English 177 - Spring, 2023

Study of an Individual Author

Topic: TBA

Class Information

Instructor: Wallis, Christopher J.
CRN: 42267
Time: MWF 3:10-4:00pm
Location: 233 Wellman
GE Areas: Writing Experience


Topic: Stephen Sondheim

Throughout his prolific theater career, Stephen Sondheim regularly challenged expectations and upended conventions regarding musical comedies. This course examines three of Sondheim's plays: Company (1970), Sunday in the Park with George (1984), and Into the Woods (1987). Using various critical methodological lenses--including genre studies, reader-response, queer theory, and feminist inquiry--we'll explore how through their redefining of the musical genre these works confront other established boundaries and forms of knowledge. Topics may include gender politics; what constitutes a happy ending; time and temporality; Sondheim's collaborative process; the relationship of text to performance, the transmission and reliability of information; and alternatives for belonging.


Discussion Posts: 10%
Critical Exercises (3 in total, 2 pages each): 35%
Term Paper (7-9 pages): 40%
Final Exam: 15%


Company (1996 edition); ISBN: 1559361085, Stephen Sondheim and George Furth
Sunday in the Park with George, ISBN: 9781557830685, Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine
Into the Woods, ISBN: 9780930452933, Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine
Company (2019 edition), ISBN: 9781848428355, Stephen Sondheim and George Furth