One of the most reclusive legends in modern American history will make a rare appearance in Costa Mesa on Oct. 29.
Prolific Broadway composer and lyricist Stephen Sondheim will speak with American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers head Michael Kerker at the one-night-only affair, which also will feature the vocal stylings of fellow musical legends Christine Ebersole and Brian Stokes Mitchell. The duo will perform many of Sondheim's best-loved songs.
Sondheim has brought some of Broadway's most beloved characters to the stage — from Tony and Maria in "West Side Story" to the eponymous "Sweeney Todd," and from the passive-aggressive Cinderella of "Into the Woods" to the "decrepit Desiree" of "A Little Night Music," made famous by Judi Dench's unforgettable performance.
He is as well known for his seclusion as for his musical genius, and has won everything from a Pulitzer Prize to an Oscar, along with oodles of all of the expected awards —Tonys, Grammys and the like.
Sondheim was born in 1930. He was mentored as a teenager by Oscar Hammerstein. His brilliance began to show very early in life; his lyrics to "West Side Story" and "Gypsy" were written while Sondheim was still in his 20s. From there, he skyrocketed to fame and was responsible for the music and lyrics of some of the top shows of the past 50 years.
Sondheim stands out from other composers and lyricists for his delight in playing with dissonance, discord and cacophony. His productions don't necessarily receive rave reviews or sellout crowds at first, but they mellow like fine wine — and now are considered standards for theater companies worldwide.
Tickets for this event start at $35.
Can't get enough cabaret?
Like Stephen Sondheim, Audra McDonald will be making a one-night stand at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts.
On Saturday night, the actress and singer, recipient of three Tony Awards before she was 30, returns to the center for a single show to open the center's 2011-2012 Cabaret Series.
The star of the ABC series "Private Practice," McDonald and her melodious voice (and equally unsurpassable form) rose quickly from regional stages to Broadway to film and television. She has now earned four Tony Awards and two Grammys.
The concert tour is the latest metamorphosis in McDonald's career, following four successful seasons on television. She soon will appear onstage in New York in a new adaptation of Gershwin's "Porgy and Bess."
Tickets for McDonald's concert start at $25.
If You Go
What: Audra McDonald
When: 8 p.m. Oct. 15
What: Stephen Sondheim: In Conversation
When: 8 p.m. Oct. 29
Where: Both the McDonald and Sondheim events will take place in the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall, 600 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa
Tickets and more information: (714) 556-2787 or scfta.org