Monday, March 22, 2010

Happy Birthday Mr. Sondheim

Today marks the 80th birthday of Stephen Sondheim. I doubt it causes much controversy any more to call him the greatest living musical theatre artist. Hell, aside from the odd Edward Albee partisan, I imagine calling him the greatest living theatre artist would not raise many eyebrows any more. He has been lucky enough to see his status go from fringe figure to great man of the theatre in his own lifetime.

I'm not going to go into a lengthy discussion of why he's the best, because others have done it far better than I. I can just say that discovering his musicals made me fall even more in love with the art form, and they've brought me great joy, intense feelings that run the gamut, and real moments of transcendence throughout my life. He's an artist, one of the great ones in theatre history, and I'm so grateful that he exists.

So if you own his cast albums, go listen to them today. If you don't, borrow and copy them from a friend, or look up Company or Follies or A Little Night Music or Sweeney Todd on youtube. It will be worth the effort.

And happy birthday, Steve. My wish is that you give us much more to hear and see. Blow out the candles.

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