Strictly Sondheim


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Programme © MHMT 2015 All Rights Reserved | Designed by Simon Holyland | Cover photograph of Sondheim by Jerry Jackson

Stephen Sondheim

Composer and lyricist Stephen Sondheim has more than half a century of award-winning contributions to musical theatre to his name. He is renowned for the startling complexity of his lyricism and music.

Sondheim was born in New York in 1930 to parents Janet and Herbert. His father was a remote figure and Sondheim describes a physically comfortable but emotionally cold upbringing, psychologically abused by his mother (whom he came to detest).

After his parents divorced in 1942, Sondheim moved to Pennsylvania with his mother. He became friends with the son of lyricist and playright Oscar Hammerstein II, who became a kind of surrogate father and mentor to Sondheim. Aged 15, Sondheim asked him to evaluate a musical he had written, to which Hammerstein responded that it was “the worst thing he’d ever seen” – but offered to explain why it was so. Sondheim explains that he “learned more that afternoon than most people learn in a lifetime”. Over the next 4 years, he assisted Hammerstein preparing and rehearsing South Pacific and The King and I.

Sondheim studied composition at Princeton, after which he spent several painful years struggling to get work. Eventually Sondheim was commissioned to write some songs for the show Saturday Night, leading to an audition with Leonard Bernstein, who chose him to write the lyrics for West Side Story. There followed successes with Gypsy and A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum, which established Sondheim as a rising star of Broadway.

After a couple of notable failures (Anyone Can Whistle, Do I Hear A Waltz?), Sondheim returned to unanimous critical and box office success with Company and Follies, and so was fully installed as a major force and innovator in musical theatre.


Rod Iliffe (Keyboard/MD) • Vince Appleyard • Dylan Atkinson • Erin Billington • Hannah Brown • Abigail Carter • Heidi Coleman • Stephen Cox • Carol Craig • Steve Ellis • Ellen Goddard • Laura Green • Jane Holyland • Anne Hudson • Zoe Humphrey • Debbie Lansdell • John Lowery • Emily Oldfield • Alan Palmer • Sarah Pickering • Chris Prior • Claire Steptoe

Production Team

Directors Hannah Brown and Dylan Atkinson
Musical Director Rod Iliffe
Stage Manager Gwen Compton
Lighting Design Simon Holyland
Lighting Crew Simon Malin, Richard Holyland, Conor Robb
Sound Neil Stout
Stage Crew Tony Capell
Set Design & Build Eddie Beardsmore Dylan Atkinson, Ron Kirk, Tony Osborn
Costumes & Wardrobe Carol Capell
Programme Design Simon Holyland
Photography Mandi Welton

Act One

Saturday Night
One Wonderful Day (Company)

Evening Primrose
Take Me To The World (Claire)

West Side Story
Tonight (Company)
I Feel Pretty (Female Company)

Wherever We Go (Ellen, Emily/Hannah and Steve)
Gotta Get A Gimmick (Heidi, Sarah and Erin)

A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum
Finale (Company)

Anyone Can Whistle
Anyone Can Whistle (Sarah)

Broadway Baby (Anne)
Buddies Blues (Emily/Hannah, Steve and Erin)

Another Hundred People (Ellen)
You Can Drive A Person Crazy (Ellen, Claire and Erin)
Company (Company)

Act Two

A Little Night Music
Send In The Clowns (Sarah)

Sweeney Todd
Ballad Of Sweeney Todd (Company)
Worst Pies In London (Heidi)
Nothing’s Gonna Harm You (John)
Priest (Heidi and Steve)
God That’s Good (Company)

Merrily We Roll Along
Not A Day Goes By (Ellen and Steve)
Merrily We Roll Along (Company)

Sunday In The Park With George
Putting It Together (Company)

Loving You (Erin)

Everybody’s Got The Right (Company)

Into The Woods
No-One Is Alone (Hannah, Steve, Stephen and Abigail)
Finale (Claire and Company)

Finale: Merrily We Roll Along