Stephen Joshua Sondheim was a lyricist and composer from the United States. Sondheim was praised for “reinventing the American musical” with shows that tackled “unexpected themes that range far beyond the [genre’s] traditional subjects” with “music and lyrics of unprecedented complexity and sophistication,” making him one of the most important figures in 20th-century musical theater. His concerts focused on the “darker, more distressing aspects of the human experience,” with songs that were often laced with “ambivalence” concerning various facets of existence.
Herbert and Janet Sondheim, upper-middle-class parents, gave birth to Stephen Sondheim on March 22, 1930. His mother was a fashion designer and interior decorator, and his father was a dressmaker. He learned piano for two years as a child and continued to be interested in music throughout his education.
In 1942, Sondheim’s parents split, and his mother moved to Doylestown, Pennsylvania, which was close to Oscar Hammerstein II’s (1895–1960) summer home. Sondheim was able to contact the famed librettist (a person who creates the words for a musical or opera) for an opinion of his first theatrical work, a high school play created at the age of fifteen, because he was a friend of Hammerstein’s son.
Hammerstein’s scathing assessment of By George, Sondheim had begun a four-year association with George that would shape his style. Sondheim rose through the ranks of Hammerstein’s personal assistants to gain access to the world of professional theater.
Sondheim worked on the preparation and rehearsals for the Rogers and Hammerstein productions of South Pacific and The King and I while attending Williams College in Massachusetts. He got the Hutchinson Prize after graduation, which allowed him to study composition at Princeton University.
Sondheim began his professional career writing scripts for the television shows Topper and The Last Word. He also composed incidental music for the Broadway show Girls of Summer (small tunes used as background or between scenes).
Sondheim met Arthur Laurents shortly after, who suggested him to Jerome Robbins and Leonard Bernstein (1918–1990) as probable song writers for West Side Story, which premiered in 1957. The young man found himself in the middle of one of Broadway’s most successful productions. Despite the success of West Side Story, Sondheim remarked in a 2002 interview with National Public Radio (NPR) that he feels embarrassed by the lyrics he penned for the musical because of their lack of aesthetic worth.
Following this accomplishment, Sondheim worked on the Broadway production of Gypsy in 1959, establishing himself as one of America’s great young musical theater artists.
In order to extend his horizons, Sondheim sought for productions that would allow him to employ both his musical and lyrical skills. In 1962, he staged A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, a farce (broad and crude comedy) based on Plautus’ (c. 254–184 B.C.E.) comedies. The production had a nearly 1,000-performance run, won the Tony Award for Best Musical, and was adapted into a popular film in 1966. Following that, Sondheim tried his hand at two less successful projects: Anyone Can Whistle (1964) and Do I Hear a Waltz (1965). (1965). Despite the fact that both films were commercial failures, Sondheim offered high-quality tunes.
Develops his own musicals
In 1970, Sondheim produced Company, which received unanimous (unanimous) acclaim from reviewers once again. The show won the Drama Critics and Tony Honors for Best Musical of the Season, while Sondheim won awards for best composer (music writer) and best lyricist (song writer). Company, as one critic put it, “is absolutely outstanding… the most recent… in years…. This is a fantastic musical score, exactly what Broadway has been missing for a long time.”
The following year, Sondheim released Follies, a retrospective musical about the Ziegfield Follies, a big Broadway show from the 1920s. The composer combined nostalgia (fond memories of the past) from classic songs from the past with his own sentimental ballad style. For Best Musical in 1971, he received both the Drama Critics and the Outer Critics Circle Awards.
Sondheim’s extensive classical music background was on display in A Little Night Music (1973). Gustav Mahler (1860–1911), Maurice Ravel (1875–1937), Franz Liszt (1811–1886), and Sergey Rachmaninoff (1873–1943) were among the classical composers cited by critics. “Send in the Clowns,” his first commercial breakthrough song, received a Tony Award for the show.
Sondheim collaborated with Hal Prince on Pacific Overtures, earning him a reputation as a tireless (untiring, reluctant to quit) inventor (1976). Sondheim combined the unlikely elements of Haiku poetry (unrhymed verse of three lines made up of seventeen syllables), Japanese pentatonic scales (musical scales made up of only five notes), and Kabuki theater (a form of traditional classical Japanese drama) with modern stage techniques in a production that was hailed as a successful Broadway hit in an attempt to relate the westernization of Japan with the commercialized present. Sweeney Todd (1979), a melodramatic story about a barber on Fleet Street (London) who collaborated with a local baker to furnish her with enough barbershop victims for her meat pies, came next. Sweeney Todd highlighted the dark side of the nineteenth-century English social order, which was less comic than tragic.
What Was Stephen Sondheim Net Worth in 2021?
At the time of his death, Stephen Sondheim’s net worth was $19.8 million. He is a well-known songwriter and musician.
The composer had a yearly salary of $3.3 million, according to the website celeworth.net. His monthly salary would be $275,000 if he worked full-time.
Sondheim has built an empire from his 60-year career in the music industry.
Send In The Clowns, his most renowned ballad, had been recorded over a hundred times by the time he died. They’ve only aided in the expansion of his economy.
He also passed away at his multimillion-dollar Roxbury mansion.
Stephen Sondheim Dies At 91: His Wikipedia
Stephen Sondheim is an eight-time Academy Award winner, according to his Wikipedia bio.
From 1973 to 1981, he was the president of the Dramatists Guild.
In the twentieth century, the theatre genius is credited with altering American theatre music. The music used to be intricately rhymed, Stephen.
In his lyrics and composing patterns, he used evocative melodies and kept things simple.
Company, Follies, and Sweeney Todd are three of his most famous musical works.
In September 2010, the Henry Miller Theatre was renamed the Stephen Sondheim Theatre. The legend will live on in perpetuity.
Stephen Sondheim Family and Kids: Was He Married?
Sondheim was born on March 22, 1930, to a Jewish household. He is the late Herbert and Etta Janet Sondheim’s son.
His parents were well-known garment designers and makers. He grew up on Manhattan’s Upper West Side.
Jeff Scott Romley, Stephen Sondheim’s spouse, survived him. At the age of 40, he revealed his sexuality.
On December 31, 2017, the couple tied the knot for the first time. His life partner is a well-known composer and actor.