Thursday, April 1, 2010

Sondheim = Shakespeare?

I buy it. The intelligent writing, the surprising rhythms, the music inherent in both writers, the astounding characters and challenging stories and often despairing outcomes. The actor Michael Ball takes a look at Stephen Sondheim and ponders his greatness.

Sondheim has never written typical musicals – the kind made famous in the US in the 1940s and 1950s – he writes about the human condition, with layer upon layer of depth. His is musical theatre – like plays with music – not musical comedy, and there's a big difference. It's also why his legacy is so important: Stephen Sondheim changed the face of the medium.

Will we be performing Sondheim in 500 years? Like Shakespeare, like Mozart, like Bach, I hate to think of a world where we weren't doing so.


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