Top Ten Revisited: Songs by Stephen Sondheim

By Ben Rimalower
22 Mar 2014

Stephen Sondheim
Stephen Sondheim
Photo by Joseph Marzullo/WENN

In celebration of the 84th birthday of composer-lyricist Stephen Sondheim on March 22, is revisiting The Top Ten Songs by the Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize winner. correspondent Ben Rimalower offers his list below. 

Choosing my ten favorite Sondheim songs is an absurdly "Sophie's Choice" task. I've decided to base the list on songs that work out of context — a tall order given Sondheim's mastery of crafting music and lyrics specifically tailored to the characters and situations within his musicals. That means many of his greatest songs are too tied to those characters and situations to be enjoyable outside those contexts, and therefore are ineligible for this list. This is especially true of songs from the musicals Sondheim wrote with James Lapine — Sunday in the Park With George, Into the Woods and Passion. This also tends to eliminate bigger production numbers or even duets, although some of those made this list.

Click through to read my list of top ten Sondheim songs.


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