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Presented by the Dramtatists Guild Institute

Coming Soon

Summer with Sondheim

Instructor: Cheryl Coons
Schedule: Saturdays 1-3 EST / 12-2 CST / 10-12 PST

Course Duration: 6 weeks (July 20 to August 24) 

Maximum students: 15

Registration is Open

A fun and inspirational class for fans of Stephen Sondheim, musical theatre creators who want to deepen their understanding of craft, and those who appreciate the behind-the-scenes stories of how great musicals are made. 


We’ll explore six of the enduring musicals from early in Sondheim's career: West Side Story, Gypsy, Forum, Company, Follies, and A Little Night Music.  We'll learn about Sondheim’s collaborators, including Leonard Bernstein, Arthur Laurents, and Harold Prince, as well as some of the actors who brought his early shows to life. (Ethel Merman, Lee Remick, Angela Lansbury, Dean Jones, and Zero Mostel, among others.) Besides the behind-the-scenes stories of the creation of these musicals, we’ll discover each show from the inside out, highlighting key concepts that are valuable to writers who are creating both original musicals and adaptations. While Sondheim's excellent books on lyric writing (Finishing the Hat, Look I Made a Hat) focused mainly on the specifics of songwriting craft, we'll look at these six musicals holistically. We'll gain insights about how musicals are built through the unique requirements of each story and the dynamics of each collaboration. 

Requirements for this Class:  Everyone is welcome to join and experience the work of Stephen Sondheim.


Expectations for this Class:  Students will be asked to read the published scripts or watch filmed versions of each musical in advance of the session where the work is discussed to prepare for a robust in-class conversation. 


After Completion of Class:  By the end of this course, you’ll have a new appreciation for these six enthralling masterworks, and the composer and lyricist who created them. Whether you're an experienced writer of musicals, someone who is considering writing one, or someone who is drawn to the work of Sondheim, you'll have a richer understanding of the principles that underlie groundbreaking work, and the life's work of one of the foremost dramatists of our time.

Cheryl has been a guest artist instructor for

The Kennedy Center Playwriting Intensive

The program consists of rigorous writing workshops and discussions of the art, craft, and business of playwriting led by Gary Garrison with a wide range of distinguished guest artists. 

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