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NY Philharmonic Presents SONDHEIM: The Birthday Concert

The New York Philharmonic will present SONDHEIM: The Birthday Concert on March 15 and Tuesday, March 16, 2010, at 7:30 p.m. This celebration of the 80th birthday of the great Broadway composer/lyricist will include his most enduring orchestral music and songs - performed, in some cases, by the stars of the original Broadway cast productions - in addition to rarely-heard material. Joining the celebration will be David Hyde Pierce as host, and (in alphabetical order) Laura Benanti, Matt Cavenaugh, Michael Cerveris, Victoria Clark, Jenn Colella, Jason Danieley,Alexander Gemignani, Joanna Gleason, Nathan Gunn, George Hearn, Patti LuPone, Marin MazzieAudra McDonald, John McMartin, Donna Murphy, Laura Osnes, Mandy PatinkinBernadette Peters, Bobby Steggert, Jim Walton, Chip Zien, and American Ballet Theatre Dancers Blaine Hoven and Maria Riccetto, along with some surprise guests. Paul Gemignani, Mr. Sondheim's longtime collaborator, will conduct the New York Philharmonic; Lonny Price is the director; Josh Rhodes is the choreographer; and Mr. Price and Matt Cowart are the producers. The concert will be broadcast on THIRTEEN'S Great Performances on PBS as part of the 2010-11 season (check local listings).

The evenings will include songs and orchestral pieces from Sondheim musical theater favorites such as Company, Follies, A Little Night Music, Sweeney Todd, Merrily We Roll Along, Into The Woods, and Sunday in the Park with George.

On Monday, March 15, 2010, the New York Philharmonic will celebrate Stephen Sondheim with its Spring Gala. The Gala Chairmen are Leni and Peter May and Donna and Benjamin M. Rosen. BNY Mellon is the presenting sponsor. For information about the Gala, which includes a pre-concert reception, concert, and post-concert birthday dinner with the artists, please contact Courtney Ford at (212) 875-5760 or e-mail her at

About Stephen Sondheim
Considered by many to be the greatest Broadway composer/lyricist of his time, Stephen Sondheim (b. March 22, 1930) wrote the music and lyrics for A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (1962); Anyone Can Whistle (1964); Company (1970); Follies (1971); A Little Night Music (1973); The Frogs (1974); Pacific Overtures (1976); Sweeney Todd (1979); Merrily We Roll Along (1981); Sunday in the Park with George (1984; winner of the 1985 Pulitzer Prize for Drama); Into the Woods (1987); Assassins (1991); Passion (1994); and Road Show (2008). He wrote the lyrics for West Side Story (1957); Gypsy (1959) and 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) are anthologies of his work as composer and lyricist.

For film, Stephen Sondheim composed the score for Stavisky (1974), and co-composed the music for Reds (1981), as well as songs for Dick Tracy (1990). He also wrote the songs for the television production Evening Primrose (1966), and co-authored the film The Last of Sheila (1973) and the play Getting Away with Murder (1996). He provided incidental music for the plays The Girls of Summer (1956), Invitation to a March (1961), Twigs (1971), and The Enclave (1973). His first professional musical, Saturday Night (1954), finally had its New York premiere in 1999. Mr. Sondheim is on the council of the Dramatists Guild - the national association of playwrights, composers, and lyricists - and served as its president from 1973 to 1981, when he founded Young Playwrights Inc. to develop and promote the work of American Playwrights ages 18 years and younger.

In May 2000 the New York Philharmonic presented three concert performances of Stephen Sondheim's Sweeney Todd, starring Patti LuPone, George Hearn, Audra McDonald, Jon Aler, Davis Gaines, Heidi Grant Murphy, Neil Patrick Harris, Stanford Olsen, and Paul Plishka. Andrew Litton conducted and Lonny Price directed. A recording of the live performances was released on the Philharmonic's Special Editions label and was nominated for a Grammy Award. This followed the Orchestra's star-studded September 1985 performances of Sondheim's Follies, conducted by Paul Gemignani and directed by Herbert Ross, with a cast that included Licia Albanese, Carol Burnett, Liz
Callaway, Betty Comden, Barbara Cook, Adolph Green, George Hearn, Howard McGillin, Erie Mills, Liliane Montevecchi, Phyllis Newman, Mandy Patinkin, Daisy Prince, Lee Remick, Elaine Stritch, and Andre Gregory. The concert and recording of the live performance were produced by Thomas Z. Shepard, and a BBC Television documentary about the making of the show was later combined with parts of the performance for DVD release. In May 2004, the New York Philharmonic presented semistaged concert performances of Bernstein's Candide - a musical for which Stephen Sondheim contributed lyrics.

Photo Credit: Walter McBride/Retna Ltd.

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