Holdiness: Sondheim was brilliance at its best

Legendary Broadway composer, Stephen Sondheim, passed away at age 91.

Unknown photographer, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Legendary Broadway composer, Stephen Sondheim, passed away at age 91.

Lexi Holdiness, Staff Writer

He lived to be 91. In his lifetime, he released bestselling after bestselling musical and won more awards than any other composer. He’s the man who brought us “West Side Story,” “Sweeny Todd” and “Into the Woods” and the creator who gave us everything. Stephen Sondheim’s legacy is one that will never be forgotten.

His creativity was never in withdrawal. Sondheim released his first complete musical, “Saturday Night,” in 1954 as his Broadway debut. Only three years later did he release the piece that would secure his name in history books.

“West Side Story” was the modern day Romeo and Juliet that won everyone’s heart, then broke it. It was the timeless piece that kept Sondheim relevant throughout his entire career. “West Side Story” was only his second contribution to musical theater, yet it was singlehandedly one of the most groundbreaking musicals in theatrical history.

It was his raw brilliance that took him from nothing to greatness. Sondheim had a way with lyrics and music like no other. Some of his most famous songs, such as “I Feel Pretty” and “Somewhere,” are the embodiment of everything a Broadway musical aspires to be. They have lyrics that are moving; they tell a story in every syllable. Sonically, Sondheim’s music encaptured the feelings that you could only dream of.

In the iconic production “Sweeny Todd,” it was Sondhem’s unrelenting brilliance that led it to be so wonderful and timeless. “Sweeny Todd” created the plotline and tracklist that would eventually become the blueprint for future musical thrillers. Sondheim’s ability to compose is astonishing, but his ability to create remains unparalleled.

Sondheim’s contributions to musical theater are the most famous accomplishments of his life because they were so pivotal to its development. No one can debate Sondeheim’s brilliance, especially when he holds the record for winning the most Tony Awards in history. Sondheim won everything from Grammy Awards to the Pulitzer Prize in 1985.

For his contributions to Broadway, Sondheim was memorialized when Broadway theaters dimmed their lights in his memory. His legacy of brilliance and undefinable innovation will forever be commemorated in the hearts of the millions he touched. Sondheim was the example and the blueprint, and he will be remembered forever.