This fall, in collaboration with the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, the Dramatists Guild will present two special programs that celebrate the legacy of acclaimed songwriter (and past Guild Council president) Stephen Sondheim, including his advocacy work on behalf of his fellow writers.
These programs, which are free and open to the public, will be presented in association with the special Sondheim issue of The Dramatist magazine -- available in September both online and in select bookstores.
The Dramatist Guild Presents: An evening with John Weidman
September 15 at 6pm EDT
In this intimate conversation, Jeanine Tesori (Kimberly Akimbo) will interview writer, librettist, and advocate John Weidman, discussing his body of work, including Assassins, Pacific Overtures, and Road Show, as well as his upcoming projects. In honor of our The Dramatist magazine issue dedicated to Stephen Sondheim, Weidman will also discuss his longtime collaboration with the iconic songwriter.
The Dramatists Guild presents: Sondheim: the Man, the Mentor, and his Music
October 17 at 12pm EDT
His peers have frequently spoken about Stephen Sondheim’s lyric writing, but comparatively little attention has been dedicated to his music. In this panel of Broadway songwriters, moderated by lyricist and DG President Amanda Green (Mr. Saturday Night), composers Jason Robert Brown (The Last Five Years) and Tom Kitt (Almost Famous) will discuss the craft behind the legendary writer's music, as well as how Sondheim mentored a generation of theatrical composers. This panel is being presented in celebration of The Dramatist magazine's Sondheim issue, which honors the legacy, advocacy, and impact of Stephen Sondheim.
The Sondheim Issue of The Dramatist magazine pays tribute to the artist, mentor, collaborator, and past President of the Guild, Stephen Sondheim; it is guest edited by DG Council member Lin-Manuel Miranda (Hamilton). This special issue will be available in September on stands at The Drama Book Shop in New York, NY, the Samuel French Bookshop in the Royal Court Theatre in London, UK, Skylight Books in Los Angeles, CA, and East End Books in Provincetown, MA. It is also available for purchase online via the Dramatists Guild website. www.dramatistsguild.com/thedramatist-online
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.
The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts houses one of the world's most extensive combinations of circulating, reference, and rare archival collections in the fields of theatre, film, dance, music, and recorded sound. These materials are available free of charge, along with a wide range of special programs, including exhibitions, seminars, and performances. An essential resource for everyone with an interest in the arts—whether professional or amateur—the Library is known particularly for its prodigious collections of non-book materials such as historic recordings, videotapes, autograph manuscripts, correspondence, sheet music, stage designs, press clippings, programs, posters, and photographs. Learn more at nypl.org/lpa.