Stephen Sondheim

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Stephen Sondheim was born March 22, 1930 in New York City. At about the age of ten he became friends with the son of lyricist/playwright Oscar Hammerstein II, who taught Sondheim the basics of the musical when Sondheim came to him with a show he had written for a school performance. Sondheim went on to study composition with the composer Milton Babbitt

At the age of 25 Sondheim wrote the lyrics to West Side Story, accompanying Leonard Bernstein's music and Arthur Laurents's book. In 1959 he wrote the lyrics to the musical Gypsy, which had music by Jule Styne and a book again by Laurents. Finally in 1962 Sonheim saw a musical for which he wrote both the music and lyrics, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, open on Broadway. His next musical, Anyone Can Whistle, was a financial failure, though it has developed a cult following. He subsequently wrote lyrics only to one more show, Do I Hear a Waltz, with music by Richard Rodgers, and from then on provided both music and lyrics to a series of critically acclaimed musicals: