ONLINE: When he died in 2021 at the age of 91, Stephen Sondheim was the nation’s most revered musical theater composer-lyricist. In this course, we will examine Sondheim's career from the 1950s with his work as the lyricist for "West Side Story" and "Gypsy" through the 1970s when his collaborations with Harold Prince yielded groundbreaking classics of the American musical theater: "Company," "Follies," "A Little Night Music" and "Sweeney Todd." We will survey his career by listening to and watching excerpts from his shows, focusing not just on the hits but also on those shows that were considered failures at the time. In addition to experiencing his memorable music, students will also learn how Sondheim applied his three “necessary principles” for writing lyrics: “Content dictates form. Less is more. God is in the details.” The course is primarily lecture with video and audio clips, but students will be able to ask questions and make comments during each class. | Lecture + Q&A.
Max enrollment: 200.
Class sessions are recorded.
Alan Teasley began his career as a high school English and drama teacher. After retiring from the Durham Public Schools in 2006, he taught in Duke’s Master of Arts in Teaching program. A member of the OLLI Advisory Board, he is an avid theatergoer with a particular fondness for American musicals. He has previously taught 12 courses on musical theater for OLLI.