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Frequently Asked Questions

Written by and David Levy.

Table of Contents

1 Biographical Information

2 Works

3 Publications

4 Sondheim On-line

5 Biased Drivel by SondoManiacs

3 Publications

3.1 Books

There are several excellent books in print about Sondheim. By far the best introductory one is Sondheim and Co., by Craig Zadan. This is a coffee-table sized book (also available in paperback for about $20) which tells the story of Sondheim's life and career in simple narrative form. It contain tons of black and white photographs, as well as many quotes from his collaborators and friends. It's been updated a few times (the latest copy we have is the second edition, revised in 1989, which goes through Dick Tracy).

For a more intellectual reading of Sondheim's solo work, check out Joanne Gordon's Art Isn't Easy: The Achievement of Stephen Sondheim, which has just been updated to go through Assassins. There's also Sondheim's Broadway Musicals by Stephen Banfield, which is the most in depth book in terms of Sondheim's craft. It explores the themes, motifs, and special techniques employed by Sondheim for each show. This is an incredible book, but not an easy one to read because it's filled with technical terms, diagrams, endnotes, etc. Finally, there's Martin Gottfried's book called Sondheim, which is anexpensive coffee-table book, but includes very nice color photographs and is current through Putting It Together. However, it's rather boring to read, and isn't necessarily accurate or insightful.

3.2 Periodicals

The Sondheim Review is a quarterly magazine devoted to Sondheim and his works. It costs $19.95 for a year's subscription, and back issues are available.

3.3 Theses

There have also been several dissertations written on his work. Here's an incomplete list, in chronological order:

  1. Stephen Sondheim and Harold Prince: Collaborative contributors to the development of the Modern Concept Musical by Eugene Huber, 1990, New York University
  2. Stephen Sondheim and the Disintegration of the American Dream by Lee F. Orchard, 1988, University of Oregon
  3. Thematic Unity in Steven (sic) Sondheim's Merrily We Roll Along by Gary Brubaker, 1985, Northern Illinois University
  4. The American Musical Stops Singing and Finds its Voice: A study of the work of Stephen Sondheim by Joanne Gordon, 1984, University of California, Los Angeles (Note: This was the basis for Ms. Gordon's book. The book includes more information on recent productions (Into the Woods and Assassins), and is easier to read. An even newer edition is planned for publication in the not-too-distant future.)
  5. Stephen Sondheim and the Concept Musical by Dan J. Cartmell, 1983, University of California, Santa Barbara
  6. The Lyrics of Stephen Sondheim: Form and Function by Michael Adams, 1980, Northwestern
  7. An Analysis of the adaptation of Sweeney Todd into a Musical: by Mary Lynn Dickar, 1980, University of Illinois, Chicago
  8. A Comparison/contrast of Design Concepts for La Ronde and A Little Night Music by Cynthia Witherspoon, 1979, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale

3.4 Discography

The Sondheim Discography is maintained by Bill Jennings ( It is incomplete in that it is not a list of every recording of any Sondheim song. It does, however, provide a list of all Sondheim cast albums, plus most all- Sondheim albums, mostly-Sondheim albums, and albums with hard to locate Sondheim songs. It is constantly updated through the SSS, and is also available directly from Bill.

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