The Sunday Giveaway: 2 tickets to the screening of Company!

We talk a lot about building the bridge from Broadway to movie theaters on this blog.  And shows are showing up more and more at the cineplex near you.  First Les Miz, Memphis, The Importance of Being Earnest, and now . . . Company!

The NY Phil’s version of Company starring Neil Patrick Harris, Stephen Colbert, Patti LuPone and more will be shown at participating theaters on only 4 dates in June.

And one of you is going for free.

How do you win?

This week’s game is simple.  Comment below with your favorite Sondheim musical and why.  I’ll start.  Ready?

Sweeney Todd.  Because Sondheim is the only person that can make a serial killer musical work.

Ok now you . . . and I’ll randomly pick a winner next Saturday who will be going to the movies . . . to see a Broadway show.  Cool.


(Got a comment?  I love ’em, so comment below!  Email subscribers, click here, then scroll down, to say what’s on your mind!)

– – – – –


– Come to our Tony Awards Party!  Click here for more info and to get your ticket now!

– Enter my Tony Pool!  You can win an iPad!  Enter today!  Deadline is 6/9!

  • Allie says:

    Company because it explores true human relationships and how they fail and succeed and never apologizes for not coming up with an overall answer. It embraces it’s ambiguity and is still poignant, specific, and heartbreaking at the same time.

  • Ambkoshasg says:

    “Merrily We Roll Along”. Because it’s harrowing and it needs some love.

  • “Assassins” because it, too, needs some love and only Sondheim can make me research the reasons behind why John Wilkes Booth shot Abraham Lincoln and then think “Well… I guess his reasons were true… wait! Killing is bad!”

  • Kate says:

    Into the Woods, because exploring what happens after “ever after” was a brilliant idea, as was weaving that many fairy tales together. And the music is simply stunning.

  • Definitely Sweeney Todd. The perfect combination of humor and scaring the crap out of me.

  • FOLLIES – because not only does it have two brilliant scores in one, and some of the most incredible lyrics penned by Sondheim, but it captures the sense of nostalgia perfectly. Plus, it makes me cry. Every. Time.

  • doug says:

    Sunday in the Park with George – because art really isn’t easy…

  • Hard question, because there are so many ‘favorites,’ but, for PURE Sondheim (rather than lyricist only), I’d have to say ‘Funny Thing Happened On the Way to the Forum.’ The lyrics are laugh-out-loud funny, the score rollicking and memorable,and, perhaps, his happiest show! (Company is a close 2nd – “Not Getting Married,” “Another Hundred People,” “Being Alive” – BRILLIANT!)

  • Kevin says:

    Sweeney, for beautiful melodies over suspiciously thorny dissonances, about a squillion divisis in the chorus part, and, obviously, being a tightly told story that’s screamingly hilarious.

  • Maria D says:

    Merrily We Roll Along – Some of the THE most beautiful songs. Stretches the ability of actors to portray a wide range of ages. The concept of going backwards in a depressing story to end in something hopeful was brilliant. And it doesn’t require suspension of disbelief…it’s purely human.

  • “Into The Woods” I love that he took all of those existing fairy tale stories but came up with brand new stories for them. It’s a wonderful score that I have been lucky enough to perform and he’s not afraid to kill off tons of characters.

  • says:

    How in the world do you choose? Sunday because I cried at end of Act 1, original production!

  • Emily says:

    Into the Woods, love it for many reasons but one of my favorite lines in a musical ever is Prince Charming’s “I was raised to be charming not sincere.”

  • Elliott says:

    Assassins. Only Sondheim could make presidential assassins identifiable and understandable. Historically, we view presidential assassins as utterly other but this musical humanizes them in a shockingly beautiful way.

  • Sunday in the Park with George. I love musicals more than anything, but very few can literally take my breath away. Every time I see or hear this score, I’m dumbstruck how amazing it is. Only Sondheim could give us such sweeping emotions and STILL make it sound like a pointillist painting would. He actually uses the music to keep the characters of Dot and George emotionally separated. In short, it’s brilliant.

  • Allison says:

    I have two: Sweeney Todd because no one else could make a beautiful musical about such a dark story. Merrily We Roll Along because it’s so real and relatable.

  • Dan R says:

    It is a classic singing, dancing musical, but it’s also a Chekhovian war of ideals. It is the story of two failing marriages, and also the story of a dying artform (the classical musical). Sondheim sculpts the character’s minds as beautifully as Michelangelo sculpted David (ref., “In Buddy’s Eyes”). The songs are perfect on a simply musical level, but also successful in re-creating the the styles they pastiche and in creating a lyrical duality that ties together the themes of the piece (survival, delusions and regret). As an aspiring writer and director, it inspires me to settle for nothing less than perfection. As a human, it challenges me to never lose sight of my ghosts and to create I life I won’t regret.

  • Ben Ryland says:

    With all the great music he has created isn’t it amazing that Sondheim’s only cross-over ‘popular’ song was written specificly for a non-singer.

  • Sunday in the Park with George because 1) the music perfectly reflects the ideals of impressionist art 2) Sondheim named the lead female Dot 3) we’ve all fallen in love with some sort of artist that didn’t fully appreciate us or at least didn’t show it.

  • Susan says:

    Into the Woods because I love fractured fairy tales.

  • Greg T says:

    Sunday In The Park With George. He created that most interesting history lesson that I have ever had. Plus, the music is flawless

  • Robb J says:

    The most honest answer would be whichever I had seen (or listened to) most recently.
    But for the sake of the contest I will say Company. Not only is the music superb (including cut numbers reinserted into later revivals) but based on my being a fan of Sondheim, some friends of mine made sure this Robert got a suprise party on my 35th birthday 2 years ago.

  • Robin F says:

    Into the Woods – The methodology with which he combines the known stories and yet makes them his own is completely enchanting/

  • Danny Kapinos says:

    Anyone Can Whistle because Sondheim has described it as the musical written by the two kids who sit in the back of the classroom and pick on everything the teacher says, which is exactly who I am. The reason it doesn’t work for so many is the reason that I love it so much.

  • Brent says:

    West Side Story.
    Because who doesn’t love New York gang wars while singing and dancing jazz ballet. Plus there is a murder or two.

  • Passion because everytime I see the show or hear the recording, I cry for Fosca like a baby. Even it’s a bad production of it.

  • Ali says:

    “A Little Night Music,” because the first time I saw it I had a “Killing Me Softly” moment where I swore his lyrics were singing directly to me and my soul.

  • Gordoneitz says:

    Sweeney Todd — Epic storytelling, murderous fun, cannabilism and a magnificently beautiful score. What more can a theatergoer ask for?

  • Mike Folie says:

    Pacific Overtures, because it is an intensely moving show about loss of innocence and 19th Century international affairs.

  • I’m not sure you could have asked a more difficult question. Funny Thing wins for me, because the song FREE makes me cry every time. Especially this set of lines: And
    I soon will have the right to buy a slave for me.
    Can you see him?
    When I free him!

  • Zach says:

    Sunday in the Park with George – for its comments on and showcasing of creating art.

  • Mark Gagliardi says:

    Even if* it’s a bad

  • West Side Story… because you’re a Jet ’til your last dying day.

  • Lindsay B says:

    Sweeney Todd because I love the gothic lilt to the music and motifs without it being too kitschy or alienating. The other reason is that “By the Sea” was the first song I ever sang in public for a charity event and managed to not faint on the floor. This is a great achievement for a techie/playwright that was once told that I’d “suck at life” if I became an actress. Anytime I hear that song or anything from the show, I just remember that feeling of triumph afterwards; thanks to Sondeheim’s nimble musical skills that make it easy for an amateur to tackle a number without making it as childish as “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.”

  • Sarah P. says:

    Well, my #1 favorite musical Sondheim’s been involved with would be Gypsy, because it’s simply a masterpiece (in terms of story, music, lyrics, characterizations, comedy, the whole package)…but for Sondheim-composed shows I’d also go with Sweeney Todd. 🙂 The music is so evocative and haunting/frightening, and you really feel for all the characters, even the murderous ones. It’s such an intense psychological study of love and pain and cruelty!

  • MomsThoughts says:

    Sweeney Todd because its a murder musical! oh the beautiful irony….

  • Noah P. says:

    Assassins…because you would think only a crackhead would think it’d be a good idea to write a musical about the people who killed or tried to kill the president of the United States…not so…its a masterpiece. Bravo Mr. Sondheim.

  • Bethynyc says:

    “Merrily We Roll Along” because my youth summer theater group did it my last year with them, and it is part of so many wonderful memories. I still remember the alto part to the songs and even some of the choreography, and it was over 20 years ago! I may not perform any more, but that experience in summer theater cemented my love for musicals and plays.

  • says:

    Assassins! Who else but Sondheim would have conceived of an artistic way to establish a link between the men and women who attempted — or succeeded at — the assassination of an American president.

  • Claire says:

    Sweeney Todd. The music is absolutely gorgeous, and it’s a great story.

  • Tristan says:

    Into the Woods. Because if anyone could make a witch rap work, it’d be Sondheim.

  • Michael says:

    Sunday in the Park with George because it solved the Company mystery. In Company we learn that Bobby feared commitment, but not why. There was speculation that he might be gay, etc. What was it he loved and feared losing? We finally got the answer in Sunday in the Park with George. When Dot comes to George while he’s painting to show him the baby, he says “You’re standing in my light.” He cannot commit to Dot and the child. Why? Because he’s an artist and his art must always come first. He must finish the hat.

  • says:

    his lyrics in West Side Story – specifically “I feel Pretty” because he captured the feelings of a young girl on the verge of womanhood.

  • Sweeny Todd because I wanted to switch my major to straight theater from musical theater because I thought musical theater was a joke… then my friend brought George Hearn’s Sweeny to my dorm room… changed my life… not my major.

  • Sweeny Todd because I wanted to switch my major to straight theater from musical theater because I thought musical theater was a joke… then my friend brought George Hearn’s Sweeny to my dorm room… changed my life… not my major.

  • Michael Pizzi says:

    ALL OF THEM !! Because quite simply Sondheim is a freaking genius …..
    and once you learn a Sondheim score, you feel amazingly accomplished as a performer !

  • Paul says:

    Anyone Can Whistle because it should have been a hit, could still be a hit and most of all because of the song . . . Anyone Can Whistle. Give it a listen on YouTube.

  • Ryan B says:

    Sweeney Todd because I was left stuck in my seat when it ended as I could not believe what I had just witnessed.

  • Auntie F says:

    West Side Story. If you are a real “Nueva Yorka”, you will know that this story transcends time!

  • Sarah says:

    Company: because I really enjoy singing “Ladies Who Lunch” in the shower.

  • Molly says:

    Annie Get Your Gun- because it’s about a woman with a gun… but she’s not a murderer! 😀

  • Phil says:

    Company because it explores the conflicted and ironic nature of being “happily single.” Everyone can relate to it’s core ideas of wanting something and wanting some thing.

  • John S. says:

    FOLLIES, simply because the score is genius and captures the pain of growing older and unfulfilled lives. Plus, no one does pastiche as well as Sondheim!
    Actually, I’d agree with the poster who said ALL of them because Sondheim’s a freakin’ genius!

  • Alex says:

    My favorite Sondheim show is Assassins because it features such a unique perspective on American history and has amazing music.

  • Katie O'Brien says:

    Sweeney Todd because not only did it pair up two of my favorite musical theatre actors–Angela Lansbury and George Hearn–but because the story, music and set are just haunting. (Prepare for long explanation LOL)
    The sheer simplicity of the set is wonderful. How it’s one large rotating platform…it does say “His needs were few/his room was bare”! XD And the scenes taking place on the ladders, especially during Green Finch and Linnet Bird, is very creative.
    The music, like any Sondhiem show, is very difficult, but when done properly, beautiful. My favorite songs are the Quartet reprise of the main theme and the Letter scene. They’re both just plain creepy!
    I don’t even have to explain why the story is great, do I? I would assume that it was obvious. It’s brilliant, really. It draws so many people in– the population, in a very macabre way, enjoys witnessing downfall of man. It’s pretty clear in the themes of most movies today, and the success of the biggest musicals of all time (i.e. Les Miz, Phantom and Sweeney Todd)
    It is my dream to be in it one day as either Mrs. Lovett (of course!) or an ensemble member. I like Sondheim cuz he makes every single character interesting and important–and being ensemble is the best especially in Sweeney Todd!
    So, yeah…I feel very very strongly about Sweeney. I’m pretty defensive about it too XD But my friends know to go to me if they have a question about it, I know so much about it XD It’s easily my favorite musical, as well as favorite Sondheim one. <3
    (sorry this was so huge!)

  • Brittany says:

    Merrily We Roll Along. Because it so beautifully captures what it’s like to be a young person with theatrical dreams.

  • ASSASSINS because it’s just so goddamn clever. The blocking and idea behind the ballad of Czolgosz, a barbershop quartet, Zangara belting A flats and Fromme is hilarious. All in a show about pretty horrific moments in our history. Also, Neil Patrick Harris sang “everybody’s got the right” at the Tony’s so it seemed appropriate for a performance where he’s singing in Company.

  • Jeff says:

    Company – because there is a bit of Bobby in all of us.

  • Susie D. says:

    Into the Woods because it’s the first musical that made me laugh and cry and beg to see it again.

  • Kwrbear says:

    A Little Night Music – Because only Sondheim could write: “The hands on the clock turn. But don’t sing a nocturne. Just yet'”
    Follies, a very close second. On my first time seeing it, I unfortunately had a front row center seat. I have to tell you those women of Loveland were Amazons.

  • Nathan Kinney says:

    Sweeney Todd. Stephen Sondheim’s score for Sweeney soars. I feel exhilarated each time I listen to it. When I’m invited to “attend the tale,” I do so more than willingly. However, as Sondheim has frequently pointed out in Letters to the Editor of The New York Times, the oft-forgotten book writer is equally important to the success of a musical. Sondheim’s brilliant score (with a nod to Bernard Herrmann) is seamlessly married to Hugh Wheeler’s exciting and intricate book (from a play by Christopher Bond). Together, they have created a stage piece that plays like a movie, yet is highly theatrical. Whether it’s Hal Prince’s massive Industrial Age interpretation, or the affectionately nicknamed “Teeny Todd” at the Circle in the Square, or the recent actor/musician take by John Doyle, Sondheim/Wheeler’s Sweeney Todd never fails to thrill and entertain.

  • James says:

    Sunday in the Park with George if for no other reason than the most aesthetically spectacular and emotionally satisfying end of on Act One I have ever seen on stage.

  • Into The Woods. In one sentence, the Prince captured the essence of 5,000 years of human politics: “I was raised to be charming not sincere.”

  • Merrily We Roll Along. Even with all of it’s flaws, Sondheim brilliantly captures different stages of artists lives, navigating through life.
    Personal favorite songs are towards the end (eg. Our Time, Opening Doors). He so beautifully communicates the hope, dreams, and energy of young artists pounding the pavement.

  • Into The Woods. In one sentence, the Prince captured the essence of 5,000 years of human politics: “I was raised to be charming not sincere.”

  • Andrea says:

    Into the Woods because he made it about fairy tales in the first act and switches it around in the second act to show the real life aspect of things.
    Also, it is the only musical I can think of where the first act has a clean break and schools can do the show without having it be too intense, too long, and still make sense.

  • Evening Primrose. It’s a beautiful early example of Sondheim telling his audiences that there isn’t always a happily ever after. Life often is settling for something in between.

  • HannahC815 says:

    Company (duh!) because it captures the complications of mature relationships with an almost brutal honesty, but still manages to be funny and endearing. Any score that Steven Sondheim touches magically and perfectly represents some facet of humanity with a beautiful, brutal honesty.

  • Dani says:

    Company. For myriad reasons, but I’ll narrow it down to three. 1) It was the first Sondheim musical (music and lyrics) that I ever saw live, 2) I share an alma mater with George Furth (Northwestern — though MANY years apart), and 3) the Master himself sat behind me at the performance we saw the Kennedy Center. What a thrill!

  • Josh Scheer says:

    Sunday in the Park With George because he made a hat where there never was a hat.
    Who else could win a Pulitzer writing a musical based on a painting??

  • Rene C says:

    Sweeney Todd. Because in the dress rehearsal of a production I directed the Beggar Woman fractured her leg going down the barber-chair shoot and she went to the emergency room and despite being told to go home afterward she came back to rehearsal on crutches and in great pain, not willing to let someone else sing that music, goddammit, and WE ALL COMPLETELY UNDERSTOOD. We all nodded to each other and said, “Yes, well, of course, that makes COMPLETE sense… it IS Sondheim…”

  • Ellie says:

    INTO THE WOODS. It was the first musical I ever connected with and learned every single word to. I feel like I actually changed as a person when I realized that songs could tell stories. Also, Sondheim uses triple rhymes like no other (i.e. “sweetly, completely, fleetly”, “exploring, boring, ignoring”). Just TRY to think about “No One is Alone” without feeling something.
    To quote Forbidden Broadway’s “Into the Words”: “The score is the star.”

  • Tom G says:

    I would go once a month on Wednesday to see two shows except for when I saw Sweeney Todd. That show was so powerful that I didn’t want to cloud it with any other!

  • Marina B says:

    Gypsy – that’s a Sondheimer – his lyrics are what B’way’s about! If ya gotta gimmick!

  • Wendy says:

    Sweeney Todd because it just shouldn’t work–murder and cannibalism in a musical–but it does beautifully. I went on the advice of a friend, but was very dubious I would enjoy myself. (I have a low tolerance for blood and gore in movies.) But I love Sweeney Todd!

  • Rosie says:

    A Little Night Music–There is no show with any song greater than “Send in the Clowns”!

  • Christina says:

    West Side Story – its just such a tragic love story how can you not love it 🙂

  • Alanna Shaffer says:

    Merrily We Roll Along. It’s a really underrated show with, I think, some of Sondheim’s best music (Franklin Shepard, Inc, Old Friends, Not a Day Goes By, Our Time…SO MANY). It’s a wonderful story of friendship and creating art.

  • Marybeth says:

    Company because never before had I watched a musical and thought, “How is it that someone has written about exactly what I fear and long for in relationships?”

  • Becca S says:

    A Little Night Music
    Because Sondheim pretty much got the green light to show off on this one, and he decided to do so by writing the entire score in waltz tempo. And every song still manages to sound different and EXQUISITE.

  • Rafi Levavy says:

    Sweeney Todd – my parents played the recording a lot when I was growing up, and then I was actually able to see it when it was broadcast on PBS. It is a truly unique piece of theater (something that I still appreciate in shows to this day.)

  • Rebecca LaChance says:

    Sweeney Todd, because what other musical EVER has given me the adrenaline rush of a horror movie while also empowering a single actor to scare the poop out of everyone in the room!?

  • John says:

    COMPANY, because a long long time ago in a galaxy, far far away, it was the first Boroadway show I ever saw and will always be closest to my heart.

  • Kevin McMullan says:

    GYPSY (yes he only wrote the lyrics, but I’m going with it anyway)because everyone loves a story about a pushy stage mother, I don’t care how many times they’ve heard it. And it’s pretty hard to get tired of listening to that score, even if Ethel did threaten to slash a couple of Sondheim’s lyrics. Rose is also a part most actresses would give their eyeteeth to play, creating for the lucky producer a built-in theatre-goer’s anticipation on a silver platter. And the rest is magic because the gold has already been spun.

  • Joe Frazzetta says:

    PASSION, because it’s a beautiful love story and it made me cry.

  • John Olson says:

    Sweeney Todd is my favorite as well, because of the beauty and variety of the score. It also has the best book of any of his shows IMHO.
    As to whether Sondheim is the only one who can write a musical about a serial killer – I’ll take issue with that after having seen a workshop of Jenny Seidelman’s new musical The Dreamer and the Devil – about serial killer HH Holmes and architect Daniel Burnham during the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair.

  • Marqueiz says:

    Going to have to go with “Into the Woods” Such an awesome show.

  • Jason says:

    Though INTO THE WOODS was the first of Sondheim’s works that I’ve seen, I also must choose SWEENEY TODD. Something about the mix of the macabre, with an eerie yet beautiful score that delights and haunts at the same time….ugh it’s just so good! Gotta hand it to all of the gents who have played Sweeney or the Broadway divas who had a go at Mrs. Lovett (Angela Lansbury anyone?)! Not a single cast I’ve seen could disappoint me….they should make a movie!! (oh wait…they did….and it was amazing!)

  • Amanda says:

    Sunday in the Park with George because he is able to turn that one inspirational painting – which was a unique and stunning work of art in its own right – and paints, in his own way, a beautiful story about the artist.

  • sushi105 says:

    PACIFIC OVERTURES because it was a wonderful mix of asian & western themes, with amazing scoring, staging & cast. and the music made me cry.

  • Celeste says:

    Merrily We Roll Along, because Sondheim created a gorgeous musical about people who feel real — not just like characters. And, for all its flaws, it has a damn good overture.

  • Ellen says:

    A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC. Who said the waltz is dead or that he can’t write hummable melodies? Every song is clever or touching and has a gorgeous tune, to boot.

  • Jenna says:

    Follies. Because the music is so perfect for the period. It’s so clearly a work of great emotion and passion for him. He actually had to write Company first before he was allowed to get this one produced. I am so bummed I’m not able to get to DC to see Bernadette in the revival.

  • Elyse says:

    Into the Woods because when I played Cinderella, I found that there is no other song in musical theatre repertoire that I like performing more on stage than “Your Fault.” And in the same production, I fell for the guy playing Jack (and the high Gs that he sang!) and we’re still dating now, three years later.
    Also, I choose Into the Woods because it is an accessible show, but at the same time it’s so smart musically and lyrically. Sondheim was able to make a show that could be loved by the masses (as opposed to just the musical theatre elite) without losing any of the artfulness that his other scores possess.

  • gj cabana says:

    Comment below with your favorite Sondheim musical and why.
    GYPSY. Because only Sondheim could write roles for a mean mom and a stripper and not cast a blonde in either role.

  • Frayne McCarthy says:

    “Company” is my own fave for sentimental reasons. I played Bobby in a wonderful production of the show in Montreal. I was surrounded by an especially brilliant cast, I celebrated my real birthday on stage, I was living the character’s ups and downs in a loopy parallel universe… and I discovered that I could truly “love somebody” I met during the run.
    I live in Montreal, so I’m guessing that puts me out of the contest running. I just wanted to share my fave Sondheim show with you, and thank you for your great blog.

  • says:

    SUNDAY IN THE PARK WITH GEORGE because I used to get all weepy listening to 3 songs in a row on the cast recording over and over again: Everybody Loves Louis, Finishing the Hat, and We Do Not Belong Together. I just wanted to hear one of them say, “No, no, we DO belong together!” Then one day I finally listened to Act 2 and found it so satisfying when Dot (OK, Dot’s sort-of-ghost) sings to young George, “We’ve always belonged together.” Come on, he set me up so perfectly for that ending!

  • Carol says:

    Follies… because the first time I saw it – with the original cast, on one of my very first trips to Broadway – I was so awed, entranced, and mesmerized by Sondheim’s genius,that I walked 4 blocks in the wrong direction after I left the theatre…

  • Emily says:

    Am I allowed to say my life?! My life is a Sondheim musical because I listen to soundtracks for Company, Follies, Sweeney Todd, George etc constantly on additionto Sondheim: A Celebration at Carnegie Hall and Sondheim on Sondheim. I’m a huge fan. But if I had to pick a “real” musical I would pick Company because it is a show I understand better as I get older and experience life. I feel the same way about listening to Alanis Morrisette. The themes and lyrics mean new things to me with new experiences so it’s constantly a new experience for me.

  • Karen Bail says:

    ANYONE CAN WHISTLE! Crazy story, crazy characters, great songs and I do not understand why it closed so quickly when it first opened! Still love listening to the album!I think the time has come to bring it back to Broadway!

  • Jason Flum says:

    So hard to choose just one, but I’ll go with Into the Woods. I’m a teacher, and I use the show in my seventh and eighth grade class to teach character development and motivation as well as how archetypes and mythology can be used to create a new take on a story. We talk about the character’s choices and ethics, as well as evaluate what “good” and “evil” mean in story telling. The show is so rich and with so many layers, as well as being easily accessible. My students LOVE the music (I think I’m single-handedly responsible for a bump in itunes sales of Into the Woods every time I teach it).
    I could probably give an equal reason why I would choose half a dozen other shows of his as well!

  • Sweeney Todd. It’s brilliant, funny, heart-breaking, heart-stopping, tender, violent, beautiful, macabre, exhilirating, surprising, grand…in short, it has everything….plus food! (well, sort of).

  • Raul M. Iglesias says:

    Sunday In The Park With George.
    it beautifully explores the creation of art. I’m a Pastry Chef and can relate to “putting things together” and making something out of nothing

  • Evelyn says:

    The best damn show ever. Period. Gypsy’s lyrics are so smart, and Sondheim’s talent as lyricist is just as great as Sondheim as composer, but it’s so frequently overlooked.

  • Erin says:

    A Little Night Music…flowing songs, smart lyrics, great interwoven plot.

  • Brittany says:

    Into the Woods. “Have a child for warmth, and a baker for bread, and a prince for whatever…” The Baker’s Wife knows what’s up.

  • ECP says:

    “A Little Night Music.” No one in modern musical theater captures melancholy so achingly, so true.

  • Lori Cartwright says:

    Merrily We Roll Along…it always gets me to hear the reprise of “Hills of Tomorrow” (yes, that’s the version I prefer, where it goes all the way back to Charlie & Frank’s HS graduation) when they’re young, optimistic, and their friendship seems like it could never be harmed beyond repair the way it is at the beginning of the show.

  • Laura says:

    Sweeney Todd. Because Sondheim is the only one who can pull off a sentimental ballad like “No one’s gonna harm you,” and have it be a complete lie.

  • A Little Night Music, because Sondheim wanted it to sound like “perfume was drifting from the orchestra.”

  • Joshua Long says:

    Sunday in the Park with George…because Mr. Sondheim helped me understand more about myself as a human being and an artist and therefore has bettered my life significantly. I now can watch out for pitfulls that I don’t want to fall in like Georges did. I am now a more effective artist and human being in my relationships because of that show.

  • Steve S. says:

    Really tough decision, but I have to go with Sweeney Todd. I was 11 years old and it was my first “grown up” evening Broadway show (up until then all I had seen were matinees on school trips). Even though we lived on Long Island, my parents booked a hotel room in the city so we could have dinner at the Four Seasons, see Sweeney and have an enormous Sunday brunch the next morning. The show was incredible, and to this day that opening whistle still scares the hell out of me!

  • Ray DeJohn says:

    Assassins: Not only is it yet another brilliant Sondheim example of the “villian” as protagonist, but it shows us the American experience through the stories of people who drastically changed the course of our history. Also, it lead me to write my college thesis on the John Wilkes Booth and the conspiracy to assassinate Lincoln. And I got an “A.” So, you know, there’s that, too.

  • Brian says:

    Assassins. Who can make the assassination of presidents a funny thing and end the show in an absolutely serious and moving way. There’s just brilliance in that musical.

  • Alaina says:

    Company. Because he dissolves the happily ever after. He examines marriage so frankly that not only does the audience come to understand why we marry, but it’s a commentary on New York, on America, and on people. Oh, and by deciding to write frankly about marriage, he changed musical theatre forever.

  • Demi says:

    Into the Woods because anyone who makes a musical about fairytales then kills the majority of them is awesome…plus…its freakin hilarious and the music is absolutely beautiful and unforgettable and it simply speaks to you in every aspect of the show.

  • Jean says:

    Sunday in the Park with George- Because now I every time I go to the Art Institute of Chicago, I stare at the magical painting and think of the artist who made it and not just about the art.

  • Brian Semple says:

    Comment below with your favorite Sondheim musical and why:
    All of them!
    *WEST SIDE STORY because the lyrics are (as Sondheim describes) flawed … and who doesn’t love self-criticism?
    *GYPSY because he created the ultimate finale/soliloquy for an actress ever written – from snippets of songs already used in the show. And Ethel Merman learned it!
    *FORUM because he had to write three opening numbers before he got it right – and thank God he did, or we wouldn’t have “Comedy Tonight”!
    *ANYONE CAN WHISTLE because it has Angela Lansbury AND Lee Remick (!), and because “With So Little To Be Sure Of” is a heartbreaking ballad.
    *DO I HEAR A WALTZ becuase he was asked to change his original lyrics to “A Moment With You” to assuage Dick Rogers, and did!
    *COMPANY beacuse like-it-or-not, “Another Hundred People” is the most honest description of life in NYC ever written.
    *FOLLIES because it’s the best score ever written.
    *NIGHT MUSIC because pre-turn-of-the-last-century sexual escapades in three/four time has never been done before or since.
    *PACIFIC OVERTURES because of “Someone in a Tree” – fantastic! And because “Next” is so profetic.
    *SIDE BY SIDE BY SONDHEIM because Millicent Martin and Julie McKenzie are brilliant together. And because I love David Kerrnan singing “Could I Leave You?”!
    *SWEENEY TODD because of the counter-point recitative in “Kiss Me” (… ‘you don’t have a gate’ …) and the line “And I’m tellin’ you, them pussycats is quick!”
    *MERRILY WE ROLL ALONG because the show doesn’t work but he doesn’t give up trying. And because I love to answer my phone, “Chinese Laundry” – and hardly anyone ‘gets it’!
    *SUNDAY IN THE PARK WITH GEORGE because it is simply gorgeous – and sometimes droll. “No one can even see my profile.”
    *INTO THE WOODS a cohesive brilliance between story, dialogue, lyrics, and music. And because a slotted spoon can catch the potato.
    *ASSASSINS because even the darkest names from US History make a thought-provoking, highly entertaining evening in the theatre if Sondheim is the creator.
    *PASSION because who else would create an entire musical around an ugly heroine – making her beautiful in the process.
    *THE FROGS because it gives us “Innvocation to the Audience” – which is priceless.
    *SATURDAY NIGHT because “So Many People”, “What More Do I Need” and “A Moment With You” are all terrific.
    It’s no wonder they named a theatre after him!!
    Brian Semple

  • Kaylie says:

    A Little Night Music. Who else could rip off a Mozart title and get away with it?

  • Roger says:

    Merrily We Roll Along. A terrific bunch of tunes with smart lyrics.

  • Andrew Graham says:

    “Into the Woods”- Because it took all the fairy tales I “thought” I knew and turned them on their sides.

  • Bobby Randazzo says:

    George Seurat 
    My favorite Sondheim musical is Sunday in the Park with George. Think about it…Obsessive little dots vs. An Obsessive composer/lyricist! Match made in heaven! Stephen Sondheim and George Seurat share similar methods as artists. Both forms of art are complex, detailed, layered, and most important, beautiful.  Sondheim’s various notes, melodies,  harmonies, and complexities in his music is essentially just like looking at the million little dots in Seurat’s painting. End result- We have these two beautiful art works to admire. These two genius’ united are the perfect storm!
    -Bobby Randazzo

  • Ken – I love this post and reading everybody’s comments. My favorite Sondheim is “Sweeney Todd.” To me, it’s a masterpiece – it can be done chamber-style or operatically or even just in concert. Any way it is performed, it’s a thematically brilliant masterpiece. It’s at once terrifying, beautiful, heart-breaking and hilarious – not many shows can bring this reaction of emotion. Even after seeing it dozens of times by various companies, I am always surprised by its sheer power in lyric story-telling.

  • Company. Honestly. I love the way Sondheim explores relationships versus being single, showing that both options are somehow wrong. Also, “Being Alive” is such a wonderful song; I get something different out of it each time I listen. I love the desperation that Raul Esparza conveyed in the recent revival and I cannot wait to see how Neil Patrick Harris interprets the score.

  • Myra says:

    Assasins, because it turns a part of US History into entertainment.

  • Julia Moriarty says:

    A Little Night Music. His musical themes serve to move the story as well as define characters, and the way he is able to describe character relationships with those themes is just amazing. When they are in harmony, the characters are getting along, and when not, they are not. It’s just fantastic.

  • richard Sasanow says:

    Without question Sweeney Todd– the only one with a perfect score and a perfect book.

  • Robert says:

    “You’re more than justa mimic, when ya gotta gimmick-take a look how special you are”…..

  • John says:

    Company – because it changed everything. It was here that Sondheim dared go where no other creater of musical theater dared go. Company gave birth to the modern American musical and paved the way for productions like Rent, Next to Normal, and the rest of the Sondheim portfolio.

  • MJ says:

    Company is my favorite Sondheim! I love the music and feel like its a story that relates to everyone!

  • Amanda Hutt says:

    So hard to choose between Company, Sweeney Todd, Into the Woods, and Sunday in the Park…
    but I will say Company because that is what this contest is for.

  • PK Greenfield says:

    “Follies,” smears the grease paint off comedy while buffing the patina on tragedy. A play on its title and a musical within a musical, we witness the decay of marriage with couples past their prime—all told against the backdrop of their showtime halcyon days as performers. Sondheim brilliantly constructs their stories with one foot in the past and the other in the present and more layers than a Ziegfeld (Weismann) staircase.

  • Alex Jorth says:

    Merrily We Roll Along – I love the backwards ride through the story… to see their relationships self destruct in reverse. Makes it even more heartbreaking for some reason.

  • Noah B says:

    Into the Woods… because it truley brings forth the meaning of life from what seems like a few simple fairy tales.

  • Dana Marie says:

    I agree with John
    ” Company – because it changed everything. It was here that Sondheim dared go where no other creater of musical theater dared go. Company gave birth to the modern American musical and paved the way for productions like Rent, Next to Normal, and the rest of the Sondheim portfolio. ”
    Assassins was also very original and daring. I would Love to see this movie –

  • Dana Marie says:

    insightful – I haven’t seen Sunday in the Park – rather I saw the vid of it when I was very young and I don’t think it resonated with me at the time – I think I will check it out again!

  • says:

    Not possible to choose a fave Sodheim. Only willing to go w/ eras. I strongly prefer the Sondheim/Prince musicals as they, for me, are quintessential. So those are;
    Company, Follies, A Little Night Music, Pacific Overtures, Merrily We Roll Along – did I miss anything? I lovelovelove him soooooooooo much, that truly he can do no wrong. Latter stuff – Passion and onward – a little dark storywise. But I really enjoyed Bounce – more than Road Show.
    But my heart will always belong to Sondheim. Even he knows that. I write him every now and then. Write him! He writes back!!!!

  • Laura Elizabeth says:

    It’s a tough call for me between Passion, A Little Night Music, and Company, but I think I have to go with Passion. There was a time I was simply explaining the plot to a friend and I got emotional just remembering it. I love how into it the audience became. Sometimes they would cheer when Fosca passed out in the rain and they would boo when Georgio changed his mind and decided to carry her home. It’s so perfect how a musical titled “Passion” can evoke such passion and even hostility in it’s viewers. It will always receive a strong response. Whether it’s positive or negative, people will leave the theatre with plenty to talk about.

  • Trish says:

    Into the Woods.
    No one but sondheim can make sexual innuendo sound so beautiful.

  • Eric says:

    Merrily We Roll Along… because it opened doors… get it?

  • Robert says:

    Sweeney Todd, because it’s simultaneously funny and tense and the music is bloody good.

  • Jeryl Marcus says:

    Sweeney Todd because it’s very dark and has the best soundtrack.

  • Lorelei Mackenzie says:

    Assassins because only Sondheim would be able to make us compassionate towards people who try to shoot presidents.

  • Lauren C. says:

    Company. It was my gateway into all things Sondheim. It was also one of my first shows where I had a major role (Amy)!

  • Vana says:

    A Little Night Music. I love Send in the Clowns!
    Company I also live Being Alive!

  • Rose says:

    Because he is always in his own good “Company”!

  • Sabra says:

    West Side Story if we’re just talking lyrics, Merrily We Roll Along if we’re talking the whole package

  • Tina says:

    Follies. I feel uncomfortable watching the show every time (seen it twice at City Center), and the music is the best of any Sondheim show.

  • Jake says:

    Into the Woods because the music is beautiful and clever and uniquely Sondheim.

  • Yannick says:

    Into The Woods, because the first half makes it the perfect kid’s show, and the second half makes it the perfect show.

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