(Patrick Healy's article appeared in The New York Times, 1/3.)


Making His Entrance Again, Intimately


At 79, with some of the greatest works of American musical theater to his credit, Stephen Sondheim has reached that point in a prolific composer’s career when major revivals of his shows now number in the double digits. And with revival has come reconception. On Broadway the most evident trend has been toward chamber-style orchestrations like the eight-instrument arrangements for the current revival of “A Little Night Music,” Mr. Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler’s story of aging lovers grappling with regrets.


The chamberization of his work has had a double-edged, somewhat surreal effect on him, Mr. Sondheim said during a recent interview at his Manhattan town house.

“I’ve reached an age where I’m two generations past when I was considered avant-garde. I went right from avant-garde to being old hat in five minutes, and you start to feel superannuated,” he said. “With every new generation, popular art changes. Already there’s a generation that thinks the Beatles are old-fashioned, which I find screamingly funny. The same thing is true of plays and musicals. People need things loud and fast. That’s one of the things that I like about ‘Little Night Music.’ The musical says: Slow down. Slow down and think.”

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