Updated Tue, Mar 6, 2012 4:50 pm
Great Performances: Sondheim! The Birthday Concert
Friday, March 23, 9:30 p.m.
From his early years under the tutelage of friend and mentor Oscar Hammerstein II and continuing through the groundbreaking productions of his later career, Stephen Sondheim has been a singular voice in the American musical theater, a true original in the pantheon of major American songwriters and composers. Beginning with his collaborations as lyricist on such fabled shows as West Side Story and Gypsy, to his breakthrough scores for Company, Follies, A Little Night Music, Sweeney Todd, Sunday in the Park With George and Into the Woods, Sondheim led the way from Broadway’s golden age into the increasingly ambivalent times of America’s post-Vietnam, rock ‘n’ roll culture. On the occasion of Sondheim’s 80th birthday in March 2010, GREAT PERFORMANCES presents the New York Philharmonic’s gala all-star salute to a true Broadway legend. David Hyde Pierce hosts the celebration, which includes such acclaimed Sondheim alumni as Laura Benanti, Michael Cerveris, Victoria Clark, Jason Danieley, Joanna Gleason, Nathan Gunn, George Hearn, Patti LuPone, Marin Mazzie, Audra McDonald, Donna Murphy, Karen Olivo and dancers from the current West Side Story revival, Mandy Patinkin, Bernadette Peters, Elaine Stritch and Chip Zien. Longtime Sondheim music director Paul Gemignani conducts.