7 Musicals To Remember Broadway Legend Stephen Sondheim By, Arts News & Top Stories

SINGAPORE – Stephen Sondheim, the songwriter who transformed the American musical, died Friday, November 26 at the age of 91.

Sondheim, whose eight lifetime Tony Awards topped any other songwriter’s total, was renowned for his wit and pun as well as his complex and versatile compositions, which were often incredibly difficult to sing.

Here are seven of his best musicals.

1. History of the West Side (1957)

Sondheim made his Broadway debut as the lyricist of this musical, which brought Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet to New York’s Upper West Side, as two cursed teenagers are caught between rival street gangs.

Many of the songs, set to music by Leonard Bernstein, have become Broadway classics, from the love duet Tonight to exuberant America, sung by Puerto Rican immigrants.

A 1961 film adaptation won 10 Oscars, the most for a musical film, while another directed by Steven Spielberg will be released next month.

2. Gypsy (1959)

Based on the memoir of strip artist Gypsy Rose Lee, this musical perfected the stage mom archetype in Rose, a domineering matron who pushes her daughters into show business but ultimately walks away from it. .

Sondheim wrote the lyrics to music by Jule Styne, and the songs here include the cheeky You Gotta Get a Gimmick and the unmistakable Rose’s Turn.

3. Company (1970)

The business revolves around a single man, Robert, whose friends are all married or engaged couples. In a series of vignettes linked by his 35th birthday, his friends try to find him a girlfriend even as they struggle with their relationships themselves.

The musical is best known for the song Being Alive, in which Robert realizes that “alone is alone, not alive”. In the Oscar-nominated divorce film Marriage Story (2019), the male protagonist, played by Adam Driver, sings the whole song in a bar.

A Broadway takeover of the company was slated to open on Sondheim’s 90th birthday last year, but has been put on hold due to the Covid-19 pandemic. It will now open next month. Sondheim attended a preview on November 15 before his death.

4. A Little Night Music (1973)

Based on Ingmar Bergman’s 1955 film Smiles of a Midsummer Night, this musical about tense romance in 1900 Sweden performs with dance time signatures, featuring the waltz, saraband, mazurka and more Again.

It contains one of Sondheim’s finest songs, Send In The Clowns, an ironic and plaintive lament about missed opportunities.

5. Sweeney Todd (1979)

In this gruesome masterpiece, a vengeful Victorian London barber works with his amoral landlady to turn his clients into meat pies, even as he seeks revenge on the judge who stole his wife and daughter from him. years ago.

Amid the bloody plot and screaming score, Sondheim’s knack for puns shines through in dark, funny songs like A Little Priest stuffed with puns, in which the pie flavors include “shepherd’s pie.” dotted with a real shepherd on top “and” actor “, who” always happens exaggerated “.

Actor Johnny Depp played the demon barber in a 2007 Tim Burton film alongside Helena Bonham Carter.

6. Sunday in the Park with George (1984)

Sondheim and his collaborator James Lapine won the Pulitzer Prize for theater in 1985 for this innovative musical about the French pointillist painter Georges Seurat and his painting, A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte.

The songs also trace the relationship between George and his longtime mistress Dot, who models for him but becomes dissatisfied with his inattention.

7. Into the woods (1987)

This dark and alluring musical subverts the Grimm brothers’ fairy tales such as Cinderella, Rapunzel, Jack and the Beanstalk and Little Red Riding Hood. Disgruntled princesses, impulsive children and a supposedly wicked witch roam the woods, their stories intertwining with that of a childless baker and his wife.

A Disney film adaptation, starring Meryl Streep, Emily Blunt, Chris Pine and more, was released in 2014.


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