It’s the beginning of the holiday season, and Thanksgiving always reminds us of things we’re grateful for. I’m especially thankful for the hundreds of people who have already purchased The Stephen Sondheim Encyclopedia — and hopeful that more of you might consider it as a gift for a friend who loves musical theater.
Here’s an inside tip: I’ve reminded people that my website offers a coupon code for 30% off the price of the book. (That code can be used through April 2022.) But there’s an even better bargain available right now. My publisher Rowman & Littlefield is promoting an even more generous 35% off with a different code: Use the link at www.RickPenderWrites.com for Rowman & Littlefield to purchase the Encyclopedia, but for the holidays enter 21JOYSALE and you’ll save more than a third on the Encyclopedia’s list price.
If you’re looking for another holiday gift for someone who treasures musical theater, consider Fifty Key Stage Musicals, edited by Robert W. Schneider (Routledge, 2022). It’s available for pre-order now, shipping after March 31, 2022. The hardback edition is even more expensive than the Sondheim Encyclopedia, but you can purchase the paperback edition with a very affordable price of $39.95. The book is a round-up of 50 musicals that were seminal in altering the landscape of musical theater discourse in the English-speaking world.
I’m one of 50 contributors to this volume: I wrote about Sondheim and Furth’s Company from 1970, currently receiving a Broadway revival with a gender switch of its central character. Each entry in Fifty Key Stage Musicals summarizes a show with information about its creators, director and choreographer of the original production, its date and cast, a full synopsis, insights into the creative process, its critical reception and its impact on the landscape of musical theater.
Other big news is the imminent arrival of Steven Spielberg’s cinematic remake of West Side Story, set for theatrical release on Dec. 10. The first of my “Complete Stephen Sondheim” conversations with Stuart Brown for his Sounds of Broadway internet radio station takes an in-depth look at the original 1961 film.
Sondheim recently told Steven Colbert that he and David Ives are again working on a new musical, Square One, inspired by a pair of Luis Buñuel’s avant-garde films. Fans are eagerly awaiting what’s coming next. It’s already been workshopped with a private performance that included Nathan Lane and Bernadette Peters.
Best wishes to all the Sondheim fans out there: 2022 promises to be another banner year.