Article and photos by Ramona du Houx
On Nov 12-14, 2015 Bowdoin College put on a musical that could have been on Broadway. Sondheim on Sondheim is an intimate portrait of the famed songwriter in his own words and music which was taken from nineteen Sondheim shows produced over a 62 year period.
The voices of the cast were extraordinary. Eleven students, most of whom are not drama majors, excelled in their roles. The set designs and lighting reflected and evoked the times in which Sondheim lived.
The play was directed by the University of Maine’s Ed Reichert and featured a talented cast singing well-known, rarely-heard, and cut material featuring video commentary from the master himself.
The music and lyrics are by Stephen Sondheim, and the play was conceived by James Lapine, who originally directed the Broadway production.
Stephen Sondheim is one of the country’s most influential theater composers and lyricists. His work has helped define American theater with shows such as Company, West Side Story, Gypsy, Sweeney Todd, Sunday in the Park with George, and Into the Woods. Sondheim has received eight Grammy Awards, eight Tony Awards, an Academy Award, and the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. Sondheim also founded Young Playwrights, Inc., to develop and promote the work of American playwrights aged 18 and younger.