CHICAGO (WLS) -- Music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim: it's the gold standard. The haunting refrains, the soaring cadence and the wonder of his glistening words.
Sondheim is receiving the Carl Sandberg Literary Award from the Chicago Public Library. Through his career he has won eight Tonys, eight Grammys, an Academy Award and a Pulitzer Prize.
Sondheim says his musical destiny was launched early.
Like every other nice, little Jewish boy on the west side, I took piano lessons at the age of 7 and played for my father and mother's guests like every kid," Sondheim says.
The Porchlight Music Theatre got raves reviews for its recent production of "Sondheim on Sondheim." The artist won't see his shows once they've left the Great White Way.
"Only when it's running on Broadway, when I have to help keep it tuned, but no, you're always bound to be disappointed it's not going to live up to your memory of what it was originally, that's all," he says.
Sondheim won't even play his own songs!
"Oh it's no fun to play your own stuff that's no fun!" he says.
Sondheim did a pre-Broadway run of a show called "Bounce" here in Chicago at the Goodman Theatre. It later became "Road Show."
"Theater here is wonderful, it's very lively, so much activity going on," says Sondheim. "Though I was born in Manhattan, though I love Manhattan, if there would be any other city in the United States that I would think of living in, it would be Chicago because it's very lovely, because it's up."