Musical theatre legend Stephen Sondheim dies aged 91
Many stars have paid tribute to the composer and lyricist.
Musical theatre legend Stephen Sondheim has died at the age of 91.
The American composer and lyricist passed away on Friday (26 November) at his home in Roxbury, Connecticut, his lawyer told the New York Times.
Regarded as one of the most important figures in 20th-century musical theater, Sondheim was described as having reinvented the American musical on account of his show's darker, more complex themes.
His work as a composer and lyricist includes A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Company, Follies, A Little Night Music, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, Sunday in the Park with George and Into the Woods.
Sondheim was also known for writing the lyrics for shows West Side Story and Gypsy, as well as five songs for the hit 1990 action crime comedy film Dick Tracy.
Much of the composer and lyricist's theatre work has been adapted for cinema.
Throughout his career, he garnered nine Tony Awards, an Academy Award, eight Grammy Awards, a Pulitzer Prize, a Laurence Olivier Award and a 2015 Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Fellow composer and lyricist Lin-Manuel Miranda wrote on Twitter about his love for Sondheim, who has a voice cameo in Miranda's recent movie Tick, Tick... Boom.
"Future historians: Stephen Sondheim was real," he said.
"Yes, he wrote Tony & Maria AND Sweeney Todd AND Bobby AND George & Dot AND Fosca AND countless more.
"Some may theorise Shakespeare's works were by committee but Steve was real and he was here and he laughed SO loud at shows and we loved him."
Future historians: Stephen Sondheim was real. Yes, he wrote Tony & Maria AND Sweeney Todd AND Bobby AND George & Dot AND Fosca AND countless more. Some may theorize Shakespeare's works were by committee but Steve was real & he was here & he laughed SO loud at shows & we loved him
— Lin-Manuel Miranda (@Lin_Manuel) November 27, 2021
"Thank the Lord that Sondheim lived to be 91 years old so he had the time to write such wonderful music and GREAT lyrics! May he Rest In Peace," Barbra Streisand wrote.
Thank the Lord that Sondheim lived to be 91 years old so he had the time to write such wonderful music and GREAT lyrics! May he Rest In Peace🥲🎵 🎶🎵 pic.twitter.com/vshNSdkvpQ
— Barbra Streisand (@BarbraStreisand) November 26, 2021
Paul McCartney said he was "very sad" to hear about Sondheim's death, calling song 'Send in the Clowns' from A Little Night Music one of his favourites.
Very sad to hear of the passing of the great Stephen Sondheim. I was fortunate to meet him and chat about songwriting. He was a witty intelligent man. 'Send in the Clowns' is one of my favourite songs. So well crafted and beautiful with it. 1/2 pic.twitter.com/V21XAI9zcq
— Paul McCartney (@PaulMcCartney) November 27, 2021
Currently performing in a production of Company in Spain, Antonio Banderas also paid tribute to the theatre "giant".
"Just about one hour ago I was singing 'Being Alive', the final musical number of Company in our production here in Spain.
"Now I am in home, still with rests of make-up on my face crying the death of our maestro. One of the huge legends of musical theatre. A giant. May he RIP."
Just about 1h ago I was singing “Being Alive”, the final musical number of #COMPANY in our production here in Spain.
Now I am in home, still with rests of make up on my face crying the death of our maestro. One of the huge legends of musical theatre. A giant. May he RIP #Sondheim pic.twitter.com/7EbDszL0NB
— Antonio Banderas (@antoniobanderas) November 26, 2021