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Stephen Sondheim, Legend of the Musical Theatre Dies Aged 91

Stephen Sondheim, the famous American composer, and lyricist who was instrumental in shaping the American musical theater with his intelligent, intricately rhymed lyrics, has passed away on Friday, November 26.

The news of his death was confirmed by his representative to a media company. He was 91.

Sondheim who was famous for his landmark musicals like “Company”, “Send in the Clowns”,” Follies” and “Sweeney Todd,” has influenced many generations of theater songwriters.

Musical theatre star Stephen Sondheim dies at the age of 91

His friends, industry colleagues, and fans mourned his death by sharing their condolence messages on social media.

Singer Barbra Streisand tweeted, “Thank the Lord that Sondheim lived to be 91 years old so he had the time to write such wonderful music and GREAT lyrics!”

Producer Cameron Mackintosh paid tribute to Stephen saying, “The theater 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”.

Below is a tweet from New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio who offered his tributes to the late composer.

Stephen Sondheim was born in the year 1930 in New York City to an affluent family. His parents separated when he was just seven. He moved to Pennsylvania along with his mother and started getting involved in musical theatre at a very young age. He started playing piano when he was seven years old and with help of his neighbor Oscar Hammerstein II he learned to write musicals.

In 1957, Sondheim achieved his first big success on Broadway with West Side Story, which transplanted Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet to working-class Manhattan.

Sondheim won several accolades in his long career spanning many decades. He won eight Grammy Awards, eight Tony Awards, and the special honor of Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre in 2008.

He also won one Academy Award and a Pulitzer Prize for “Sunday in the Park”. He was nominated twice for Golden Globes and many times for Grammys and other awards.

In an interview given to National Public Radio, Sondheim said, “I love the theatre as much as music, and the whole idea of getting across to an audience and making them laugh, making them cry – just making them feel – is paramount to me.”

Former US president Barack Obama has presented the country’s highest civilian award, The Presidential Medal of Freedom to Sondheim in 2015 for his life’s work.

During the ceremony, Barack Obama said, “Stephen’s music is so beautiful, his lyrics so precise, that even as he exposes the imperfections of everyday life, he transcends them. We transcend them. Put simply, Stephen reinvented the American musical.”

Sondheim was living alone as per some reports published in media, to keep his sexual orientation under wraps. Sondheim, who was gay, married his partner Jeffrey Romley a few years back in 2017.

Archana Kabra
Archana Kabra is a Freelance Writer and has been extensively writing stuff related to Entertainment, Lifestyle, and Technology. She is also an ardent music lover. Twitter handle: @archana153sarda
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