Thursday, March 22, 2007

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO TWO MUSICAL THEATRE GIANTS: STEPHEN SONDHEIM AND ANDREW LLOYD WEBBER!




Today are the birthdays of two musical theatre giants. Stephen Sondheim turns seventy-seven years old today and Andrew Lloyd Webber turns forty-nine! Of course we know both have accomplished milestones in musical theatre, but Sondheim is the only composer-lyricist that has won every major award: He has won multiple Tony's, the Academy Award (for the song "Sooner or Later" from Dick Tracy) the Emmy, several Grammies and the Pulitzer Prize. Only six musicals have been awarded the Pulitzer Prize. Sondheim won for "Sunday In The Park With George" The others include: "Rent" by Jonathan Larson, "South Pacific" by Rodgers and Hammerstein and "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying" by the late great Frank Loesser. Sondheim almost quit musical theatre entirely with the failure of "Merrily We Roll Along" (one of my all time Sondheim score favorites. In the meantime, Andrew Lloyd Webber prepares for the new sequel to "Phantom Of The Opera"-- this time set in New York City. Chestnuts about Sondheim that I didn't know: (1.) Although he was a protege' of Oscar Hammerstein, Stephen Sondheim and Richard Rodgers intensely disliked one another and their one collaboration (which he completed as an obligation to Hammerstein) was a huge failure-- it was called "Do I Hear A Waltz" ( I love that song) The second chestnut is that Sondheim actually wrote songs for "Mary Poppins" as part of his writing assignments under Oscar Hammerstein. Boy would I love to hear what Sondheim does to P.L. Travers. Happy Birthday to you both and also to dear Karl Malden who turns ninety-four years young today! The reading for "The Traveling Companion" goes on this Sunday at Wilson High School in Hacienda Heights. I have both fingers and toes crossed!

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