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Stephen Sondheim leaves a lasting legacy

When one of the great men of all disciplines dies, it’s only natural to focus our attention on the achievements that made them famous.

That’s perfectly appropriate. But often there are other aspects of a person’s life that need attention. Especially if there are lessons that apply to the rest of us who lack the extraordinary gifts of the deceased.

Stephen Sondheim, composer and lyricist Died Friday at the age of 91Provides an example of this sterling.

Of course, the conversation must begin with his monumental achievements in the musical theater world.

Those who do not know Sondheim’s name are probably familiar with his work. He wrote the lyrics for his beloved “West Side Story” and composed the hit song “Crown of Sorrow”. The main films were made from his “Sweeney Todd” and “Into the Woods”. Sondheim’s musical has won numerous Tony Awards, along with the Pulitzer Prize and the Oscar for Best Music.

Sondheim was famous for the original wordplay of his lyrics and the great originality and complexity of his music. His canon is full of witty, sorrowful and thought-provoking songs.

He played an important role in guiding Broadway musicals from the golden age, which ended in the early 1960s, to a new era. Sondheim peaked in the 1970s with a series of original musicals. Among them were “Company,” “Follies,” “Little Night Music,” and “Sweeney Todd.” His most popular composer and lyricist, Into the Woods, is still performed on the stage of countless schools and community theaters. Like many of his other works, it’s a very entertaining but challenging and surprising show.

But the work Sondheim left behind is only part of his legacy.

Sondheim’s remarkable story began when he spent his time as a teenager in Backcounty. There he met Oscar Hammerstein II, a lyricist, playwright, and resident of the Doylestown area, a theater legend. Hammerstein played an important role in transforming Broadway musicals into a serious way to tell a story in breakthroughs such as “Show Boat” and “Oklahoma.” He took the young Sondheim under his wings and led him in the art of creating an entertaining, meaningful and entertaining musical theater. Sondheim will write and Hammerstein will criticize.

Sondheim was forever grateful for this wonderful opportunity and he devoted himself to doing the same for other up-and-coming theater artists throughout his life.

Netflix’s new movie “Tick, Tick … BOOM!” Focuses on Sondheim’s role in supporting the work of the late Jonathan Larson, who struggled for years before writing the modern Broadway masterpiece “Rent.” Lin-Manuel Miranda, the mastermind of the film’s Hamilton, is another artist who has benefited from Sondheim’s guidance. After hearing the theater community’s reaction to the movie’s release, Miranda shared a message she sent to the legendary composer.

“I told him that his ears must have been burning from the myriad Sondheim tenderness shared by the generations of writers he taught. Steve, you to Oscar 1,000 times. I have repaid my debt. “Sondoheim replied: “That’s one aspect of my life that I’m proud of. I feel like I’ve (at least partially) repaid what I owe to Oscar.”

Any of us lucky enough to have a great mentor in our lives should be able to relate to this. It’s important to go beyond just good emotions and adopt the idea of ​​”prepaid” and put it into practice. You don’t have to be a good artist to somehow follow Sondheim’s good example. You can also learn from Sondheim’s extraordinary enthusiasm for old age. He was still developing a new job in his last year.For a few days before his death he was sitting for an interview New York Times And he participated in the new works of his two works in New York.

Yes, the audience still enjoys his work and the work of the artists he influenced. The world has lost great geniuses and respectable individuals, but it is clear that his legacy will survive in so many ways.

Stephen Sondheim leaves a lasting legacy

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