"I am genuinely surprised and thrilled. Recognition, liquor and cash — what more could any writer want?" said Sondheim on winning this year's prize.
The other books on the shortlist this year were "Fings Ain't Wot They Used T'Be: The Lionel Bart Story" by David and Caroline Stafford, "A Tiger's Wedding" by Isla Blair, "May I Have Your Attention, Please?" by James Corden and "Tales From an Actor's Life" by Steven Berkoff.
The annual prize, established in 2008, is awarded for the best biography, autobiography or diary in theatre or show business published in the preceding calendar year. It is named in honor of the late Sheridan Morley, one-time London writer for Playbill, whose own career as an author of some 37 books specialized in biographies, including the authorized lives of Sir John Gielgud, Sir Noel Coward and David Niven.
This year's panel, which includes the previous year's winning author, who was Simon Callow (who won the prize for his book "My Life in Pieces," also featured theatre critic Georgina Brown, and playwright and screenwriter Martin Sherman. The panel is chaired by Ruth Leon, Morley's widow and a theatre critic and author in her own right.
The winner receives a £2,000 cash prize. The Sheridan Morley Prize for Theatre Biography is a Charitable Trust. It is funded by small donations from individuals and generous support from The Garrick Club. It is administered by theatrical publisher Oberon Books. For more details, visit http://thesheridanmorleyprize.org.