The foremost composer/lyricist of his generation and among the most highly regarded in Broadway history, Stephen Sondheim combines virtuosic wordplay with music that was groundbreakingly angular for the form. Sometimes in tandem with experimental story structures, his songs often feature elaborate, chromatic melodies and harmonic dissonance, without ever venturing into atonality. He even scored a Top 40 hit with Judy Collins' 1975 rendition of the melancholy ballad "Send in the Clowns." Sondheim was celebrated early in his career for his lyrics to the hit musicals West Side Story (1957) and Gypsy (1959) before making his Broadway composing debut with A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum in 1962. Working primarily as a solo composer/lyricist thereafter, he went on to write such enduring, dark classics as Sweeney Todd (1979), ...
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