Responsible for scores of Broadway scores including A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Company, Follies, A Little Night Music, Sweeney Todd, Sunday in the Park with George, Into the Woods, and Assassins, Stephen Sondheim is arguably the most influential artist in American musical theater. He has won seven Tony Awards (more than any other composer) as well as the Special Tony for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre, multiple Grammy Awards, an Academy Award and a Pulitzer Prize.
In a continuation of his Fall 2008 series highlighting Sondheim’s early career and collaborations, Paul Hope will examine the composer’s later works and legacy, and his influence on today’s emerging composers. As usual, Mr. Hope will enhance his presentation with vintage film clips and recordings of songs.
October 19: “Stay a Child While You Can Be a Child.” Elaborating upon last fall’s series, this session will focus on Sondheim’s life leading up to his successes in the 1970s. We will examine his pivotal mid-career shows, Merrily We Roll Along, Sunday in the Park with George, and Into the Woods.
October 26: “Art, in itself, is an attempt to bring order out of chaos.” This session will highlight Sondheim’s later life and career to the present day, exploring his increasingly daring works – Assassins, Passion, and Bounce, and, finally, The Frogs, his foray into ancient Greek comedy.
November 2: “It's the greatest, It's the single, It's the only, It's the perfect, It's the Hi Dreadful Fabulous.” In this final session, Mr. Hope will talk about Sondheim’s legacy. As evidence of the inspiration he provided other composers, we will consider Adam Guettel’s Light in the Piazza, Michael John LaChiusa’s The Wild Party, and Jason Robert Brown’s Parade. This may be the most exciting session of all!
Through a special arrangement with the Society for the Performing Arts, Seminar participants enrolled in this series will be able to purchase priority, discounted tickets for the SPA’s presentation of Stephen Sondheim in a rare onstage appearance with New York Times columnist and former chief drama critic Frank Rich, Sunday, October 25, 7:30 P.M., Jones Hall.
Paul Hope is a member of the Alley Theatre’s Company of Actors and has appeared on the Alley stages for fifteen seasons in a wide range of roles, most recently in his highly acclaimed performance as Beverly Carlton (the Noel Coward character) in The Man Who Came to Dinner. He is a veteran of thirty Theater Under the Stars productions and is making his Houston Shakespeare Festival debut this summer as Malvolio in Twelfth Night. He is the founding artistic director of Bayou City Concert Musicals, which for nine years has presented concert stagings of neglected musicals with professional local casts. BCCM has also, under Mr. Hope’s direction, instituted a cabaret series paying tribute to Broadway’s greatest songwriters.
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