Last weekend CBS Sunday Morning aired a segment about the creation of the iconic Broadway musical, Sunday in the Park with George. In the introduction it referred to the “late” Stephen Sondheim. Accepting that he is no longer with us writing extraordinary unparalleled works for the stage is still all but inconceivable.
Today, on what would have been his 92nd birthday, we celebrate the legacy and genius of the man who changed the course for musical theatre “forever.”
What better way to begin than with the song he wrote for a man’s birthday?
As a genuine original, everything Stephen Sondheim did was bold and unique. The sentiment is summed up in this rare song written for a film, The Ten Percent Solution, and later included in the Tony Award winning revue Side By Side By Sondheim.
Sondheim’s works will stand the test of time not only for the brilliance of their words and music but for the way they speak to the heart and soul inspiring generation after generation.
While many original productions were not considered successes by commercial stands, Sondheim said he only ever considered one show a failure. The again, he only wrote the lyrics for “Do I Hear A Waltz.” Still, the flawed show had at least one brilliant gem.
Stephen Sondheim saw the world in ways never imagined and asked questions stunning in their simple insight. For example, “what really happened after, ‘happily ever after?’” as he did with Into The Woods. Every song is virtually a piece of perfection that can stand alone; act one can stand on its own; but then comes “Ever After.”
His songs can lift us up and look forward to everything possible tomorrow like few other composers.
So Happy Birthday Stephen Sondheim, you may be gone but you are not, will not, cannot be forgotten.