Legendary Composer Stephen Sondheim Dead at 91
Sondheim, often credited with reshaping the American musical theater, was the genius behind many popular musicals including "Sweeney Todd," "into the Woods" and "A Little Night Music."
Musical theater legend Stephen Sondheim has died. The composer was 91 years old, according to CBS News, and no details have been released about his cause of death.
Sondheim, often credited with reshaping the American musical theater, was the genius behind many popular musicals, including "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum," "Company," "Follies," "A Little Night Music," and "Sweeney Todd."
He's also collaborated and worked on projects like "West Side Story," "Candide," and "Do I Hear a Waltz," according to PBS.
Many know Sondheim's ballad "Send in the Clowns," which was recorded and performed hundreds of times by artists like Judy Collins, Frank Sinatra, Barbra Streisand, Carol Burnett, and Bernadette Peters. The song was from "A Little Night Music," which won several Tony Awards in 1973 including for Best Book in a Musical, Best Original Score, and Best Musical, according to Playbill.
In addition to six of his musicals winning many Tony Awards, Sondheim received an Academy Award for his song "Sooner or Later" from "Dick Tracy," he received a Pulitzer Prize for "Sunday in the Park," he won five Olivier Awards, and he received a Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement. In 2015, he was also presented the Presidential Medal of Freedom by former President Barack Obama, according to CBS News.
"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," Obama said during the ceremony. "Put simply, Stephen reinvented the American musical."
Since his passing, many celebrities and talent who have worked with or been influenced by Sondheim have posted tributes for the late star.
"I am so so sad to lose my friend Steve Sondheim. He gave me so much to sing about," Bernadette Peters posted. " I loved him dearly and will miss him so much. Thank you for all the gifts you gave the world Steve."
"Future historians: Stephen Sondheim was real," Lin Manuel Miranda wrote. "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. We love you. I love you. THANK YOU. –LMM."
"Stephen Sondheim was a gigantic figure in American culture," Stephen Spielberg stated. "one of our country's greatest songwriters, a lyricist and composer of real genius, and a creator of some of the most glorious musical dramas ever written."
"I will miss him very much, but he left a body of work that has taught us, and will keep teaching us, how hard and how absolutely necessary it is to love."
"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 Steisand posted on Twitter.
"Every so often someone comes along that fundamentally shifts an entire art form," Hugh Jackman said. "Stephen Sondheim was one of those. As millions mourn his passing I also want to express my gratitude for all he has given to me and so many more. Sending my love to his nearest and dearest."
"Perhaps not since April 23rd of 1616 has theater lost such a revolutionary voice," Josh Gad noted. "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."
"Goodbye dear sir," Idina Menzel said. "We will spend our lives trying to make you proud."
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