Stephen Sondheim: A Life as an isolated, emotionally neglected child. He later attended the New York Military Academy and George School , a private Quaker preparatory school in Bucks County, Pennsylvania where he wrote his first musical, By George,  and from which he graduated in Sondheim spent several summers at Camp Androscoggin. He traces his interest in theatre to Very Warm for May , a Broadway musical he saw when he was nine. I thought that was thrilling. When Sondheim was ten years old, his father already a distant figure had left his mother for another woman Alicia, with whom he had two sons.
Is there a hot ice cream somewhere in the Sondheim mind, is there a project that you'd like to revisit or something that you've dreamt of doing? No, no no, I can't think of any. No, my idea of a dream project is not writing. Well you know, we get into the old age problem but yeah, as you get older, when you're not hungry anymore, you get less eager to write, but on the other hand, I'm writing with a playwright named David Ives and he makes me wanna write. And what are you working on with David Ives? We're doing, I had something on the back burner which is an adaptation of a couple movies and I mentioned it and he knew the movies and that's what we're doing, we're doing that now. Can you say what the movies are?