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HBO has aired an innumerable number of documentaries over the years. While the original scripted programming is the bread and the butter of the service, the network also likes to develop other creative content, especially documentaries. The latest is about the life and times of Stephen Sondheim, one of Broadway's most creative composers who has had a career in showbiz for the past six decades. The new documentary presentation is called Six By Sondheim.
Tony Award winner James Lapine, who worked with Sondheim on several occasions in the past, put together the film. It weaves together dozens of interviews and footage from Sondheim’s career, including brand new clips of Ethel Merman performing the song “Gypsy.” While it might seem like Six By Sondheim refers to the six decades of music he has worked on, it actually is a nod to the six songs that will be focused on throughout the tenure of the hour and a half-long documentary. Those songs are “Something’s Coming,” “Opening Doors,” “Send in the Clowns,” “I’m Still Here,” “Being Alive,” and “Sunday.”
Sondheim was destined for a musical career. Growing up, his mentor was Oscar Hammerstein, a man he met thanks to his mother’s friendship. By the time he was 27, he was already a big name on Broadway, thanks to penning the lyrics to West Side Story. The footage spans across many years and will include musical moments with some of today’s stars, as well as some longtime Sondheim collaborators including Audra McDonald, Darren Criss, Jeremy Jordan, America Ferrera, Bernadette Peters, Mandy Patinkin, Dean Jones, Yvonne de Carlo and Larry Kert.
The documentary will hit HBO's schedule next month, airing for the first time on December 9 at 9 p.m. ET. Repeats will air on December 12 at 9:30 a.m. ET and 6:30 p.m., December 15 at 11:45 a.m. ET, December 17 at 12:30 a.m. ET, December 20 at 10:45 a.m. ET, and December 28 at 2:00 p.m. ET. Additional airings will occur on HBO2 on December 11 at 8:00 p.m. ET, December 23 at 10:15 a.m. ET, and December 26 at 6:05 p.m. ET.
There’s still a little bit of time before the new documentary airs. In the meantime, here’s a look at one of the songs that started it all and will play a big role in the new documentary. “Something’s Coming” was a collaboration for West Side Story, created with music from Leonard Bernstein.
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