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Lecture 8

MUSIC 2TT3 Lecture Notes - Lecture 8: Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy, 3 Women, Chameleon

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Lara Housez

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Music 2TT3 Lecture 8 Company
Stephen Sondheim (b. 1930)
- What do we already know about Sondheim?
o Composer lyricist
o Hammerstein was his mentor
o Lyricist for West Side Story (1957), Gypsy (1959, composer was Jule Styne),
Saturday night (1954) both music and lyrics to his name but producer died right
- At the age of 15, Sondheim wrote his first show, By George!
- Hammerstein was Sondheim’s teacher, mentor, and surrogate father
o Hammerstein was born into privileged family while Sondheim was born into
broken family
Hammerstein teaches Sondheim
- 1) Turn a play you admire into a musical: Beggar on Horseback by George S. Kaufman
and Marc Connelly (All that Glitters)
- 2) Turned a flawed play into a musical: High Tor by Maxwell Anderson
- 3) Adapt a short story or novel (a non-theatrical form) for the musical stage: Mary
Poppins, a series of children’s books by P.L. Travers
- 4) Write an original musical: Climb High
Sondheim in the 1950s
- Attended Williams College, MA
o Intended on majoring in math but graduated with music degree
o When Sondheim graduated, he received a cash prize that he used to study
music composition with Milton Babbitt (a modernist composer)
o Babbitt trying to turn show about Helen of Troy into Broadway musical and make
it into star musical for Mary Martin
- Saturday Night (music + lyrics, shelved before reaching Broadway)
- West Side Story (lyrics only)
- Gypsy (lyrics only)
- Kern, Gershwin, Henderson, Beethoven, Mozart
Sondheim in the 1960s
- Hammerstein dies
o Sound of music is Hammerstein’s last show, Edelweiss is last song
- Sondheim starts psychoanalysis
- A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (music + lyrics)
o Sondheim’s first show with his own score (cp.51, list of Sondheim’s productions)
o longest running show, 964 performances
o 8 Tony awards
- Anyone Can Whistle (music + lyrics)
o Works with Arthur Laurents (bookwrier) , one of Sondheim’s few original musicals
o Only lasted 9 performances
o 3 act musicals (2 intermissions)
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o 3 novices as stars
o Angelo Lansbury
o Longest stretch of continuous music (13min) “Simple”
- Do I Hear a Waltz? (lyrics only)
o Richard Rodgers, Laurents
o Sondheims’ first and only nomination for lyrics, doesn’t win though
- Evening Primrose (music + lyrics, TV musical)
o Only 4 songs
o Working with James Goldman (did a show called Follies later on)
- A Pray by Brecht (lyrics only, abandoned)
o Broadway musical that started with a play by Brecht (Bertolt Brecht)
o Wrote teaching play called “The Exception of the Rule”
o Collaborates with Bernstein, Robbin and John
o Zero Mostel, Stuart Ostrow
Prince in the 1960s
- Prince already received 9 Tony awards by the end of the 1960s, either as producer or
director or combination of two
- Pulitzer prize for Drama
- Forum (producer)
- She Loves Me (producer-director)
- Fiddler on the Roof (producer)
- Flora, the Red Menace (producer)
- It’s a Bird…It’s a Plane…It’s Superman (producer director)
- Cabaret (producer-director)
- Zorba (producer-director)
- 1968-69: Fiddler, Cabaret, Zoba
The Credits for Company
- Composer-lyricist: Stephen Sondheim
o 11 year 6 show collaboration for Sondheim and Prince
- Bookwriter: George Furth
- Source: One-act plays by Furth
- Producer-director: Harold Prince
- Choreographer: Michael Bennett
- Scenic designer: Boris Aronson
- New York run: 26 April 1970 1 Jan. 1972
- Performances: 706
- Tony Awards: 14 nominations, 6 winners, including Best Musical
- Revivals: 2 Broadway revivals: 1995 (60 performances) and 2006 (246 performances)
- Robert, a 35 year old bachelor, living in present day (ca. 1970) Manhattan
- Only 10 characters, no addition chorus of dancers, very small limited cast size
- Robert’s circle of friends include 5 couples:
o Sarah and Harry
o Susan and Peter
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