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Composer and lyricist Stephen Sondheim poses for a portrait in front of a sign advertising one of his musicals

Stephen Sondheim

As a Guest

8 segments

'On Sondheim:' The Musical-Theater Legend At 80.

The New York Times calls Stephen Sondheim the "greatest and perhaps best-known artist in American musical theater." Sondheim composed the music and lyrics for, among others, Sweeney Todd, Into the Woods and Company. He joins Fresh Air to discuss his career in musical theater.


Composer and lyricist Stephen Sondheim

The Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. is in the midst of a festival of Steven Sondheim musicals. Company, Sweeney Todd and Sunday in the Park with George have already been featured. Still to be staged are A Little Night Music, Merrily We Roll Along and Passion. We rebroadcast our interview with composer and lyricist Steven Sondheim. He discusses his work on West Side Story and Gypsy, for which he wrote the lyrics, and his own musical Sweeney Todd. Sondheim learned his craft from Oscar Hammerstein, who was a neighbor and surrogate father to him. This interview first aired Nov. 10, 1988.


Composer and Lyricist Stephen Sondheim Returns to Fresh Air.

Composer and lyricist Stephen Sondheim. He was mentored by Oscar Hammerstein, and went on to revolutionize musical theatre. His first major success was writing lyrics for “West Side Story.” Sondheim wrote the lyrics for “Gypsy.” He composed the music and wrote the lyrics for “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum,” “Follies,” “A Little Night Music,” “Sweeny Todd,” “Sunday in the park with George,” and “Into the Woods.” In 1954 he wrote the musical “Saturday Night” but it wasn’t performed for 40 years. There’s a new cast recording of it.

Composer and lyricist Stephen Sondheim poses for a portrait in front of a sign advertising one of his musicals

As a Topic

17 segments

Delightful 'Six By Sondheim' Leaves You Wanting Six More

HBO's new TV special is part biography, part music-appreciation lesson and part performance piece. Critic David Bianculli says it's a superbly compiled work, overseen by two of the people most intimately familiar with the composer himself.


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