Stephen Sondheim gives up on his last musical

Stephen Sondheim gives up on his last musical


norman lebrecht

April 29, 2021

The Broadway giant has been toying for a decade with a project called ‘Bunuel’, based on the Spanish director’s films  The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie and The Exterminating Angel.

He’s decided now that, at 91, he’s never going to finish.

More here.


  • RW2013 says:

    He’d already written enough masterpieces for eternity by the 1980s!

  • BRUCEB says:

    Ah well.

  • Jan Kaznowski says:

    Well Thomas Ades wrote an opera on the latter

  • Bratsche brat says:

    He needs a good kick in the behind from Kurtag. It’s never too late to compose.

    • NotToneDeaf says:

      If you’re implying that Sondheim is lazy you have no clue. Also, please remind me which lyrics Kurtag wrote.

  • Couperin says:

    That’s really a shame; hopefully the near complete first act will be preserved and even staged. It could have a wonderful life as a chamber piece for schools or smaller theaters, or as an anchor work in Sondheim cabaret shows. Don’t throw it away!!

  • MacroV says:

    It’s a shame; Sondheim is still underappreciated if you don’t live in Broadway-world, and it would be nice to have more from him. But I’m much younger than he is and don’t plan to be working when I’m 91, so I can’t fault him if he’s had enough.

  • Sue Sonata Form says:

    I’ve found Sondheim’s ‘singspiel’ musicals rather boring and monotonous. More syllables per note than Gilbert and Sullivan and not as interesting. And on the pointy end of consonance; unsympathetic characters; the complete nightmare. He did his best work when somebody else is composing the music.

    • Larry D says:

      Somehow I knew from your previous comments that you could not refrain from popping up here to pile on more of your ignorant nastiness.

      • Allen says:

        Dissent not permissible then?

        It is neither ignorant nor nasty to consider his work overrated. It’s a subjective matter.

        • Larry D says:

          It’s both ignorant and nasty to keep sharing ignorant and nasty opinions at a time when they are particularly uncalled for. But such is to be expected from Susie Sonata.

  • Ian says:

    My guess is that this will end up like Lulu: perhaps efforts will be made to present the finished first act, with a reconstructed second act. God willing!

    But like someone else said, he’s written enough masterpieces for 10 lifetimes at this point.