In the trashcan of Murdoch journalism, you will be hard pressed to find a more obscene interview than the one conducted today in the London Times (paywall) with the 84-year old composer by an intrusive hack called Tim Teeman.
The passage is far off any acceptable standard of cultural interview. Sondheim is plainly upset, but he handles the question – twice repeated – with customary dignity.
Here’s the text:
When I met Sondheim in 2012 he spoke about the state of Broadway, having his first non-platonic relationship at 60 and the state of musicals. Yet a couple of Manhattan theatre-addict friends had only one question for me afterwards: “What about the sex dungeon?”
There’s a rumour you have a sex dungeon, I say. Sondheim laughs. “I have heard of this. I don’t know how it got started.” (He ponders one possible source as the critic Martin Gottfried, who died last year.) So you haven’t got one? “No, I haven’t. There is no basis of truth in it whatsoever. It bothers me. What it represents is people trying to put me down and trash me. It’s like saying, ‘So and so’s a drunk’, ‘Who does he think he is?’
“If you go downstairs there’s a washing machine and a boiler. There’s one great thing down there and that’s a cedar closet with all my original manuscripts in it.”