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Stephen Sondheim, the person most responsible for the modernization of the American musical, died late last month at 91.
A protégé of Oscar Hammerstein II, Sondheim brought complexity and intricacy to the union of lyric and music, helping to elevate the form somewhere past straightforward entertainment and into the American intellectual zeitgeist. He was most acclaimed for his run in the 1970s and 1980s, which included “Company” (1970), “Follies” (1971), “Sweeney Todd” (1979), “Sunday in the Park With George” (1984) and “Into the Woods” (1987). A revival of “Company” with a gender-swapped lead role is currently in previews on Broadway.
On this week’s Popcast, a conversation about Sondheim’s legacy, his engagements with pop music, how his musicals have aged and whether he has any true inheritors in the current generation of lyricist-composers.
Jesse Green, The New York Times’s chief theater critic
Elisabeth Vincentelli, who writes about theater, music and television for The New York Times
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