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Music and Lyrics

Stephen Joshua Sondheim was born on March 22, 1930.  He grew up on the Upper West Side of Manhattan and later, after his parents divorced, on a farm near Doylestown, Pennsylvania. At about the age of ten, around the time of his parents' divorce, Sondheim became friends with James Hammerstein, son of the lyricist and playwright Oscar Hammerstein II. The elder Hammerstein became Sondheim's surrogate father, and had a profound influence on him, especially in developing a love for musical theatre.

While attending George School, Sondheim wrote a comic musical based on the goings-on of his school, entitled By George. It was a major success among his peers, and it considerably buoyed the young songwriter's ego; he took it to Hammerstein, and asked him to evaluate it as though he had no knowledge of its author. Hammerstein said it was the worst thing he had ever seen. "But if you want to know why it's terrible," Hammerstein offered, "I'll tell you." The rest of the day was spent going over the musical, and Sondheim would later say that "in that afternoon I learned more about songwriting and the musical theater than most people learn in a lifetime.

Sondheim, who is the winner of an Academy Award, eight Tony Awards (more than any other composer) including the Special Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre, eight Garammy Awards and a Pulitzer Prize and the Laurence Olivier Award, traces his interest in theatre to Very Warm for May, a Broadway musical he saw at age nine. "The curtain went up and revealed a piano," Sondheim recalled. "A butler took a duster and brushed it up, tinkling the keys. I thought that was thrilling."

Company, which opened on Broadway on April 26, 1970 at the Alvin Theatre, was based on a book by George Furth, for which Sondheim penned the music and lyrics. The original production was nominated for a record-setting fourteen Tony Awards and won six.  Originally titled Threes, Company was among the first musicals to deal with adult themes and relationships. As Sondheim puts it, "Broadway theater has been for many years supported by upper-middle-class people with upper-middle-class problems. These people really want to escape that world when they go to the theatre, and then here we are with Company talking about how we're going to bring it right back in their faces."

Source: Wikipedia


George Schweinfurth was born in Chicago, Illinois, the son of Evelyn (neeTuerk) and George Schweinfurth. He majored in drama & theatre at Northwestern University and received his Master’s Degree from Columbia University.

A life member of The Actor’s’ Studio, Furth made his Broadway debut as an actor in the 1961 play A Cook for Mr. General, followed by the musical Hot Spot two years later. He was also known for his collaborations with Stephen Sondheim; the highly successful Company the ill-fated Merrily we Roll Along, and the equally ill-fated drama, Getting Away with Murder.  Furth penned the plays Twigs, The Supporting Cast, and Precious Sons, and wrote the book for the Kander and Ebb musical, The Act.

Frequently cast as a bespectacled, ineffectual milquetoast,  Furth appeared in such films as The Best ManMyra BreckinridgeHooperBlazing SaddlesOh God!ShampooThe Cannonball RunYoung Doctors in LoveDoctor DetroitBulworth, and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. His many television credits include TammyMcHale's NavyIronsideI Dream of JeannieThat GirlGreen AcresThe MonkeesBatmanThe Odd CoupleBonanzaHappy DaysAll in the Family,Murphy BrownL.A. LawDr. Quinn, Medicine WomanMurder, She WroteLittle House on the PrairieLove, American StyleAdam-12F Troop and the made-for-tv-movie The Scarlett O'Hara War, in which he portrayed famed film director George Cukor.

Furth won both the Tony and Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Book of a Musical for Company, and was nominated for a Drama Desk Award for Outstanding New Play for Precious Sons.

Source: Wikipedia

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