[[quoteright:350:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/73628d953356ff5a317261a05abcf5dc.png]]

->''"Audience enters into the brand new underground Henry Miller Theater, soon to-be-christened the STEPHEN SONDHEIM THEATER. It is under-attended, more modern than you're comfortable with, and requires you to travel deeper down than you think you ought to. \\
\\
Good job with the naming, Roundabout."''

-->--[[http://www.broadwayabridged.com/ Broadway Abridged]]

Stephen Sondheim (born March 22, 1930 in New York City) is one of the 20th Century's most respected composers of [[TheMusical musicals]]. He's won seven Tony Awards, an Academy Award, several Grammy Awards, and the UsefulNotes/PulitzerPrize. He began on Broadway as a lyricist, and then began writing his own music. Critics of his work complain that the songs are too complex and unhummable, which he went on to [[LampshadeHanging lampshade]] in such works as ''Merrily We Roll Along'' and ''Theatre/SundayInTheParkWithGeorge''.
----
!!Works:
* ''Saturday Night'' (1954, though unproduced until 1997) (book by Julius J. Epstein and Philip G. Epstein)
* ''Theatre/WestSideStory'' (1957) (music by Music/LeonardBernstein; book by Arthur Laurents; directed by Jerome Robbins)
* ''Theatre/{{Gypsy}}'' (1959) (music by Jule Styne; book by Arthur Laurents; directed by Jerome Robbins)
* ''Theatre/AFunnyThingHappenedOnTheWayToTheForum'' (1962) (book by Burt Shevelove and Larry Gelbart; directed by George Abbott)
* ''Theatre/AnyoneCanWhistle'' (1964) (book by Arthur Laurents; directed by Arthur Laurents)
* ''Do I Hear a Waltz?'' (1965) (music by Richard Rodgers; book by Arthur Laurents; directed by John Dexter)
* ''Evening Primrose'' (1966) (made for ABC TV) (teleplay by James Goldman, based on the short story by John Collier)
* ''Theatre/{{Company}}'' (1970) (book by George Furth; directed by Hal Prince)
* ''Theatre/{{Follies}}'' (1971) (book by James Goldman; directed by Hal Prince)
* ''Film/TheLastOfSheila'' (1973) -- ''not'' a stage musical; not a musical at all in fact. It's a 1973 theatrical feature film that he co-wrote the screenplay for. Sondheim's only screen writing credit.
* ''Theatre/ALittleNightMusic'' (1973) (book by Hugh Wheeler; directed by Hal Prince)
* ''Theatre/TheFrogs'' (1974, revived in 2004) (play by Aristophanes)
* ''Theatre/PacificOvertures'' (1976) (book by John Weidman; directed by Hal Prince)
* ''Theatre/SweeneyToddTheDemonBarberOfFleetStreet'' (1979) (book by Hugh Wheeler; directed by Hal Prince)
* ''Theatre/MerrilyWeRollAlong'' (1981) (book by George Furth; directed by Hal Prince)
* ''Theatre/SundayInTheParkWithGeorge'' (1984) (book by James Lapine; directed by James Lapine)
* ''Theatre/IntoTheWoods'' (1987) (book by James Lapine; directed by James Lapine)
* ''Theatre/{{Assassins}}'' (1990) (book by John Weidman; directed by Jerry Zaks)
* ''Theatre/{{Passion}}'' (1994) (book by James Lapine; directed by James Lapine)
* ''Bounce'' (2003) (book by John Weidman; directed by Hal Prince)
** In 2008 ''Bounce'' was re-worked, with some songs removed and others added, one character entirely cut, and the plot rewritten; the resulting piece is now called ''Road Show'' and it opened off-Broadway in November 2008, directed by John Doyle.

Sondheim has also done the movie scores for two films: Creator/WarrenBeatty's ''Film/{{Reds}}'' and Creator/AlainResnais' ''Stavisky.'' His collected lyrics (with his comments and recollections) have been published in two volumes: ''Finishing the Hat'' and ''Look, I Made a Hat.''
----
!!Tropes used frequently in works by Stephen Sondheim include:

* AddedAlliterativeAppeal: Any Sondheim musical will include this, with lines like "I feel fizzy and funny and fine," "The realities remain remote," "The bong of the bell of the buoy in the bay," and the infamous "That's the puddle where the poodle did the piddle."
* AllMusicalsAreAdaptations: He's perhaps the only man ever to adapt a ''painting'' into a full-length musical. He's only done one completely original show: ''Anyone Can Whistle''.
* BreakTheFourthWall: Almost always PlayedForLaughs. Used to great effect in plays like ''Theatre/SweeneyToddTheDemonBarberOfFleetStreet'', ''Theatre/TheFrogs'', ''Theatre/{{Company}}'' and especially in the second act of ''Theatre/IntoTheWoods''.
* CounterpointDuet: BIG fan of this, puts it in almost all his shows, and sometimes going [[UpToEleven one step further]] and making it into a trio, quartet, quintet, sextet, septet, or [[MassiveMultiplayerEnsembleNumber an ensemble number with as much as 8-part counterpoint!!]]
* {{Deconstruction}}: Present to some degree in most of his works, most notably the following:
** ''[=Into the Woods=]'' (fairy tales)
** ''Pacific Overtures'' (the sort of East-meets-West story best represented by ''The King and I'')
** ''{{Theatre/Assassins}}'' and ''Road Show'' (the American Dream)
* DoubleMeaningTitle: ''Follies'', ''Pacific Overtures'', perhaps to a lesser extent ''Company''
* DownerEnding: ''Assassins'', ''Theatre/WestSideStory'' (inherent in the [[Theatre/RomeoAndJuliet source material]]), ''Merrily We Roll Along'' (subverted in that it's placed at the beginning), ''Sweeney Todd'', ''Follies'', ''Evening Primrose''.
** Some stagings of ''Gypsy'', notably the 2008 production starring Patti [=LuPone=].
* GossipyHens: Most of the minor characters in ''Sunday in the Park with George'', and some Gossipy Roosters in the form of the soldiers in ''Passion''.
* ''{{Leitmotif}}''
* LyricalDissonance
* PatterSong: Uses these often in his musicals, such as "Getting Married Today" in ''Company,'' "The Contest" in ''Sweeney Todd,'' and "Now" in ''A Little Night Music.''
* {{Reconstruction}}: Arguably, ''Passion'', of the archetypal love epic.
* SanitySlippageSong: He's got several - "Epiphany" from ''Sweeney Todd,'' "Getting Married Today" from ''Company,'' "Live, Laugh, Love" from ''Follies,'' "Franklin Shepard Inc." from ''Theatre/MerrilyWeRollAlong,'' and "Rose's Turn" from ''Gypsy.''
** And really, any song containing the word "Ballad" in ''Assassins''.
* SlidingScaleOfIdealismVersusCynicism: Very cynical in most cases
* SubvertedRhymeEveryOccasion: More often inverted than played straight. Often he'll complete the rhyme, but in a way you'd never guess. Or he'll stuff in a bunch of internal rhymes where no other songwriter will dare.

!!Works by Stephen Sondheim without their own pages provide examples of:

* CampGay: In "The Boy From...", the narrator describes the young man she has a crush on, completely oblivious to the implications of his flamboyant dress sense and effeminate mannerisms.
* CutSong: The revue ''Marry Me A Little'' was made entirely from his [[CutSong Cut Songs]].
* DownerEnding: ''Evening Primrose''.
* NeverSpeakIllOfTheDead: Inverted in his books of collected & annotated lyrics, where he writes frank and incisive commentary about other lyricists' work, but only ones already dead. In his own words: "speaking ill exclusively of the dead seems to me the gentlemanly thing to do. The subject cannot be personally hurt, and his reputation is unlikely to be affected by anything you say, whereas publicly passing judgement on living writers is both hurtful and stifling."
* NoSongForTheWicked: Surprisingly, the villain in ''Evening Primrose'' (Ms. Munday) did not receive a song of her own, most likely because it was only written to fit within an hour of television broadcast time. Many fans think that if ''Evening Primrose'' were to be expanded for stage, Ms. Munday should deserve a song.
* OverlyLongName: In "The Boy From...", a parody of "The Girl From Ipanema", the young man in question hails from Tacarembo la Tumba del Fuego Santa Malipas Zacatecas la Junta del Sol y Cruz. [[spoiler:And at the end of the song, he moves to Llanfair­pwllgwyngyll­gogery­chwyrndrobwll­llan­tysilio­gogo­goch.]]
* SelfParody:
** Sondheim joined forces with Creator/AndrewLloydWebber for "Hey Mr Producer", a tribute concert to Cameron Mackintosh. They performed [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gRUSkUnc6WY a duet]] riffing on their songs "Send In The Clowns" and "Music of the Night", all while playfully ribbing Mackintosh.
** For the retrospective ''Sondheim on Sondheim'', he wrote a new song: [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tfN6ZwttUDQ "God"]]
----