Stephen Sondheim & Frank Rich

Starting his career at the late-’50s tail of the Broadway musical’s golden age, Stephen Sondheim, an Oscar Hammerstein protégé, turned out to be just the man to lead it into its next phase. Actually, he pretty much was its next phase. Hair and its self-conscious “relevance” was a fluke; what the musical needed was the urbanity of the earlier Gershwin/Porter generation, mixed with unsentimentality, bittersweetness, bravura verbal adroitness, and what in our Daily Show era seems like a very prescient sense of irony. Though he never quite obtained, or sought, the mainstream popularity of Andrew Lloyd Webber and his Broadway-as-theme-park school of musicals, Sondheim has earned every other accolade—Oscar, Pulitzer, and multiple Tony Awards. In his first Seattle visit, Sondheim will chat and reminisce toniiiight, toniiiight with Frank Rich, an avowed fan once known as “the Butcher of Broadway” for his New York Times theater reviews, and just as stinging today as Sunday op-ed writer. GAVIN BORCHERT

Mon., Oct. 26, 8 p.m., 2009

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