- Was mentored by Oscar Hammerstein II starting from around the age of ten. Hammerstein designed a course for him specifically about the composition of musical theater.
- Attended Williams College in Williamstown, MA, where his teacher Robert Barrow inspired a lifelong passion for music theory in him. He spent "a few painful years of struggle" living in his father's dining room to save money to move to Hollywood. Hammerstein told him to write four shows, which he completed by the end of his time at school.
- In 1954, Sondheim was flown out to California to write his first show, Saturday Night . Unfortunately, due to the producer's battle with leukemia, the show was not premeired until the year 2000. The first Broadway musical Sondheim wrote the lyrics for was West Side Story.
- The first musical for which Sondheim wrote both the music and lyrics was A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, which opened in 1962 and ran for 964 performances.
- From 1970 - 1981, Sondheim collaborated with Hal Prince, resulting in the production of six shows: Company, Follies, A Little Night Music, Pacific Overtures, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, and Merrily We Roll Along. The last of the group, while not having the success of its predecessors is still widely performed to this day.
- From 1984 - 1994, Sondheim collaborated with James Lapine. During this time, they released Sunday in the Park with George, Into the Woods, and Passion. The former two are among my favorite musicals ever conceived.
- Since his collaboration with Lapine, Sondheim has only released Assassins and Road Show. That said, his vast contributions in musical theater more than make up for any dormancy in his later years, and I hope he is enjoying his (relative) retirement.
List of Shows
|Year||Title of Show||Image|
|1957||West Side Story|
|1962||A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum|
|1964||Anyone Can Whistle|
|1965||Do I Hear a Waltz?|
|1973||A Little Night Music|
|1981||Merrily We Roll Along|
|1984||Sunday in the Park with George|
|1987||Into the Woods|
In February 2012 it was announced that Sondheim would collaborate on a new musical with David Ives, and he had "about 20–30 minutes of the musical completed". On October 11, 2014, it was confirmed the Sondheim and Ives musical would be based on two Luis Buñuel films (The Exterminating Angel and The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie) and would reportedly open (in previews) at the Public Theater in 2017. In August 2016, a reading for the musical was held at the Public Theater, and it was reported that only the first act was finished, which cast doubt on the speculated 2017 start of previews. The working title was reported to be Buñuel by the New York Post and other outlets, but Sondheim later clarified that this was an error and that they still had no title.
As of April 2019, a date for a musical titled Buñuel (by Sondheim and David Ives; directed by Joe Mantello) has been announced on the New York City Theatre website, beginning August 24, 2019. However, in June 2019, the Public Theatre announced that it would not be part of its 2019–2020 season, as it was still in development, but will be produced "when it is ready".