The Sondheim Issue

The Sondheim Issue of The Dramatist magazine is now available for DG members to view online! The online edition of this issue is currently accessible to DG members only. The issue will ship to members and subscribers in October.

The print edition of The Sondheim Issue will start shipping Oct 17. 

The issue will also be available in October at Drama Book Shop in New York City, Skylight Books in Los Angeles, East End Books Ptown in Provincetown, and Samuel French Bookstore at the Royal Court Theatre in London.

For Members and Subscribers: Read The Sondheim Issue

General Public: Order the Issue

This edition of The Dramatist pays tribute to the artist, mentor, collaborator, and past Guild Council President Stephen Sondheim (1930-2021). Guest edited by Lin-Manuel Miranda, this issue includes Sondheim’s “Ten Questions” and “Musical Theatre: A Talk by Stephen Sondheim,” the transcript of an ad lib dissertation from 1977 that was originally edited for publication in The Dramatists Guild Quarterly, Autumn 1978.

In “I Collabor Him and He Collabors Me,” Lin-Manuel Miranda moderates a roundtable with Sondheim’s collaborators, James Lapine, David Ives, and John Weidman; in “Our Time: The Influence of Sondheim,” Khiyon Hursey leads a conversation with Joriah Kwamé, Madeline Myers, Jay Adana, Max Vernon, Daniel Lazour, and Patrick Lazour; and in this issue’s roundup, Debbie Bolsky,  t.tara turk-haynes, Eric Pfeffinger, Sandy Sahar Gooen, S.M. Shephard-Massat, Elizabeth Coplan, and Rona Siddiqui reveal “What Sondheim Musical Influenced You Most?”

Also in this issue, DGI and Education Director Tari Stratton honors the legacy of Sondheim’s presidency, Executive Director of Creative Affairs Emmanuel Wilson announces the launch of Young Dramatists, and Kirsten Childs explains “Why I Joined the Guild.”

Theatrical legend Stephen Sondheim arguably reinvented the landscape of musical theatre. He wrote the scores for Road Show, Passion, Assassins, Into the Woods, Sunday in the Park with George, Merrily We Roll Along, Sweeney Todd, Pacific Overtures, The Frogs, A Little Night Music, Follies, Company, Anyone Can Whistle, Saturday Night, and A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, as well as the lyrics for West Side Story, Gypsy, Do I Hear a Waltz?, and additional lyrics for Candide. Anthologies of his work include Side by Side by Sondheim, Marry Me a Little, You’re Gonna Love Tomorrow, Putting It Together, and Sondheim on Sondheim. For films, he composed the score of Stavisky, co-composed Reds, and wrote songs for Dick Tracy and the television production “Evening Primrose.”  He co-authored the film The Last of Sheila and the play Getting Away With Murder.

Sondheim served on the Council of the Dramatists Guild, the national association of playwrights, composers, lyricists, and librettists, from February 1964 until he passed away in November 2021. During this 57-year tenure, he also spent eight years as Council President, from 1973 until 1981.

Mentorship was extremely important to Sondheim, who himself benefitted from the mentorship of another musical theatre legend and former Guild Council President, Oscar Hammerstein. Not only did Sondheim offer craft and career advice to young writers (including Jonathan Larson and Lin-Manuel Miranda) on an individual level, but he also founded Young Playwrights Inc. in 1981. The organization offered a weekly playwriting workshop for teens, held writing contests for middle school and high school aged writers, and presented an annual Young Playwrights Festival. Through Young Playwrights Inc., which ran for more than 30 years, Sondheim helped to foster and empower an entire generation of young dramatists, including many of today's most active and prolific playwrights.

In 1983, Sondheim was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He was appointed the first Visiting Professor of Contemporary Theatre at Oxford University in 1990. In 1993, he received the Kennedy Center Honors. The recipient of several Dramatists Guild awards, Sondheim received their Hull-Warriner Award in 1979, their Frederick Loewe Award in 2000, and their Lifetime Achievement Award in 2005. He passed away on November 26, 2021.

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