Tony Award-nominated librettist John Weidman will discuss his experiences collaborating with Stephen Sondheim in a conversation held as part of Professor of Theater Stacy Wolf’s fall course, “The Musical Theatre of Stephen Sondheim: Process to Production.” The discussion will take place on Wednesday, November 7 at 11:00 a.m. in the Godfrey Kerr Theater Studio at the Lewis Arts complex on the Princeton campus. Presented by the Lewis Center for the Art’s Program in Music Theater, the event is free and open to the public.
Wolf’s course examines a different musical by Stephen Sondheim each week, analyzing his influences and inspirations as well as how the elements of musical theater—from music to dance to design—cohere in his creations. Students are reading libretti, listening to music, viewing taped and live performances, researching production histories, analyzing popular, critical, and scholarly reception to Sondheim’s works, as well as hearing first-hand from visiting professionals.
John Weidman has written the book for several Tony Award-winning musicals. He has collaborated with Stephen Sondheim three times, writing the scripts for Pacific Overtures (1976), for which he was nominated for the Tony Award for Best Book of a Musical; Assassins (1990), which won the Tony Award for Best Revival of a Musical in 2004; and Road Show (2008). He also wrote the book for the Lincoln Center Theater revival of Cole Porter’s Anything Goes, winner for Best Musical Revival, and Contact, which he co-created with choreographer/director Susan Stroman, winner of Best Musical. Since 1986, Weidman has written for Sesame Street, receiving more than a dozen Emmy Awards for Outstanding Writing for a Children’s Program, as well as writing for National Lampoon in the 1970s. He served as president of the Dramatists Guild of America from 1999 to 2009.
Wolf teaches courses in American musical theater history, dramaturgy and dramatic literature, histories of U.S. performance, performance theory, and performance studies. She is the author of Changed for Good: A Feminist History of the Broadway Musical (named one of the “top ten books every theater lover should read” by Marissa Friedman); A Problem Like Maria: Gender and Sexuality in the American Musical; and the co-editor of The Oxford Handbook of the American Musical. She is currently working on Beyond Broadway: Four Seasons of Amateur Musical Theatre in the U.S., which examines amateur musical theater at high schools, summer camps, community centers, and afterschool programs across the country. Wolf is also director of the Princeton Arts Fellows program in the Lewis Center.
Weidman’s talk is the final in this three-part series on Sondheim’s musicals that included Broadway performer Alexander Gemignani and Broadway director and member of Program in Music Theater faculty John Doyle.
Princeton’s Program in Music Theater is a collaboration among the Lewis Center for the Arts’ Program in Theater and Program in Dance and the Department of Music. The program brings together students, faculty, and guest artists in the creation, study, and performance of all forms of music theater; that is, any theatrical form that combines singing, acting, and movement.
For more information on the Program in Music Theater and the more than 100 other performances, exhibitions, readings, screenings, concerts, and lectures presented by the Lewis Center, most of them free, visit arts.princeton.edu.