Stephen Sondheim, the ‘Shakespeare’ of the American musical, dies

Stephen Sondheim, the most recognized author of musicals in the United States, died this Friday at the age of 91, as explained by his lawyer to The New York Times. Death has come to him suddenly, after celebrating Thanksgiving this Thursday with some friends at his home in Connecticut.

Author of pieces such as ‘Sweeney Todd’, ‘Golfus de Roma’, ‘Folies’ or ‘Into the woods’ and lyricist of that great ‘West Side Story’ to which Leonard Berstein put music, he had received last year, on the occasion of his 90th birthday, numerous tributes and tributes.

“The Shakespeare of musicals”, according to Lluís Pasqual, managed to turn his productions into full-blown dramatic texts and his name was enough to fill the theaters.

Born in New York on March 22, 1930, he had an unhappy childhood to which the theater put a point of light. Abandoned by his father and with a torturing and abusive mother, he began already in school to write plays, almost always musicals, and to perform them on stage.

He forged his career on Broadway, under the guidance of Oscar Hammerstein, a renowned author who served as a mentor to the young Sondheim, a friend of his son. And the opportunity came with ‘West Side Stor’ for which Bernstein was looking for a lyricist.

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His productions always garnered the fervor of the public and critics because he knew how to turn an inconsequential genre into something serious and profound and to talk about emotions and behaviors with music, as in ‘Sweeney Todd’ or ‘Into the woods’.

Winner of seven Tony Awards (including one for his entire career), he won an Oscar for the Dick Tracy song, “Sooner or Later,” which was performed by Madonna. And he also had his Pulitzer for ‘Sunday in the Park with George’.

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