Program Details

Stephen Sondheim: The Maverick of American Musical Theater: An Exploration of Broadway's Most Revered and Influential Composer & Lyricist

Paul Offenkrantz
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Course Description

With the passing of Stephen Sondheim, America and the world lost one of its most beloved and revered composers and lyricists – one who redefined the boundaries of what a Broadway musical could express and how it expressed it. Earning recognition initially as a brilliant lyricist for "West Side Story" (music: Leonard Bernstein) and "Gypsy!" (music: Jule Styne), Sondheim then went on to write both music and lyrics for "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum." Teaming up with producer/director Harold Prince, the 1970s brought a string of groundbreaking shows, including "Company," "A Little Night Music" and "Sweeney Todd." The 1980s brought "Sunday in the Park with George" and "Into the Woods," collaborations with director and playwright James Lapine. Sondheim's works have stood the test of time because they explore the human condition with all its ambiguity and frailty.

About the Instructor

  • Paul Offenkrantz, D.M., a graduate of Oberlin College, attended the Yale School of Music and earned a Master of Sacred Music from Hebrew Union College, where he was also ordained as a cantor. In his distinguished career, he has served communities in New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, and West Palm Beach. He was awarded an honorary Doctor of Music degree from Hebrew Union College and received rabbinic ordination from The Jewish Spiritual Leaders Institute. He began singing professionally on the stage of the Metropolitan Opera at the age of nine and appeared in over 30 different operas at the MET over the course of five seasons. He has worked with Leonard Bernstein, Richard Tucker, Luciano Pavarotti, Placido Domingo, Jerome Robbins, George Balanchine, and many other important artists. He concertizes and lectures extensively throughout South Florida and is also an adjunct professor of Music History at the Conservatory of Music at Lynn University.