The Essential Musical Dramatist Who Taught Us to Hear: Stewart Laing

Previous lists … We’ve highlighted some of the best plays in the history of theatre in our The Essential Musical Dramatist Who Taught Us to Hear series. This time, we’re bringing you the lesser-known bits

Startups … using the multimedia illusion created by Peter Sellars for his staging of Sondheim’s Company. Photograph: Beverly Newsome/CIVIL WAR

Nowadays, when we encounter small doses of Sondheim in the theatre, it’s as an exquisitely tragic chorus in Spring Awakening, a high-energy narrative engine in the recent Company, or a little-known small-scale monologue in the recent Pippin. And it’s for this reason that I’m honoured to be able to bring together the best stuff from the archive for The Essential Musical Dramatist Who Taught Us to Hear – also known as the Sondheim Yearbook.

Marilyn Fairman’s show about Meryl Streep at 60 Read more

The Month of Sondheim, and its less reputed predecessor, Month of Verdi, both have long histories but, under the right circumstances, can be very moving. Likewise, the Sondheim Yearbook features some very pretty shows and pieces, as well as mostly in-depth treatment of the man himself.

The list of frequently performed shows named in The Essential Musical Dramatist Who Taught Us to Hear is comprised of. In alphabetical order, they are On the Town, Company, Sweeney Todd, Sunday in the Park with George, West Side Story, A Little Night Music, Sunday in the Park with George, Sondheim at 40, Sunday in the Park with George, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, A Little Night Music, A Little Night Music, Indecent, Passion, Dreamgirls, Gypsy, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, Follies, Sondheim on Sondheim, Company, Into the Woods, Pacific Overtures, Sunday in the Park with George, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Passion, Company, A Little Night Music, Sondheim at 40, Assassins and Into the Woods.

Most of the pieces are from America, although I’m also proud to have included some from abroad. On this side of the Atlantic, Sondheim has created some notable works including Gashlycrumb Tinies, the seven-part London Evening Standard theatre review in the 1980s that featured music and lyrics by Sondheim and book by Jeffrey Hatcher and Melanie Grossman, as well as Dick of the Midwich Cuckoos.

Time of the Assassins review – seductive, tender Sondheim revue Read more

Looking to the future? Though there isn’t much more than a nod to new material from Sondheim, like the brilliant 80s original closing-night production of Company. It wouldn’t be surprising to find Sondheim on my list later in this list. It would be appropriate, too, given that it was our version of Month of Sondheim.

Here’s the whole Playlist post (complete with composer Sondheim’s notes). Enjoy!

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