Sondheim: A Chronology  

Unless noted, all music and lyrics are by Stephen Sondheim (SS).
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March 22, 1930
Stephen Joshua Sondheim is born in New York City to Janet Fox and Herbert Sondheim

SS begins piano lessons

SS's parents divorce and he moves with his mother to rural Pennsylvania, becoming acquainted with the neighbors, Oscar Hammerstein II and family

SS enters the George School in Newtown, PA

SS and friends write the school musical By George

SS enters Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts, intending to major in mathematics

During his summer vacation, SS is a gopher on the set of Rodgers' and Hammerstein's Allegro

Phinney's Rainbow
May, 1948
Phinney's Rainbow is performed at Williams College

All That Glitters
March, 1949
All That Glitters is performed at Williams College

SS graduates from Williams (magna cum laude), receives the Hutchinson Prize, which allows him to study under Milton Babbitt

SS is the clapper boy during the filming in Italy of John Huston's Beat the Devil

1953 - 1954
SS writes episodes of the CBS television series Topper

A television musical adaptation of Frank Stockton's The Lady or the Tiger? written with Mary Rodgers is abandoned

SS's first Broadway effort Saturday Night is abandoned when the producer dies

SS writes the incidental music for the Broadway production The Girls of Summer

Another Broadway musical attempt The Last Resorts is scrapped

SS is chosen to write the lyrics for West Side Story with music by Leonard Bernstein

West Side Story
September 26, 1957
West Side Story (music by Leonard Bernstein; book by Arthur Laurents) opens on Broadway

January 6, 1957
SS is writer for the CBS television series "The Last Word", a panel discussion exploring language and usage

SS is asked to write the songs for Arthur Laurents' book of Gypsy; at Ethel Merman's request another composer (Jule Styne) is brought in, so SS writes lyrics only

May 21, 1959
Gypsy (music by Jule Styne; book by Arthur Laurents) opens on Broadway

November, 1959
SS (with Jule Styne) is nominated for (but doesn't win) the Grammy Award for Song of the Year for "Small World" from Gypsy

SS writes the incidental music for Arthur Laurents' play Invitation to a March

October, 1961
Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins' film of West Side Story is released, winning ten Academy Awards (but none for its principal creators)

May 8, 1962
The first Broadway production with lyrics AND music by SS A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (book by Burt Shevelove and Larry Gelbart) opens

Forum wins the Tony Award for best musical, the first of many for SS

April 4 - 11, 1964
Anyone Can Whistle (book by Arthur Laurents) has 9 performances on Broadway

March 8, 1965
Do I Hear a Waltz? (music by Richard Rodgers; book by Arthur Laurents) opens on Broadway

SS and James Goldman begin work on The Girls Upstairs, which would eventually evolve into Follies (1971)

Richard Lester's film of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum is released (without most of Sondheim's songs)

November 16, 1966
A one-hour musical drama Evening Primrose (four songs by SS; teleplay by James Goldman) is telecast on ABC

The Exception and the Rule [aka A Pray by Blecht], a musical with music by Leonard Bernstein and lyrics by SS is abandoned

1968 - 1969
SS's crossword puzzles appear in New York magazine

Harold Prince agrees to produce The Girls Upstairs after SS agrees to help with a series of playlets by George Furth, which would eventually become Company

April 26, 1970
Company (book by George Furth) opens on Broadway; this and all new SS Broadway productions through 1981 are directed by Harold Prince

March 16, 1971
SS wins his first Grammy Award for Best Score from an Original Cast Show Album for Company

April 4, 1971
Follies (book by James Goldman) opens on Broadway

October 13, 1971
A revival of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum opens in Los Angeles, California (moves to Broadway on April 4, 1972)

February 25, 1973
A Little Night Music (book by Hugh Wheeler) opens on Broadway. For an unprecedented third year in a row SS wins the Tony Award for Best Score of a Musical

March 11, 1973
A benefit concert honoring SS is performed on the set of A Little Night Music, released as Sondheim: A Musical Tribute

March 29, 1973
Gypsy (with Angela Lansbury) opens in London (moves to Broadway on September 23, 1974)

April 23, 1973
SS appears on the cover of Newsweek

The film The Last of Sheila is released with a screenplay by SS and Anthony Perkins

SS is brought in to help with the lyrics for Harold Prince's revival of Leonard Bernstein's Candide

First edition of Sondheim & Co., Craig Zadan's biography of SS is published

March 10, 1974
Candide with lyrical revisions by SS opens on Broadway

May 15, 1974
Alain Resnais' film Stavisky is released in France with a score by SS [US release in December, 1974]

May 20, 1974
The Frogs (book and direction by Burt Shevelove) is performed in the Yale Swimming Pool

July 26, 1975
Judy Collins' recording of "Send in the Clowns" enters into the Billboard Top 40 chart

January 11, 1976
Pacific Overtures (book by John Weidman) opens on Broadway

February 28, 1976
SS wins the Grammy Award for Song of the Year for "Send in the Clowns"

May 4, 1976
Side by Side by Sondheim, a musical revue (directed by Ned Sherrin), opens in London (moves to Broadway on April 18, 1977)

March, 1978
Harold Prince's film of A Little Night Music is released

March 1, 1979
Sweeney Todd (book by Hugh Wheeler) opens on Broadway

February 14, 1980
Revival of West Side Story opens on Broadway

October 29, 1980
Marry Me a Little, a musical revue of obscure and/or discarded songs by SS (conceived by Craig Lucas and Norman Rene), opens off-Broadway

November 16 - 28, 1981
Merrily We Roll Along (book by George Furth) has 16 performances on Broadway; the Harold Prince / SS partnership comes to an end

December, 1981
Warren Beatty's film Reds is released with a score by SS

March 23, 1983
Concerts in honor of SS are performed at Sotheby Parke Bernet, NYC; released as A Stephen Sondheim Evening

July 6, 1983
Workshop performances of Sunday in the Park with George begin

May 2, 1984
Sunday in the Park with George (book and direction by James Lapine) opens on Broadway

March 22, 1984
The revised Pacific Overtures opens off-Broadway (moves to Broadway on October 25, 1984)

July 14, 1984
Harold Prince's opera-house version of Sweeney Todd opens in Houston, Texas (opens at the New York City Opera on October 11, 1984)

April 14, 1985
SS and James Lapine are awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Sunday in the Park with George

June 16, 1985
The revised Merrily We Roll Along (directed by James Lapine) opens in La Jolla, California

September 6 - 7, 1985
All-star concert performances of Follies is performed at Lincoln Center, NYC; released as Follies in Concert

November 18, 1985
Barbra Streisand's The Broadway Album is released, with eight SS songs (three with lyrical revision by SS); hits #1 on the Billboard album chart

December 4, 1986
Workshop performances of Into the Woods (book and direction by James Lapine) begin in San Diego, California

July 24, 1987
A major revision of Follies (with new songs by SS and a new book by James Goldman) opens in London

November 5, 1987
Into the Woods opens on Broadway

November 16, 1989
Another revival of Gypsy opens on Broadway

June 15, 1990
Warren Beatty's film Dick Tracy is released with five songs by SS

December 18, 1990
Assassins (book by John Weidman) opens off-Broadway

SS wins the Academy Award for Best Song for "Sooner or Later" from Dick Tracy

January 27, 1992
Putting It Together, a musical revue (devised by SS and Julia McKenzie), opens in Oxford, England (Opens in New York on April 1, 1993)

June 10, 1992
A benefit concert honoring SS is performed at Carnegie Hall; released as Sondheim: A Celebration at Carnegie Hall

An attempt at a film musical Singing Out Loud (screenplay by William Goldman with songs by SS) is abandoned

March / April, 1993
Original cast reunion concerts of Company are performed

December 5, 1993
SS is a recipient of the Kennedy Center Honors

December 12, 1993
A filmed version of Gypsy starring Bette Midler (and quite faithful to the stage version) is televised on CBS

May 9, 1994
Passion (book and direction by James Lapine) opens on Broadway

May 15, 1994
Tenth anniversary reunion concert of Sunday in the Park with George is performed

May 26, 1994
The New York debut of the revised Merrily We Roll Along opens at the York Theatre

April 8, 1995
All-star benefit concert performance of Anyone Can Whistle is recorded

The Kennedy Center announces that they have commissioned SS and John Weidman to write a musical (tentatively titled Wise Guys), based on the life of the Mizner brothers, a project SS has had on the back burner for forty years

September 10, 1995
SS and George Furth's non-musical play, The Doctor is Out, opens in San Diego, California

October 5, 1995
First major New York revival of Company opens off-Broadway. Plans to move to Broadway in December are scrapped

March 8, 1996
Mike Nichols' film The Birdcage is released with three songs by SS

March 17 - 31, 1996
The Doctor is Out, retitled Getting Away With Murder, opens on Broadway for 17 performances

April 18, 1996
A smash hit revival of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum opens on Broadway

January 9, 1997
SS accepts the National Medal of Arts from the National Endowment for the Arts

April 17, 1997
Another reworking of Candide opens on Broadway with additional lyrics by SS

November 9, 1997
Benefit concerts of Into the Woods are performed on Broadway by the original cast to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the show

December 17, 1997
More than 40 years after it is written, the first full production of Saturday Night opens at the Bridewell Theatre, London

Sondheim [by Meryle Secrest] June, 1998
Stephen Sondheim: A Life, a major biography by Meryle Secrest, is published

March 12-14, 1999
Concert performances of Sweeney Todd are presented in Los Angeles to commemorate its twentieth anniversary

May 19, 1999
The American Premiere of Saturday Night is produced by Chicago's Pegasus Players

October 29, 1999
A workshop of Wise Guys is presented by the New York Theatre Workshop

November 21, 1999
The first Broadway production of Putting It Together opens

Saturday Night, New York Cast

January 18, 2000
Previews of the New York premiere of Saturday Night begin at the Second Stage Theatre

May 4 - 6, 2000
Three concert performances of Sweeney Todd are presented by the New York Philharmonic to celebrate Sondheim's 70th birthday

May 22, 2000
The Library of Congress celebrates Sondheim's birthday with a concert in Washington DC

December 1, 2000
The London premiere of Merrily We Roll Along opens at the Donmar Warehouse

March 8, 2001
Previews begin for the first Broadway revival of Follies.  It closes on July 14, 2001

July 19 - 21, 2001
Three concerts of Sweeney Todd are performed in San Francisco and filmed for a television broadcast on October 31, 2001

September 13, 2001
Plans for the first Broadway production of Assassins (originally scheduled for November) are scrapped due to the tragic events of September 11, 2001

The Frogs

October 16, 2001
The world premiere recording of the score from The Frogs is released


February 1, 2002
Previews begin in Los Angeles for a new production of Into the Woods.  It opens on Broadway on April 30, 2002

May 10, 2002
The opening night performance of Sweeney Todd begins the four-month long Kennedy Center Sondheim Celebration in Washington DC

July 9, 2002
A limited engagement of Amon Miyamoto's Japanese-language version of Pacific Overtures opens at Lincoln Center in NYC and later in the year plays at the Kennedy Center in Washington DC


May 1, 2003
Another revival of Gypsy, this time starring Bernadette Peters, opens on Broadway

June 30, 2003
Previews begin at the Goodman Theatre in Chicago for the world premiere production of Bounce, the first new SS musical in nine years (and SS's first work with Hal Prince in more than twenty years)

October 30, 2003
The Kennedy Center production of Bounce opens at the Eisenhower Theatre in Washington


March 26, 2004
Previews of the first Broadway production of Assassins begin at Studio 54, opening on April 22

July 9, 2004
The Royal National Theatre revival of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum opens in London

July 22, 2004
An revised and expanded production of The Frogs adapted by Nathan Lane and with several new songs by SS opens at Lincoln Center

October 20, 2004
Most of the original Broadway cast of Passion return for a Tenth Anniversary Concert

December 2, 2004
Another Broadway revival of Pacific Overtures opens at Studio 54.  It is an English-language version of Amon Miyamoto's New National Theatre version


March, 2005
Several tribute concerts are performed to celebrate the 75th birthday of SS, including Wall to Wall Stephen Sondheim on March 19, Children and Art on March 21, and later in the year, Stephen Sondheim's 75th: The Concert on July 8

May 10, 2005
Stephen Sondheim Sings, the first volume of SS demos performed by the composer is released on PS Classics.  A second volume appears in October

October 3, 2005
Previews begin for another Broadway revival of Sweeney Todd


May 13, 2006
The Menier Chocolate Factory production of Sunday in the Park With George transfers to the Wyndham's Theater, London, becoming the first West End revival of that show.

October 30, 2006
Another Broadway revival of Company begins previews at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre.


February 8-12, 2007
Encores! presents a concert version of Follies at New York City Center.

March 4, 2007
An animated SS voiced by the man himself appears on an episode of the animated television series The Simpsons.

December 21, 2007
The film version of Sweeney Todd, directed by Tim Burton, opens in theaters nationwide in the US.


January 25, 2008
The 2006 London revival of Sunday in the Park With George transfers to New York City's Studio 54, becoming the show's first Broadway revival.

March 3,2008
The fifth Broadway production of Gypsy begins previews at the St. James Theatre.

May, 2008
The first authorized release of the soundtrack recording from the 1966 television special Evening Primrose.

June 15, 2008
SS is presented a Special Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Theater.

September 30, 2008
The Story So Far..., a career-spanning box set celebrating the work of Stephen Sondheim, is released in the US.

October 28, 2008
Previews begin for Road Show, a revision of the show previously known as Bounce, for a limited Off-Broadway run at The Public Theater.

November 22, 2008
A new production of A Little Night Music opens at the Menier Chocolate Factory in London. It will transfer to the West End's Garrick Theatre in March, 2009, and then open on Broadway later in the year.


January 12, 2009
A Gala Concert reading of A Little Night Music is presented at Studio 54, NYC.

February 23, 2009
Previews for a Broadway revival of West Side Story begin at the Palace Theatre.

November 24, 2009
Previews for a Broadway revival (based on the London production} of A Little Night Music begin at the Walter Kerr Theatre.


March 10, 2010
The London revival of Anyone Can Whistle opens at the Jermyn Street Theatre.

March 15, 2010
Sondheim's 80th birthday is celebrated by the New York Philharmonic and guests at Lincoln Center in New York City. Several more celebrations are held the following months: Encores! concerts of Anyone Can Whistle in April, and concerts at New York City Center in April, the Royal Philharmonic, London in April, Kennedy Center, Washington DC in May, Ravinia Festival, near Chicago in July, and the BBC Proms at the Royal Albert Hall, London in July.

March 19, 2010
Previews begin at Studio 54 for Sondheim on Sondheim, a new multi-media revue of his work, conceived and directed by James Lapine.

March 22, 2010
At a birthday gala at Roundabout's Studio 54, Sondheim is surprised to learn that a Broadway theatre will be renamed in his honor. The former Henry Miller's Theatre on West 43rd Street is now the Stephen Sondheim Theatre.

October 26, 2010
The first part of Sondheim's collected lyrics, titled Finishing the Hat: Collected Lyrics (1954-1981) with Attendant Comments, Principles, Heresies, Grudges, Whines and Anecdotes, will be published by Alfred A. Knopf.

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Last modified on Tuesday, August 17, 2010
Compiled by Michael H. Hutchins