Critics and audiences have had a lot to say about Sondheim's work over the years. And good and bad it's had an effect on the success of shows and on the arc of Sondheim's overall career. In this episode we discuss those effects.
Sondheim's second Broadway musical, Gypsy, opened in 1959. With a book by Arthur Laurents and music by Jule Styne, Gypsy is considered by many to be one of the greatest musicals of all time, certainly one of the great musicals from the era of traditional musical comedy. In this episode we look at the history, content, and legacy of the show.
When Stephen Sondheim was 10 years old, he met Oscar Hammerstein II, who became a mentor and surrogate father to him. Hammerstein introduced young Sondheim to the theatre, encouraged him to write, and helped him improve what he had written. In this episode, we look at the lasting influence that Hammerstein has had on Sondheim's life and career.
Stephen Sondheim's first work to be produced on Broadway was West Side Story, which opened in 1957. Sondheim provided the lyrics for the show, set to Leonard Bernstein's music. It's still early work, and Sondheim has his regrets about it, but the show was revolutionary for the time and is still loved today. In this episode, we look at the history of West Side and what the show (and the film) have meant throughout the years.
What an audience hears is only half of the experience involved in seeing a musical. The visual component is an important element of a show and this episode, we delve into the set design of several Sondheim shows, the good, the bad, and the iconic.
Broadway is the natural habitat for Sondheim's music, but that doesn't mean it can't thrive anywhere else. In this episode, we look at the ways Sondheim songs have been brought into other genres, such as jazz, pop, and prog metal. Every artist has a different perspective, and some of those perspectives make for incredibly interesting covers.