Sondheim was born into a Jewish family members in New York City, the boy of Etta Janet (“Foxy, ” née Fox; 1897-1992) and Herbert Sondheim (1895-1966). His father manufactured gowns designed by his mother. The actual composer grew up on the Top West Side of New york and, after his moms and dads divorced, on a farm close to Doylestown, Pennsylvania. As the just child of well-to-do moms and dads living in the San Propulsor on Central Park To the west, he was described in Meryle Secrest’s biography (Stephen Sondheim: A Life) as an separated, emotionally-neglected child. When he occupied New York, Sondheim attended ECFS, the Ethical Culture Fieldston School known simply because “Fieldston”. He later went to the New York Military Schools and George School, a personal Quaker preparatory school within Bucks County, Pennsylvania wherever he wrote his very first musical, By George, as well as from which he graduated within 1946. Sondheim spent a number of summers at Camp Androscoggin.
He traces his desire for theatre to Very Warm with regard to May, a Broadway music he saw when he had been nine. “The curtain gone up and revealed the piano, ” Sondheim remembered. “A butler took the duster and brushed upward, tinkling the keys. I believed that was thrilling. ”
Whenever Sondheim was ten, their father (already a faraway figure) left his mom for another woman (Alicia, along with whom he had two sons). Herbert sought custody associated with Stephen but was not successful. Sondheim explained to biographer Secrest that he was “what these people call an institutionalized kid, meaning one who has no connection with any kind of family. You’re within, though it’s luxurious, if you’re in an environment that materials you with everything however human contact. No siblings, no parents, and yet a lot to eat, and friends to try out with and a warm mattress, you know? ”
Sondheim detested his mother, who was reported to be psychologically abusive and expected her anger from the girl failed marriage on her boy: “When my father left the girl, she substituted me with regard to him. And she utilized me the way she utilized him, to come on to and also to berate, beat up on, you observe. What she did with regard to five years was deal with me like dirt, however come on to me at the same time. inch She once wrote your pet a letter saying that this “only regret ever had had been giving him birth. inch When his mother passed away in the spring of 1992, Sondheim did not attend the girl funeral.