Posts Tagged ‘Stephen Sondheim’

WEST SIDE STORY – Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim

December 14, 2021 2 comments

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

When Stephen Sondheim died aged 91, just a couple of weeks ago, the world of musical theater lost one of its best and most beloved practitioners. Although he was well-known for many of the scores he wrote himself – A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Company, A Little Night Music, Sweeney Todd, Into the Woods, many others – possibly his most beloved work by the general public was the one on which he “only” wrote the lyrics: West Side Story. On it Sondheim collaborated with the legendary composer and conductor Leonard Bernstein, creating a then-contemporary version of Romeo & Juliet transposed from renaissance-era Italy to 1950s New York, replacing the Montagus and the Capulets with street gangs, the Jets and the Sharks. It debuted on stage in 1957, and then was turned into a screen musical in 1961 by co-directors Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins. That film went on to become one of the most successful and popular Hollywood musicals in history, and eventually won ten Oscars, including Best Picture. And now, 60 years later, we have a new version of the same story, directed by the legendary Steven Spielberg. Read more…


December 21, 2007 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

The resurgence of the Broadway movie musical in recent years, off the back of Award-winners like Chicago, The Phantom of the Opera, Dreamgirls, and this year’s popular Hairspray, is a pleasing one indeed, at least from my perspective. Classic musicals from the golden age of Hollywood, however much they may be considered passé today, were nevertheless hugely enjoyable escapist entertainments, and often introduced a number of showstopping ballads into public consciousness – and making stars of the singers in the process. Whether the new adaptation of Stephen Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd will have the same popular impact remains to be seen – the story is perhaps a little to outlandish to truly cross over – but, from a purely musical perspective, it is an absolute masterpiece. Read more…