288 S Second St, San Jose, CA

Sondheim on Sondheim

Nov 30 – Dec 17, 2023

Music and Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim 
Conceived and Directed on Broadway by James Lapine 

Produced and Directed by Scott Evan Guggenheim
Musical Direction by Stephen Guggenheim
Choreographed by Shannon Guggenheim

A Celebration of the Extraordinary Work of

Composer-lyricist Stephen Sondheim

Journey with us into the mind of the legendary master, Stephen Sondheim the Father of the Modern Musical. Millions of fans know his songs by heart, but few know much about Stephen Sondheim himself. Sondheim on Sondheim is an intimate portrait of the beloved composer through his own words and music. 

Stephen Sondheim has been dubbed the titan of musical theatre and helped re-shape and re-imagine what could be done within the art form. From his work as a lyricist for West Side Story and Gypsy to the incredible music and lyrics he wrote for Follies, Company, Sweeney Todd, Sunday in the Park with George and Into the Woods this is

A revelatory revue full of wonderful moments featuring familiar favorites as well as many hidden gems. Audiences will immerse themselves in Sondheim’s unparalleled work in this funny, affectionate and revealing tribute to arguably musical theater’s greatest composer and lyricist that includes filmed commentary from the man himself. This production is part of San Jose Playhouse’s celebration of the maestro bringing to life some of his most monumental musical moments for a new generation.

  • Tickets

    Admission: $25 – $55

    $55 Regular

    $50 Students, seniors, educators, and military

    $45 Youth

    $25 Discounted tickets available on Nov 30 and Dec 1 in Rows J and K

    Group Discounts and Fundraising Opportunities available | Learn more

  • Length

    Sondheim on Sondheim runs 2 hours 15 minutes including one 15 minute intermission. 

  • Age Guide

    Sondheim on Sondheim is recommended for guests age 8 and up

  • Reviews

    This a cast of eight veteran performers who bring a rich mixture of local, national touring, and Broadway credentials among them, and 3Below’s Sondheim on Sondheim is both an evening for any Sondheim fanatic or neophyte to relish as well as an auspicious beginning for the refurbished opening of this new performing arts venue in San Jose.

    There is an overall smart, sophisticated feel to the evening as homage is paid to the man Frank Rich of The New York Times once called “now the greatest and perhaps best-known artist in the American musical theatre. ~ Talkin’ Broadway

    With crisp staging and pacing that never lagged the ensemble moved from number to number, keeping the audience engaged every minute. From the light-hearted Comedy Tonight (A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum) to the dark heart of Loving You (Passion), the singers made every number a compelling vignette that highlighted Sondheim’s unique power to paint musical pictures of human feelings, conflicts, self-deceptions and dark impulses.

    Leave it to Guggenheim Entertainment to launch an ambitious new theatrical venture with an equally ambitious live show, Sondheim on Sondheim, James Lapine’s revue of the musical theater giant’s six-decade career. ~ Silicon Valley Voice

    “Both beloved and obscure numbers taken directly from the Sondheim songbook supplement the stories told by the stellar cast… Through exclusive interviews, audiences get an inside look at the personal life and artistic process of the famed composer.” ~ Broadway World

    “With movie clips showing interviews of Stephen Sondheim featured on the big screen alongside cast members live on stage singing, dancing, and acting out many of his musical numbers, it was great to appreciate this living legend, or as some call him – “G-d”, for his work, sense of humor, and personal life.” ~ San Jose Blog

    “excellent primer-course for ‘tween musical theater fans, and a graduate-level treat for students who’ve been studying him for decades.” ~ SF Examiner

  • Learn More

    The tapestry of creativity that characterizes Stephen Sondheim remained largely undiscussed, especially by the man himself, until the creation of Sondheim on Sondheim. Through the use of exclusive interview footage, audiences get an inside look at the personal life and artistic process of famed composer, Stephen Sondheim. The show includes new arrangements of more than two dozen Sondheim tunes, ranging from the beloved to the obscure.

    The Guggenheims say, “It is the greatest honor and privilege to produce a play celebrating Stephen Sondheim for 3Below with an incredible group of singing actors who will inhabit this material and deliver performances for the audience that will move, transport, and inspire. The task is humbling, but as George would say: ‘White. A blank page or canvas. So many possibilities.’” 

    “When we first watched the video content that accompanies the actors in this production, Shannon and I both watched together and instantly felt like teens at the stage door waiting for an autograph from one’s idol,” said Scott Guggenheim who is co-directing and producing Sondheim on Sondheim with his wife and creative partner, Shannon Guggenheim. “Watching Mr. Sondheim in his living room, seeing his couch, what’s on his walls, his mantle – it really made the ‘theater geek’ inside us rather giddy. We can’t wait to share that kid-in-a-Sondheim-filled-candy-store feeling with our audiences.”

    Conceived and originally directed by Sondheim’s frequent collaborator James Lapine, 3Below’s production is produced, directed and choreographed by Scott and Shannon Guggenheim with musical direction by Stephen Guggenheim.

    “I originally wanted this show to be titled: An Evening with Stephen Sondheim, but there was a concern that our New York audience would actually think that Sondheim himself would be on stage every night,” said Lapine in his production notes. “Of course, with Sondheim on Sondheim, Steve is there, and I know that when you get to the end of the show and your cast sings ‘Anyone Can Whistle’ accompanied by the master himself, you and your audiences will feel as if you have indeed spent an evening with Stephen Sondheim.”

    Both beloved and obscure numbers taken directly from the Sondheim songbook supplement the stories told by the stellar cast. Starring Stephen Guggenheim, Susan Gundunas, Jared Lee, Krista Wigle, Juanita Harris, Nick Tobara, James Raasch, and Theresa Swain, Sondheim on Sondheim showcases music from 19 of Sondheim’s shows throughout the 100 minute production.

    “At the callbacks for this production, we asked each auditioner to share their favorite Sondheim memory,” said Shannon Guggenheim. “Perhaps the request could have been viewed as a device to weed out those actors not familiar enough with the material to be part of such a challenging new work, but we were pretty sure everyone in the room would be able to recount at least one defining moment when they fell in love with Sondheim. Not only did each person have a crystallized memory of the first time they were exposed to ‘Sunday In The Park With George,’ or when they realized ‘Anyone Can Whistle’ isn’t about whistling at all, but they spoke with great reverence about how this master’s compositions and lyrics have changed their lives. They know what a privilege it is to be able to sing Sondheim’s work and share the words and music with audiences equally enamored by the content, or even better, to introduce Sondheim to people unfamiliar with the remarkable anthology of songs we’ll present in this revue.”

    Cameron Mackintosh said:
    It is impossible to overstate the influence and contribution Stephen Sondheim has made to Musical Theatre, both personally and professionally. He was as great a teacher as he was an incomparable writer and the Little Things that he did for so many people forged legions of friendships throughout his long life. I was lucky enough to be Steve’s friend and occasional collaborator for over 45 years since I first produced Side By Side By Sondheim at the Wyndham’s Theatre in 1976. It was a friendship full of laughter, gossip and glorious insightful camaraderie. Steve was so prolific and profound as a writer that it’s impossible to put together a definitive list of his greatest songs, as everyone has their own favorites, so our choice of songs will purely reflect the joy and love I have for one of the greatest Broadway babies of all time.


Set Design by Scott Guggenheim
Lighting Design by Jon Gourdine
Video Created and Designed by Peter Flaherty
Orchestrations by Michael Starobin
Arrangements by David Loud
Technical Direction by Jeff Christensen
Production Stage Managed by Phil Lowery*


Jon Gourdine*
Lighting Designer and Production Manager
Phil Lowery*
Production Stage Manager
Juan Richardson
Assistant Stage Manager / Audio Engineer
*Member, Actors’ Equity Association

Photos from our 2018 Production of Sondheim on Sondheim

Sondheim on Sondheim is presented through special arrangement with Music Theatre International (MTI). 

All authorized performance materials are also supplied by MTI. www.mtishows.com