A Little Night Music -- Uark Theatre (flickr) (CC BY 2.0)
What Makes Sondheim Great
The late composer and lyricist Stephen Sondheim is one of the most influential figures in musical theater. We’ll compare his work to some of his contemporaries’ in an attempt to elucidate what makes Sondheim so great. First we’ll contrast songs from two musicals from the final years of Broadway’s Golden Age: Gypsy (1959) and Funny Girl (1964). We’ll listen to important musical numbers from each including “Don’t Rain on My Parade” and “Everything’s Coming Up Roses,” look deeply at their lyrics, learn a little about the production history of the shows, and employ some tools to think about the role of the lyricist in creating a Broadway musical. Then we will look at two “concept musicals” from the 1970s: Follies (1971) and A Chorus Line (1975), learning about their shared relationship to the history of Broadway musicals and the ways that they helped to shape Broadway’s future. Intriguingly, while Sondheim played no official role in the creation of A Chorus Line, his fingerprints are all over it. Join other musical lovers for these fast-paced presentations, full of things to look at, watch, listen to, and think about.