‘Incomparable’ Broadway composer Stephen Sondheim dies at 91

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Sondheim, famous for musicals including West Side Story and Sweeney Todd, died at home in Connecticut.

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Legendary composer and songwriter Stephen Sondheim, widely credited with revolutionizing musical theatre, died on Friday at the age of 91, reports The New York Times.


Lawyer F Richard Pappas told the newspaper that Sondheim — famous for music including West Side Story and Sweeney Todd — died suddenly at his home in Roxbury, Connecticut, a day after celebrating Thanksgiving with friends.

“There are no words. He had all that. And the music. He was matchless,” the UK-based Stephen Sondheim Society, which is dedicated to promoting and studying his work, tweeted with three heart emojis, among them One broke.

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“He was a god to many of us. We liked his work. And god he was good.”

Born on March 22, 1930, to an affluent New York City family, Sondheim became involved in musical theater from an early age.

He began playing the piano at the age of seven, and after his parents divorced and he moved to Pennsylvania with his mother, he learned to write music with neighbor Oscar Hammerstein II, who along with fellow Richard Rodgers worked on The Sound of Music. Wrote extremely popular shows including

Sondheim had his first major success on Broadway in 1957 with West Side Story, which relocated Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet to working-class Manhattan.

Later successes include Sweeney Todd, about a murderous barber in London whose victims are served as meat pies, which opened in 1979, and Into the Woods, which opened on Broadway in 1987 and opened for adults. To solve the passion used children’s fairy tales.

Sondheim said in a 2013 interview with National Public Radio, “I love theater as much as music, and the whole idea of ​​reaching out to audiences and making them laugh, make them cry – just make them feel – is paramount to me. ” ,

‘Sing your songs forever’

Sondheim won several awards during his career, including eight Grammy Awards and eight Tony Awards, including a special honor for Lifetime Achievement in Theater. He also received an Academy Award and a Pulitzer Prize, and was nominated for several more Grammys and tons as well as two Golden Globes.

In 2015, then-US President Barack Obama awarded Sondheim the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honour, for his life’s works.

Many of Sondheim’s musicals have been adapted into films, including West Side Story in 1961, which won an Oscar, and Into the Woods, starring Meryl Streep in 2007. A new version of West Side Story, directed by Steven Spielberg, is on the way. Released the following month.

Lin-Manuel Miranda, who created the smash-hit rap musical Hamilton and was mentored by Sondheim, has called him musical theatre’s greatest songwriter.

Sondheim, who was gay, reportedly lived alone until his 60s, keeping his sexuality a secret. In 2017, she married her partner, Jeffrey Romley, who was survived by her.

“Thank god Sondheim was 91 so he had time to write such amazing music and great songs!” Singer Barbra Streisand tweeted.

Actress and singer Lee Saonga, who was the first Asian woman to win a Tony for her lead role in the musical Miss Saigon, thanked Sondheim for her “widespread contribution to musical theatre”.

“We will always sing your songs. Oh my heart hurts,” she wrote on Twitter.


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