Stephen Sondheim: Disney is kosher

Stephen Sondheim: Disney is kosher


norman lebrecht

November 15, 2015

The great composer is in relaxed mood for a Kerri Mason Billboard interview, at home on the East Side.

Like every great artist, he knows where to give a little and where to stand firm.

Here’s Sondheim on  working with Disney:



How did Disney do with Into the Woods?

I thought they did swell; the atmosphere of the movie was fine. Dealing with them and making the script — there are rules that you can’t break. Because “our audience doesn’t like that.” It doesn’t matter whether they’re right or wrong. If you’re going to do a movie for Disney, you know that going in. And if you don’t, you are really dumb. You try to persuade them. You try to be sure that at least the basics you agree on. And the basics, the reason they bought it and the reason we let it be made, were all kosher. But the details?

Read the full interview here.


  • Eddie Mars says:

    Coming next… Duck Lear, with Scrooge McDuck as the ageing monarch who divides his kingdom among his three offspring – Huey, Dewey, and Louis. It all ends happily at Lear’s Surprise 70th Birthday Party, thrown for him by all three of them… where they give him his kingdom back again.

    Featuring Goofy as The Fool, and Donald Duck as Gloucester Duck.

    The closing waltz, You’d Have To Be Blind Not To Know Our Duck Lear, will bring a tear to your eyes.

  • Milka says:

    That he is extraordinarily clever and brilliant is a given.
    That he knows his audience and manipulates to their limitations is also a given.
    That he is a great composer is stretching a little too far .

  • David Boxwell says:

    We should all revive the word “swell” to express approval of something.