With Gail Leondar-Wright, a passionate Sondheim fan.
Stephen Sondheim, who passed away at 91 in November 2021, is generally considered to be the greatest composer and lyricist of the 20th century. As a young man he wrote lyrics for two of the most admired musicals of the Gold Age of Broadway: West Side Story and Gypsy. We’ll explore what makes his lyrics for these two shows great.
West Side Story: documenting Stephen Sondheim’s maturation
We’ll take a close look at some of his lyrics for West Side Story, which Sondheim wrote when he was just 26 years old. By examining Sondheim’s self-criticism of this early work, we will learn a bit about the standards to which he held himself and others. We will also glimpse the mature Sondheim in his lyrics for this 1957 musical.
In the series:
Mar. 20: West Side Story
Mar. 27: Gypsy and Funny Girl
We will be talking about the Broadway show rather than the movie, but if you would like to refresh your memory, watching one of the movies will do. Both the 1961 and the 2021 movie versions are available on various streaming services. You can also watch a fine High School production here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zi8thLTKvco.