Stephen Sondheim: The outstanding men and women of musical theatre

If you have ever gone to the theatre and heard someone talking in a bad voice, known to us as the “singers voice”, it is highly likely they were auditioning for a musical. Many are probably inspired by Stephen Sondheim’s work. His latest stage adaptation, Fever Dream, opens at London’s Wyndham’s Theatre on 13 November.

Sondheim himself was characteristically open about his frustration at a lack of shows written for women; “who sings what for whom in what to choose”. “I think that’s because they haven’t come up with enough,” he said.

He too has sung. “They can’t think of anything. Oh, they have great tricks of juggling… but they all sound the same. There aren’t enough,” he told the New York Times in 2008. “There are a few that come close, but they won’t get produced because they’re, shall we say, decidedly not commercially viable.

“It’s always fine to have critics bashing somebody. I’d love to get through my whole career without getting the snarky thing. But there are a few that are guilty of that. My critics are pretty good, though.”

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