Master Class with Stephen Sondheim
“Character is everything,” Stephen Sondheim said in a recent interview. “Take Shakespeare, it’s not the poetry that holds us, it’s the characters. What does Hamlet want? It doesn’t matter if it’s Shakespeare, where everything happens, or Chekhov, where nothing happens, it’s the characters that hold us: Hamlet, Lear, Vanya.” In a musical, the creation of a character has the additional element of song. This Master Class will offer teachers the opportunity to query Sondheim on the ways “character” shaped the melodies and lyrics of songs in Sweeney Todd, Sunday in the Park with George, and Into the Woods. It will take place in a venue full of Broadway ghosts — the original living room of the penthouse apartment that belonged to J J Shubert, one of the original Shubert producers.
Stephen Sondheim is widely acknowledged as the most important composer and lyricist in modern Broadway history. He has won an Academy Award, eight Tony Awards (more than any other composer), multiple Grammy Awards, multiple Drama Desk awards, and a Pulitzer Prize. Among other accomplishments, he wrote the music and lyrics for A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Anyone Can Whistle, Company, Follies, A Little Night Music, The Frogs, Pacific Overtures, Sweeney Todd, Merrily We Roll Along, Sunday in the Park with George, Into the Woods, Assassins, Passion, and Road Show, as well as the lyrics for West Side Story, Gypsy, and Do I Hear a Waltz?