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Phil Reno on Stephen Sondheim

The following note originally appeared in the playbill for PTC’s Putting It Together (March 3 – 18, 2023):

Musical Director Phil Reno & Judy McLane | Credit: BW Productions

When Stephen Sondheim passed away in November 2021, at age 91, theatre lovers worldwide mourned the revered composer and lyricist who re-invented and re-invigorated the American stage musical. For over half a century, the New York City native was a relentlessly innovative theatrical force, even if his shows were not always commercially successful. His celebrated career included eight Tony Awards, a Pulitzer Prize, an Oscar, eight Grammys, and the Kennedy Center Honor for Lifetime Achievement. 

On a more personal note, my very first job in New York was an off-Broadway revival of Sondheim’s A Little Night Music. My two fellow musicians and I were extremely nervous the evening that the legendary composer came to see the show. Luckily, his encouragement of young artists was well known, and right after the performance, he bounded down the aisle to shake our hands and exclaim, “The score has never sounded better!” An inspiration and a kindness never to be forgotten. This evening you will hear some of Mr. Sondheim’s most well-known songs, and some of my personal favorites. 

Please enjoy our loving tribute to a theatrical master. 

Phil Reno
Musical Director & Conductor

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