Broadway great Stephen Sondheim brings a lifetime of experience to the Smith Center

Catch Stephen Sondheim at the Smith Center on Saturday.
Bev Bynum, AP

While plans for the Smith Center were underway and representatives were promising Broadway, little did we know the performing arts center’s schedule would someday include extraordinary perks to go with the usual touring productions—like legendary lyricist and composer Stephen Sondheim settling onto the Reynolds Hall stage for an evening of conversation, while Broadway stars Christine Ebersole and Brian Stokes Mitchell perform his works.


Stephen Sondheim
July 14, 8 p.m., $26-$79
Smith Center's Reynolds Hall, 749-2000

On Saturday night, Sondheim and host Michael Kerker, ASCAP’s Director of Musical Theatre, will discuss the composer’s influential career, which began informally several decades ago when he was an Oscar Hammerstein protégé. While still in his 20s, Sondheim collaborated with Leonard Bernstein on West Side Story. Then came Gypsy, and Sondheim writing music and lyrics for musicals that would contemporize the Great White Way and cement him as the “daring” composer responsible for Company, Sweeney Todd and Sunday in the Park With George, which won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama.

Now 82, Sondheim has eight Tonys, an Academy Award and a lifetime of stories. Whether he’ll discuss his famous missive in The New York Times last year regarding the revamped Porgy and Bess (a great read, whether you agree with him or not) remains to be seen. But there’s plenty of other business to attend to, namely a couple dozen musicals and the matter of revolutionizing an institution called Broadway.

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