Soundtrack Compilation

The Essential Stephen Sondheim

Performed By: Various Artists

Distributed by: Masterworks Broadway

Reviewed by Melissa Minners


                For over half a century, American composer Stephen Sondheim has contributed music and lyrics to musical theatre.  Heís been awarded eight Tony Awards, eight Grammys, an Oscar, a Pulitzer Prize, five Oliviers and the Presidential Medal of Freedom.  To celebrate this award Broadway composer and lyricists, Masterworks Broadway has released a new collection of his works.

                The Essential Stephen Sondheim is a two-CD collection featuring songs from his decadesí long career.  The song selection spans from West Side Story (1957) through Passion (1994), and also includes important works from his forays into television and film.  They are performed by such notable artists as Bernadette Peters, Mandy Patinkin, Ethel Merman, Angela Lansbury, Victor Garber, Carol Burnett, Rita Moreno, Lee Remick, Peabo Bryson and more.

                Though not a fan of all of Sondheimís works, I truly enjoyed the songs from West Side Story, Gypsy, Into the Woods, A Little Night Music, Follies and Sweeney Todd.  I had a great deal of fun singing along with the songs I did know like America, Tonight, Somewhere, Everythingís Coming Up Roses, You Gotta Have a Gimmick, A Weekend in the Country, Send in the Clowns and A Little Priest (a song I canít help but laugh at each time I hear it).  I also enjoyed listening to quite a few songs I never heard before.

                The Essential Stephen Sondheim is a diverse representation of the great works created by this talented lyricist and composer and every Sondheim fan will be happy to own this collection.


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