Happy 80th to Stephen Sondheim, American Composer and Lyricist

Today we celebrate Stephen Sondheim’s 80th birthday.  Born on March 22, 1930, Sondheim is responsible for so many of the wonderful musical songs that we love to sing.

Stephen Sondheim, March 22nd, 1930

Growing up in New York, with tutoring by the great Oscar Hammerstein, Sondheim developed into one of the most prestigious composers and lyricists.  He’s been awarded Grammy Awards, a Pulitzer Prize, Tony Awards and an Academy Award.

West Side Story, gave Sondheim the recognition he deserved and has become his best known work, although he thought he could do better.


Maria, from West Side Story, lyrics by Stephen Sondheim



Although we love West Side Story, Sondheim was right, he could do better and did.   Sondheim went on to compose and write for many musicals, garnering him multiple awards.  In addition to the multiple Grammy and Tony Awards, in 1991 he won the Academy Award for Best Original Song, for Sooner or Later, as sung by Madonna for the film Dick Tracy (1991).


Madonna sings Sooner or Later,  composed by Stephen Sondheim, from Dick Tracy

Madonna performed the song Sooner or Later in the film Dick Tracy, and outshone herself with her performance of the song at the Oscars, ranked by Billboard as No. 7 on its list of 10 Awesome Oscar Live performances.



Stephen Sondheim 80th Birthday Celebrations:

  • New York Philharmonic celebrated Sondheim’s 80th with special concerts on March 15th and 16th.  The concerts will be broadcast on PBS Great Performances during the 2010-2011 season.
  • The Roundabout Theatre (non-profit New York theatre) will hold a benefit concert on March 22nd, 2010
  • New York City will hold a concert April 26th, 2010,  to benefit Young Playwrights Inc.
  • Stephen Sondheim Society gives you the chance to give your birthday wish via an online text form.


Celebrate Sondheim’s 80th with karaoke – sing West Side Story

Why not sing a song from West Side Story for Stephen Sondheim’s 80th birthday today?

For inspiration, here is Sdeslaur singing I Feel Pretty in the style of West Side Story


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