Featured Speaker: Steven Adler, MFA
April 11: Overview and Influences: Saturday Night, West Side Story, Gypsy
Stephen Sondheim, the privileged only child of a dress manufacturer and an interior designer, grew up to become the most revered musical theatre artist of the second half of the twentieth century. How did Oscar Hammerstein II, Leonard Bernstein, Arthur Laurents, Harold Prince, Mary Rodgers, and Jerome Robbins influence him? What were the challenges for a 20-something novice in the world of 1950s musical theatre? What were the frustrations of writing only lyrics for two hit musicals?
April 25: Establishing a Reputation: A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Anyone Can Whistle, Do I Hear a Waltz, Company (part 1)
Sondheim finally emerged as a lyricist and composer with a certified hit ... only to then suffer a certified flop. What is a “why” musical? What is a “concept musical”? How did Sondheim, after a decade fraught with artistic challenges, finally break through with one of the most highly regarded musicals in history?
May 9: The Sondheim-Prince Collaboration: Company (part 2), Follies, A Little Night Music, Pacific Overtures, Sweeney Todd, Merrily We Roll Along
Sondheim’s work with Harold Prince was the most successful pairing of a writer and director since Chekhov and Stanislavski. How did these two longtime friends, despite their differing artistic inclinations, create a series of musicals that redefined the genre? What eventually brought to a close the Sondheim-Prince collaboration?
May 23: Rebirth and Legacy: Sunday in the Park With George, Into the Woods, Assassins, Passion, Road Show
Sondheim almost gave up writing musicals in the early 1980s, but his next collaboration, with playwright-director James Lapine, gave him a new perspective and new artistic life. Why did Sondheim experience a renewed burst of creativity at the age of 53? How did Sondheim’s musicals and his perspective on his career and his art create a lasting legacy for the next generation? What was, to Sondheim, “the sacred profession”?
Steven Adler, Professor Emeritus/Provost Emeritus at UC San Diego (BA University of Buffalo; MFA Penn State University), stage managed on and off Broadway, on national tours, and in regional theatres, including nine productions at La Jolla Playhouse. He is the author of books about the Royal Shakespeare Company and producing on Broadway, as well as chapters for musical-theatre anthologies by Oxford University Press and Routledge Press. He joined the UCSD faculty in 1987 and is Past President of the UCSD Emeriti Association.
Coordinator: Joel E. Dimsdale
4/11/2023 1:00 PM - 3:00 PM
4/25/2023 1:00 PM - 3:00 PM
5/9/2023 1:00 PM - 3:00 PM
5/23/2023 1:00 PM - 3:00 PM
Included with membership, no registration required.