[ on sondheim ] [ teaching resources ] [ into the woods, jr. ] [ merily we roll along ] [ sweeney todd ] [ sunday in the park with george ]

Looking for ways to introduce students to one of the most influential figures in musical theatre history? These lesson plans and activities, a comprehensive glossary of terms, and additional resources will introduce students to the magical world of musicals and the legendary Stephen Sondheim.



These arts-integrated lessons will teach students about the life and work of Stephen Sondheim, musical theatre history and production, and more!

Dancing in the Park with Friends

Stephen Sondheim's musical Sunday in the Park with George is inspired by the painting "A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte," by Georges Seurat. In this unit, students study both the painting and the play. After answering questions about Seurat and his artwork, students learn a dance based on a character in the Sondheim's play. Finally, they choreograph an original dance piece.

The lessons in this unit are:
Introduction to Seurat and Sondheim
Choreographing Characters in a Painting
Sunday in the Park with George: The Finale

The Work of Stephen Sondheim

This curriculum unit brings students in touch with the remarkable contributions of Stephen Sondheim to musical theatre. Students examine selected Sondheim works from three perspectives: within the historical context of musical theatre; as a voice of cultural change, articulating the impact of modern tensions on human emotions and experiences; and as an innovator in structural design, pushing the boundaries of the creative process. The unit also brings students in touch with their own creative voice by challenging them to venture into areas of creative expression that they may not have tried before.

The lessons in this unit are:
Sondheim: Creating a Context
Sondheim: Voices of Cultural Change
Sondheim: Secret Metaphors


Cuesheet for Students: Into the Woods, Jr.

Performances of Into the Woods, Jr. are part of the Kennedy Center's festival honoring the work of American lyricist and composer Stephen Sondheim. This Cuesheet is designed to help students enjoy the performance of Into the Woods, Jr; however, it contains a wealth of background information and student activities that can be used in and out of the classroom.

A Stephen Sondheim Timeline

This useful Internet-based timeline presents important milestones in the life and career of Stephen Sondheim, with links to a wealth of Internet resources for more information.

Musical Theatre Glossary of Terms

Looking for definitions of common vocabulary used to describe, create, and produce musicals? This resource will help explain to students everything from a "proscenium arch" to an "understudy."

Additional Resources

Interested in finding a good recording of Sweeney Todd or Into the Woods? Do you want to read more on Stephen Sondheim in books or on the Internet? This compilation of resources contains primary source material, WebLinks, print resources, audio and video recordings, and multimedia.



Each of Sondheim's musicals is distinctively different; different from other Broadway musicals, and different from other Sondheim musicals as well. All were ground-breaking in their time, all remain provocative today.

In our Selected Works section, we focus on four Sondheim musicals that are appropriate for high school audiences.



You can download and print free posters from the Sondheim Celebration for your classroom, created especially for ARTSEDGE users! For a full list of the posters, media, and other resources (as well as instructions for their use), visit the Extras page.

This resource was created in May 2002 by ARTSEDGE. All rights reserved.
For credits and additional information, see the Sources page.
ARTSEDGE is a project of the Education Department of The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts,
and is a member of the MarcoPolo Partnership.