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Great Performances: Sondheim! The Birthday Concert

Airs Wednesday, November 24, 2010 at 10 p.m. on KPBS TV

Above: Stephen Sondheim stands on stage with the cast from "Great Performances: Sondheim! The Birthday Concert," which included Laura Benanti, Michael Cerveris, Victoria Clark, Jason Danieley, Joanna Gleason, Nathan Gunn, George Hearn, Patti LuPone, Marin Mazzie, Audra McDonald, Donna Murphy, Karen Olivo and dancers from the current "West Side Story" revival, Mandy Patinkin, Bernadette Peters, Elaine Stritch and Chip Zien.

From his early years under the tutelage of friend and mentor Oscar Hammerstein II and continuing through the groundbreaking productions of his later career, Stephen Sondheim has been a singular voice in the American musical theater, a true original in the pantheon of major American songwriters and composers.

 Jason Danieley and Marin Mazzie perform on stage for "Sondheim! The Birthday Concert."
Enlarge this image

Above: Jason Danieley and Marin Mazzie perform on stage for "Sondheim! The Birthday Concert."

Audra McDonald performs on stage for "Sondheim! The Birthday Concert."
Enlarge this image

Above: Audra McDonald performs on stage for "Sondheim! The Birthday Concert."

Beginning with his collaborations as lyricist on such fabled shows as "West Side Story" and "Gypsy," to his breakthrough scores for "Company," "Follies," "A Little Night Music," "Sweeney Todd," "Sunday in the Park With George" and "Into the Woods," Sondheim led the way from Broadway’s golden age into the increasingly ambivalent times of America’s post-Vietnam, rock ‘n’ roll culture.

On the occasion of Sondheim’s 80th birthday in March 2010, GREAT PERFORMANCES presents the New York Philharmonic’s gala all-star salute to a true Broadway legend. David Hyde Pierce hosts the celebration, which includes such acclaimed Sondheim alumni as Laura Benanti, Michael Cerveris, Victoria Clark, Jason Danieley, Joanna Gleason, Nathan Gunn, George Hearn, Patti LuPone, Marin Mazzie, Audra McDonald, Donna Murphy, Karen Olivo and dancers from the current West Side Story revival, Mandy Patinkin, Bernadette Peters, Elaine Stritch and Chip Zien. Longtime Sondheim music director Paul Gemignani conducts.

Video

Preview: Great Performances: Sondheim! The Birthday Concert

Above: Watch Broadway veterans Bernadette Peters and Mandy Patinkin perform "Move On" from Stephen Sondheim's "Sunday in the Park with George" with the New York Philharmonic for Sondheim's 80th birthday celebration. "Sondheim! The Birthday Concert" is a two-hour concert airing on PBS.