Dec 02, 2022

By Andy Johnson

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Milwaukee is famous for beer and is now on the map because of a rare live recording of Stephen Sondheim singing “Phinney’s Rainbow.”


Sondheim, the celebrated songwriter, who is best known for his work on West Side Story and Gypsy, wrote the song when he was an 18-year old student in 1948.

The material was found when former journalist and music historian, Paul Salsini was cleaning up his office.

The show had four performances at Williams College in Massachusetts and someone, possibly even Sondheim himself, recorded it before it was eventually transferred to a CD.

Salsini, who is the author of the memoir “Sondheim and Me: Revealing a Musical Genius,” says the performance is more than an hour long and contains 17 tracks.

He’s donating it to the Sondheim Research Collection in Milwaukee to enable the wider public to hear it.

Stephen Sondheim died last year at the age of 91.

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