Six by Sondheim (HBO)
In an ABC News clip included in Six By Sondheim, Stephen Sondheim, the celebrated Broadway composer and lyricist, tells Diane Sawyer he regrets never having become a biological father but says that “art is the other way of having children.” Six of his offspring, including “I’m Still Here” from Follies and “Sunday” from Sunday in the Park with George, figure prominently in this documentary, a marvelous mix of biography, musical showcase and music appreciation. Sondheim, seen and heard in excerpts from interviews that span seven decades, makes a candid, insightful guide to his own life and work. Writer-director James Lapine, his frequent Broadway collaborator, and editor Miky Wolf deftly use his words to explain the gestation of the six chosen songs, performances of which range from archival rarities (Larry Kert, West Side Story’s original Tony, singing “Something’s Coming” on TV in 1957) to fresh, new stagings (a simple, deeply poignant “Send in the Clowns” by Audra MacDonald). For its musical delights and its revealing glimpse into the process of making art, Six By Sondheimreceives a Peabody Award.
Executive Producers: Sheila Nevins, James Lapine, Frank Rich. Producer: Liz Stanton. Senior Producer: Nancy Abraham. Director: James Lapine. Editor: Miky Wolf.