What We Know So Far (and What We Don't) About Stephen Sondheim's New Musical

What's the difference between Square One and Buñuel​​​​​​​? We have the answers!

By: Sep. 17, 2021
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Broadway lovers had reason to rejoice this week when the industry's most beloved composer, Stephen Sondheim, announced that he has a new musical in the works. What do we know so far about the project? Let's review!

What is the name of Sondheim's new musical?

Sondheim himself revealed in a recent interview with Stephen Colbert that his latest musical project, a collaboration with playwright David Ives, is titled Square One.

What is Square One about?

In short, we don't know yet. We do know that in an interview from 2012, Sondheim discussed an Ives collaboration (that began with Terrence McNally as bookwriter) that was progressing "very slowly." That musical reportedly follows a similar structure to Sondheim's Merrily We Roll Along, in which the storytelling occurs in reverse chronological order, centering on "two people and what goes into their relationship." We do not however, have confirmation that this musical and Square One are one in the same.

Who is starring in Square One?

In a recent interview on the Today Show, Tony winner Nathan Lane revealed his participation in the project. "I just did a reading of a new Sondheim musical. He's 90 and he's written this new musical ... It was very exciting. Bernadette Peters and I. A whole group of wonderful people," he shared. Will Lane and Peters take part in future iterations of the musical? "I don't know!" he laughed.

Is Square One related to Buñuel?

According to the New York Times, Square One and Buñuel, another new show that has been in the works for years, are not the same musical. In April, the Times reported that Buñuel, which was being written with Ives to eventually premiere at The Public Theatre, was no longer in development.

When is Square One coming to Broadway?

While the timeline of future productions has not yet been officially announced, we know that it could arrive on Broadway as early as 2022. "With any luck, we'll get it on next season," said Sondheim.

Who is Stephen Sondheim?

If you are reading this far... we hope you already know!

Stephen Sondheim is widely acknowledged as the most innovative, most influential, and most important composer and lyricist in modern Broadway history. He is the winner of an Academy Award, numerous Tony Award, multiple Grammy Awards and a Pulitzer Prize. Some of his other accolades include a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Kennedy Center Honors (1993), the National Medal of Arts (1996), the American Academy of Arts and Letters' Gold Medal for Music (2006) and a special Tony Awards for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre (2008).

Sondheim wrote the music and lyrics for Road Show (2008), Passion (1994), Assassins (1991), Into the Woods (1987), Sunday in the Park with George (1984), Merrily We Roll Along (1981), Sweeney Todd (1979), Pacific Overtures (1976), The Frogs (1974), A Little Night Music (1973), Follies (1971; revised in London, 1987), Company (1970), Anyone Can Whistle (1964) and A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (1962), as well as the lyrics for West Side Story (1957), Gypsy (1959), Do I Hear a Waltz? (1965) and additional lyrics for Candide (1973). Side by Side by Sondheim (1976), Marry Me a Little (1981), You're Gonna Love Tomorrow (1983) and Putting It Together (1993/99) are anthologies of his work, as is the new musical Sondheim on Sondheim. He composed the film scores of Stavisky (1974) and Reds (1981) and songs for Dick Tracy (Academy Award, 1990). He also wrote songs for the television production "Evening Primrose" (1966), co-authored, with Anthony Perkins, the film The Last of Sheila (1973) and, with George Furth, the play Getting Away with Murder (1996), and provided incidental music for the plays The Girls of Summer (1956), Invitation to a March (1961) and Twigs (1971). He won Tony Awards for Best Score for a Musical for Passion, Into the Woods, Sweeney Todd, A Little Night Music, Follies and Company. All of these shows won the New York Drama Critics Circle Award, as did Pacific Overtures and Sunday in the Park with George, the latter also receiving the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. Saturday Night (1954), his first professional musical, finally had its New York premiere in 1999 at Second Stage Theatre.

Want to learn more? Watch the interviews with Sondheim and Lane below: