scroll to top
Stuck on your essay?
Get ideas from this essay and see how your work stacks up
Word Count: 635
Stephen Sondheim - Biography Stephen Sondheim was born on 22 March 1930 the son of a wealthy New York dress manufacturer But when his parents divorced his mother moved to Bucks County Pennsylvania and young Stephen found himself in the right place at the right time A neighbour of his mothers Oscar Hammerstein II was working on a new musical called Oklahoma and it didnt take long for the adolescent boy to realise that he too was intrigued by musical theatre Although he subsequently studied composition with Milton Babbitt he chose to apply what he learned he all-or-nothing commercial hothouse of Broadway Like Hammerstein he has written the occasional pop song with Jule Styne for Tony Bennett and dabbled in films Stavisky Reds Dick Tracy but like Hammerstein he has always come back to the theatre His initial success came as a somewhat reluctant lyricist to Leonard Bernstein on West Side Story 1957 and Jule Styne on Gypsy 1959 Exciting and adventurous as those shows were in their day and for all their enduring popularity Sondheims philosophy since is encapsulated in one of his song titles I Never Do Anything Twice His first score as composer-lyricist was A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum 1962 - a show so funny few people spotted how experimental it was its still the only successful musical farce In the following three decades critics detected a Sondheim style - a fondness for the harmonic language of Ravel and Debussy a reliance on vamps and skewed harmonies to destabilise the melody a tendency to densely literate lyrics But all that said its the versatility that still impresses you couldnt swap a song from the exuberantly explosive pit-band score of Anyone Can Whistle 1964 with one of the Orientally influenced musical scenes in Pacific Overtures 1976 you couldnt mistake the neurotic pop score of Company 1970 for the elegantly ever-waltzing
@Kibin is a lifesaver for my essay right now!!
- Sandra Slivka, student @ UC Berkeley
Wow, this is the best essay help I've ever received!
- Camvu Pham, student @ U of M
If I'd known about @Kibin in college, I would have gotten much more sleep
- Jen Soust, alumni @ UCLA