Stephen Sondheim has died aged 91.
The famed composer and lyricist, who was behind some of the biggest musical theatre productions, passed away on Friday (26.11.21) at his home in Roxbury, Connecticut, his lawyer and friend F. Richard Pappas has confirmed.
The news was first reported by the New York Times, who said Pappas described Sondheim’s death as “sudden”, as he had celebrated Thanksgiving with his friends just one day earlier.
Sondheim’s career spanned more than 60 years, and he was known for co-creating Broadway theatre classics including ‘West Side Story’, ‘Gypsy’, ‘Sweeney Todd’, and ‘Into the Woods’, all of which went on to become hit movies.
The composer had his first big hit with ‘West Side Story’ when he was just 27 years old, and he went on to be praised for having “reinvented the American musical".
On the news of his death, producer Cameron Mackintosh issued a statement to The Guardian which read: “The theatre has lost one of its greatest geniuses and the world has lost one of its greatest and most original writers. Sadly, there is now a giant in the sky. But the brilliance of Stephen Sondheim will still be here as his legendary songs and shows will be performed for evermore. Goodbye old friend and thank you from all of us.”
And several celebrities have already paid tribute to the legendary composer, including Barbra Streisand.
She wrote on Twitter: “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 (sic)”
While Anna Kendrick added: “I was just talking to someone a few nights ago about how much fun (and f****** difficult) it is to sing Stephen Sondheim. Performing his work has been among the greatest privileges of my career. A devastating loss. (sic)”
And Josh Gad also tweeted: “Perhaps not since April 23rd of 1616 has theater lost such a revolutionary voice. Thank you Mr. Sondheim for your Demon Barber, some Night Music, a Sunday in the Park, Company, fun at a Forum, a trip Into the Woods and telling us a West Side Story. RIP. (sic)”
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