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The Festival is pleased to again host the presentation of the annual Chicago Tribune Literary Prize. The prize is part of the Chicago Tribune’s ongoing dedication to reading, writing, and ideas.
For more than 50 years, composer and lyricist Stephen Sondheim has set an unsurpassed standard of brilliance and artistic integrity in the musical theater. His accolades include an Academy Award, eight Tony Awards (more than any other composer) including the Special Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre, multiple Grammy Awards, and a Pulitzer Prize.
Sondheim’s oeuvre includes more than 80 musicals: A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Company, Follies, A Little Night Music, Sweeney Todd, Sunday in the Park with George, Into the Woods, and more. He also wrote the lyrics for West Side Story and Gypsy and has composed music for the silver screen;Dick Tracy's “Sooner or Later (I Always Get My Man)” won the 1991 Academy Award for Best Song. On the occasion of Sondheim’s 80th birthday, in 2010, the Henry Miller’s Theatre on West 43rd Street was renamed the Stephen Sondheim Theatre. He is the only living composer with a quarterly journal published in his name, The Sondheim Review. His book Finishing the Hat: Collected Lyrics (1954–1981) with Attendant Comments, Principles, Heresies, Grudges, Whines and Anecdotes was published in fall 2010; its sequel, due out in November 2011, is Look, I Made a Hat: Collected Lyrics (1981–2011) with Attendant Comments, Amplifications, Dogmas, Harangues, Wafflings, Diversions and Anecdotes.
Writing about the abundant celebrations in Sondheim’s 80th birthday year, Chris Jones of the Chicago Tribune put it best: “Nobody is saying that it’s too much. That’s because any lover of musical theater fervently wishes that Sondheim, like his parties, won’t ever end.”
Sondheim accepts the Chicago Tribune Literary Award at this fall’s Festival and will be interviewed about his life and work.
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