Composer and lyricist Stephen Sondheim, one of the 20th century’s most influential musical theater figures, died on Friday at the age of 91, according to The New York Times.
Sondheim’s death was confirmed by lawyer and friend F. Richard Pappas, who called his death “sudden”. He had just celebrated Thanksgiving with friends at his Roxbury, Connecticut home on Thursday.
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“Maybe not since April 23, 1616 [when William Shakespeare died] Has theater lost such a revolutionary voice, âTony Award nominee Josh Gad suggested on Twitter. âThank you Mr Sondheim for your Demon Barber, the nightly music, a Sunday in the park, the company, fun at a forum, a trip to the woods and telling us a West Side story. TEAR.”
âThank the Lord, Sondheim lived to be 91, so he had time to write such wonderful music and GREAT lyrics! EGOT winner Barbra Streisand said on Twitter. “May he rest in peace.”
âRest in peace, Stephen Sondheim, and thank you for your vast contributions to musical theater,â Tony winner Lea Salonga tweeted. âWe will sing your songs forever. “
In addition to his eight Tony’s, Sondheim has received seven Grammys, an Academy Award, a Laurence Olivier Award, a Pulitzer Prize and a Presidential Medal of Freedom 2015. His best-known works include A funny thing happened on the way to the forum (1962), Society (1970), Follies (1971), A little night music (1973), Sweeney Todd: Fleet Street Barber Demon (1979), Sunday in the park with George (1984) and In the woods (1987). He also provided lyrics for West Side Story (1957) and Gypsy (1959).
One of his first jobs was to write for television. He is credited on six episodes of the CBS comedy Topper, which lasted for two seasons between 1953 and 1955. It won a Primetime Emmy nomination for best sitcom in 1954.
In 2007, Sondheim voiced a fictional version of himself in a Season 18 episode of The simpsons.
Neil Gaiman shared on Twitter that Sondheim “wrote me a wonderful letter of permission to use” Old Friends ” [from Merrily We Roll Along] in American gods. I avoided meeting him (I only failed once) and turned down dinner because I didn’t have a lot of heroes. Now I have one less. Thank you very much Stephen Sondheim.
At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, Oscar winner Meryl Streep has joined The good fight‘s Christine Baranski and Audra McDonald for a home performance of Society‘s “The Ladies Who Lunch”, as part of Take Me to the World: A Celebration of Sondheim’s 90th Anniversary for the benefit of ASTEP (Artists in the fight against poverty). Take a look below:
Sondheim made his last television appearance in September, when he appeared as a guest on CBS ‘ The Late Show with Stephen Colbert:
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