Everything’s Coming Up Sondheim!

The casual observer might say that I am more than a little obsessed with musical theater. And while I in no way possess the expertise of some people I know, I can confidently say that Stephen Sondheim has made one of the (if not THE) most enormous contribution to musical theatre of the 20th century. And you, as a casual reader of CPL blogs, might not be able to name anything that Sondheim has written. And that’s OK, because I’ll bet you’ve heard of a lot of his works.

How about West Side Story? This beloved 1961 film, adapted from the 1957 musical, is based on Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet and features lyrics by Sondheim.

Or maybe when you're having an especially good run of luck you've said, "Everything's coming up roses!" Sondheim made that phrase up for the 1959 musical Gypsy, for which he wrote lyrics and which was brought to the silver screen in this 1962 adaptation. Sondheim said, "The point was to [coin] a phrase that sounded as if it had been in the language for years but was in fact invented for the show." I think he definitely succeeded.

You might also remember the 2007 film Sweeney Todd, starring Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter. Originally, the film was a 1979 musical with music and lyrics by Sondheim and is even more dark and thrilling to see live on stage.

Sondheim wrote a two-volume collection of his lyrics, Finishing the Hat and Look, I Made A Hat. The first title debuted at No. 11 on the New York Times bestseller list, proving that you don't have to be a theater buff to fall in love with Stephen Sondheim.

Sondheim's 1987 Broadway musical Into the Woods has been adapted into a film, coming to theaters on Christmas Day. Now that you know a little bit more about his works, I hope you'll anticipate it as eagerly as I am!

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