Friday, January 21, 2022

Stephen Sondheim, musical theater giant, dies at 91

Eric Schaeffer, Founding Artistic Director of Signature Theater:

It was wonderful.

I mean, I have to say that with Sondheim, I think people might think that he was a wonderful employee. He wanted to be in the room with you and talk. He didn’t say something like: “Look, I’m the smartest in the room.”

By no means was he like that. He was the most generous person in the room, which was fantastic.

And I think, as Ben hinted, I mean that he changed the face of musical theater that we all looked up to. I mean, I saw — Sweeney Todd was the first musical I saw when I was in high school on Broadway, and I literally came home, ran out, bought the album and just played it until the record warped, literally staring at the lyrics and how smart and wonderful they were.

I think that’s what people don’t know about him. He was a great friend and a great mentor. And he also wanted to give people a chance, which was … because there was a guy from me, Fleetwood, PA, this little Amish town, who said, oh, I love your job. I want to do this.

And he totally accepted it. And I had to finish work on over 30 of his musicals over the years, which was amazing.

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