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Stephen Sondheim Typescript

An inventory of the item at Syracuse University

Finding aid created by: MRC
Date: 04 Sep 2012

Biographical History

Stephen Joshua Sondheim (1930- ) is an award-winning American composer and lyricist for stage and film. His awards include an Academy Award, eight Tony Awards (including one for Lifetime Achievement), multiple Grammy Awards, a Pulitzer Prize and the Laurence Olivier Award. Among his most well-known works are A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Follies, A Little Night Music, Sweeney Todd, Into the Woods, West Side Story, and Gypsy.

Sondheim was president of the Dramatists Guild from 1973-1981 and, on his 80th birthday, the Henry Miller's Theater was renamed the Stephen Sondheim Theater in his honor.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Stephen Sondheim Typescript consists of a carbon typescript of a musical by Stephen Sondheim, with extensive annotations and revisions. The title page reads: "CLIMB HIGH / A New Musical / By / Stephen Sondheim" with the date (1952) at lower left and Sondheim's Fifth Avenue address at lower right. This musical was never produced, performed or published. The story line takes place on the campus of Sondheim's alma mater, Williams College (renamed Burgess College in the script), and was written shortly after Sondheim graduated at the direct request of Oscar Hammerstein II. It represents an important window into the early work of the internationally-recognized composer and lyricist.

In a letter (12 Jul 2006) to Andreas Brown of the Gotham Book Mart, a photocopy of which is included in the collection, Sondheim identified the annotations as those of Burt Shevelove, American musical theater playwright, lyricist, librettist, and director, and an important influence on Sondheim's early career.

Arrangement of the Collection

Single item.


Access Restrictions:

The majority of our archival and manuscript collections are housed offsite and require advanced notice for retrieval. Researchers are encouraged to contact us in advance concerning the collection material they wish to access for their research.

Use Restrictions:

Written permission must be obtained from SCRC and all relevant rights holders before publishing quotations, excerpts or images from any materials in this collection.

Subject Headings


Shevelove, Burt.
Sondheim, Stephen.

Associated Titles

Climb high.


Composers -- United States.
Musicals -- United States -- Analysis, appreciation.
Musicals -- United States.

Genres and Forms




Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

Stephen Sondheim Typescript,
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Acquisition Information

Gift of Eric Sherman, 2012.

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