This story is one of the seven covers of T Magazine’s Greats issue, on newsstands Oct. 22.
Lin-Manuel Miranda speaks to the man who has consistently remade the American musical over his 60-year career — and who is trying to surprise us one more time.
Sondheim was one of the first people Lin-Manuel spoke to about his idea for 'Hamilton.' (Colin Dodgson)
Sondheim: I hope you don’t mind doing this upstairs, I’m feeling a bit under the weather.
It’s July 2017. We are on the second floor of Stephen Sondheim’s Midtown Manhattan townhouse, and he’s nestled on his writing couch. There’s a famous picture of him reclining in this very spot from 1960: young Sondheim staring intently at a pad of paper, Blackwing pencil at the ready, framed by two windows. His right hand on his face, deep in thought.
Sondheim: The writing’s not going well today.
Nearly 60 years later, Sondheim is on the same couch. He is 87 years old. He’s wearing his rumpled-writer T-shirt and sweatpants, he’s got a sour stomach. He is writing a new musical with David Ives for the Public Theater, an adaptation of two films by the late Spanish director Luis Buñuel, and he’s staring down a deadline. And here I am, interrupting his writing day for this interview.