Stephen Joshua Sondheim is an American composer and lyricist. One of the most important figures in 20th-century musical theater, Sondheim has been praised for having “reinvented the American musical" with shows that tackle "unexpected themes that range far beyond the [genre's] traditional subjects" with "music and lyrics of unprecedented complexity and sophistication." His shows have been acclaimed for addressing "darker, more harrowing elements of the human experience," with songs often tinged with "ambivalence" about various aspects of life.
His best-known works as composer and lyricist include A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Company, Follies, A Little Night Music, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, Sunday in the Park with George, and Into the Woods. He is also known for writing the lyrics for West Side Story and Gypsy.
Sondheim has won the Tony Award for best musical eight times, more than any other composer. His other awards include an Academy Award, a Special Tony Award, eight Grammy Awards, a Pulitzer Prize, a Laurence Olivier Award, and a 2015 Presidential Medal of Freedom.