Interesting question. I mean, there’s a lot of reasons. From a music standpoint, I don’t think there’s any musical theatre composer ever with a more varied output, sound-wise. He’s a musical chameleon, blending his own theatrical sensibilities with the air of authenticity to whatever setting he’s writing for—he effortlessly goes from Bacharachian 70s New York to the old Ziegfeld follies to the waltzing Swedish countrysides to the style of Kabuki theatre to the blood-soaked streets of Victorian England. And that’s all in one decade. But the varied music wouldn’t mean anything unless it was actually good—which it is. Very, very good. Effortless is the word that comes to mind, because you can’t see any strain in any of his tonal changes, and that practically all of his shows have produced at least one song that could be included in a “very best of musical theatre” list is testament to that.
Lyrically, he’s a goddamn acrobat, but I don’t think anyone would argue with that. “Withers wither with her” and all that.
Dramat(urg?)ically, there’s his constant boundary-stretching. It’s ballsy and almost always pays off. Company became a mirror on 1970s New Yorkers in the theatre, which had never been done before. Sweeney Todd made a tragic, soaring operetta out of a horrifying and grisly urban legend. Merrily We Roll Along goes backwards. Pacific Overtures is, of course, unlike literally anything else to ever play on Broadway. It doesn’t always pay off—Anyone Can Whistle is far too clever for its own good, and I don’t think Broadway audiences will ever truly be ready for something like Pacific Overtures—but he’s actually trying and that’s what matters. If you’re not challenging yourself, why do it? Steve-o is almost always challenging himself.
And then humanistically, he just has this knack of tapping into something deep inside people that few other artists have. You’ll likely have an emotional reaction to Into the Woods no matter how young you are, but it’ll be drastically different from when you’re 16 to when you’re 40. “Being Alive”, “Losing My Mind”, “Moments in the Woods”, “Our Time”, “No More”, “Finishing the Hat”, even “Send in the Clowns”—these aren’t just songs designed to sell sheet music. These are musical representations of the human experience, and that’s something you just don’t get with every composer.
Like I get that some people may not totally gel with his writing style, but if any “serious” theatre student says they don’t like Sondheim, then I think they’re just not looking hard enough.
My sister is selling the house we live in. It’s a good idea.
Her intent is to rent a two bedroom apartment for us, despite my limited ability to help with anything financial.
If that happens, my sister will no doubt have to deal with me and my remains after I die, which, I suspect, will be quite soon, considering I’ve come so close recently and have outlived expectations anyway.
Every night, I take my ativan and my ambien with a glass of wine. (usually, I’ve had more than a few glasses before I get to my meds) hoping that I don’t wake up the next morning. So far, no luck.
But now, now that the house is going on the market and she will be making a fresh start, I’m thinking I might amp things up toward the end of the selling process, so that if I die in my sleep in this house, she won’t be left living with the ghosts. She’d already be committed to a new life and could start it fresh and without me being the burden that I have been.
Daily Overview is a new project that shares one satellite photo from Digital Globes a day in an attempt to change the way we see our planet Earth. The project was inspired by the Overview Effect experience, which is a cognitive shift of perspective and worldview experienced by the astronauts when they get to see the planet Earth from space for the first time.