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Stephen Sondheim dead at 91: Broadway legend passes away ‘abruptly’

Broadway legend Stephen Sondheim has died aged 91.

The famed American composer and lyricist handed away ‘abruptly’ at his Roxbury, Conn. house, in accordance with his lawyer F. Richard Pappas, The New York Times reported.

Pappas stated that Sondheim had celebrated Thanksgiving the day prior along with his buddies surrounding him.

Stephen Sondheim dead at 91: Broadway legend passes away ‘abruptly’ day after celebrating Thanksgiving (Pictured in 2004) 

Stephen Sondheim, with stars including Meryl Streep at the premiere of Into the Woods

Stephen Sondheim, with stars together with Meryl Streep at the premiere of Into the Woods

Sondheim wrote the phrases for West Side Story and Gypsy; and the music and lyrics for a celebrated record of exhibits that embody A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum, Follies, A Little Night Music, and Sunday In The Park With George. 

The composer was born on March 22, 1930, to his upper-middle-class mother and father, Herbert and Janet Sondheim in New York City. 

His father was a dress producer whereas his mom labored in the identical trade as a clothier and inside decorator. 

At a really younger age, he studied piano for 2 years which is the place his curiosity within the musical stage started, and continued all through his schooling. 

Honors: Above, Sondheim is presented with the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Obama in 2015

Honors: Above, Sondheim is offered with the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Obama in 2015 

A new Broadway revival of Company is scheduled to open next month plus a new film version of West Side Story

A brand new Broadway revival of Company is scheduled to open subsequent month plus a brand new movie model of West Side Story

He achieved his first success with words only, supplying the lyrics for Leonard Bernstein's West Side Story in 1957. Pictured: Spielberg's adaptation of the musical, released next month

He achieved his first success with phrases solely, supplying the lyrics for Leonard Bernstein’s West Side Story in 1957. Pictured: Spielberg’s adaptation of the musical, launched subsequent month

After his mother and father divorced when he was 10, he took solace in his time with the household of lyricist, producer and librettist Oscar Hammerstein, who gained eight Tony Awards and two Oscars for Best Original Song over his career.

At 15, he started writing his first musical By George, which was a satire impressed by his highschool in Newtown, Pennsylvania.

He introduced the musical to Hammerstein and solicited the grasp’s simple opinion – to which Hammerstein replied that the present was the worst he had ever learn.

There adopted a dialog that has develop into legendary in theatrical historical past, the place Hammerstein taught the teenage Sondheim the required mechanics of writing an efficient stage musical.

‘It’s a central precept, which is to deal with songs like little one-act performs, the place you current a scenario, after which both resolve it or in the event you do not resolve it transfer it ahead, in order that by the point you end the tune you are at a distinct level than you might be while you – that is by way of the story of the present, of the play – so that every tune has a operate,’ Sondheim defined on Desert Island Discs.

Impressive: Sondheim's career spanned more than 60 years, and he was known for co-creating Broadway theatre classics including Sweeney Todd and Into the Woods, which both went on to become hit movies; seen in 2008

Impressive: Sondheim’s career spanned greater than 60 years, and he was identified for co-creating Broadway theatre classics together with Sweeney Todd and Into the Woods, which each went on to develop into hit films; seen in 2008

Composer and lyricist Stephen Sondheim attends the premiere of HBO's

Composer and lyricist Stephen Sondheim attends the premiere of HBO’s ‘Six By Sondheim’ in 2013

Sondheim got here to treat Hammerstein as a parental determine amid his tortured relationship along with his mom Foxy, whom he ultimately supported in her later years out of what he described as ‘filial obligation’ moderately than precise affection.

His career spanned greater than 60 years, and he was identified for co-creating Broadway classics together with Sweeney Todd and Into the Woods, which each went on to develop into hit films. 

West Side Story turned his first produced Broadway musical when he was simply 27 years outdated in 1957, and he went on to be praised for having ‘reinvented the American musical.’

Although he studied to be a composer, he discovered himself a lot to his frustration solely writing lyrics on West Side Story – a job he repeated two years in a while the Ethel Merman automobile Gypsy, which additionally garnered a popularity as one of many nice Broadway exhibits of all time.

Ultimately he itched to show his hand to composing and bought his shot with the 1961 comedy A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum, which turned an enormous success with Zero Mostel within the lead.

However because the Nineteen Sixties wore on he racked up some expertise with flops, together with Do I Hear A Waltz? with music by Richard Rodgers.

The Kennedy Center Honors recipients of 1993, are, founder of the Dance Theater of Harlem Arthur Mitchell, from left, entertainer Johnny Carson, composer-lyricist Stephen Sondheim; sitting from left, conductor Georg Solti and singer Marion Williams posing for a portrait wearing their medals following a dinner in their honor at the State Department in Washington,

The Kennedy Center Honors recipients of 1993, are, founding father of the Dance Theater of Harlem Arthur Mitchell, from left, entertainer Johnny Carson, composer-lyricist Stephen Sondheim; sitting from left, conductor Georg Solti and singer Marion Williams posing for a portrait sporting their medals following a dinner of their honor at the State Department in Washington,

Composer and lyricist Stephen Sondheim poses after being awarded the Freedom of the City of London at a ceremony at the Guildhall in London, in September 2018

Composer and lyricist Stephen Sondheim poses after being awarded the Freedom of the City of London at a ceremony at the Guildhall in London, in September 2018

Stephen Sondheim is pictured with Patti LuPone

Stephen Sondheim is pictured with Patti LuPone

Stephen Sondheim and Bernadette Peters are pictured promoting an album together in December of 2011

Stephen Sondheim and Bernadette Peters are pictured selling an album collectively in December of 2011

Sondheim reluctantly returned to being only a lyricist for that present with the intention to fulfill a deathbed promise to Hammerstein, and it turned the one musical he regretted.

Then nonetheless got here the Seventies which have come to be seen by lots of his followers because the hero interval of his career – his string of collaborations with director Hal Prince.

First got here Company, an acid-tongued present about marriage and relationships that introduced a brand new degree of urbane maturity to the musical comedy and, as a ‘idea musical’, experimented with a plotless structure.

In Follies he dazzled the viewers with elegant pastiches of assorted genres from Viennese operetta to interwar Ziegfeld extravaganzas to Fred Astaire toe-tappers – all as a backdrop to a stark depiction of two marriages fraying at the seams.

Through the center of the last decade he and Prince labored on A Little Night Music, a complicated romance based mostly on the Ingmar Bergman movie Smiles Of A Summer Night, and Pacific Overtures, a tribute to kabuki theater concerning the fraught origins of Japan’s relationship to the western world.

It was at the top of the last decade, although, that he and Prince labored collectively on Sweeney Todd, an operetta a couple of homicidal barber and the pie store proprietor who’s infatuated with him – and who finds a grotesque solution to get rid of his victims.

Sondheim was closely impressed by the movie composer Bernard Hermann, identified for such films as Psycho, and has described Sweeney Todd as a ‘film for the stage.’

Stephen Sondheim, left, is shown with cast members of

Stephen Sondheim, left, is proven with cast members of ‘Pacific Overtures’ after the closing efficiency of the revival musical at New York’s Church of the Heavenly Rest at York Theater, in April 1984

Actress Elizabeth Taylor at a Wembley studio with Stephen Sondheim, to record the songs for the film 'A Little Night Music', pictured in August 1976. Sondheim wrote the music and lyrics for the film

Actress Elizabeth Taylor at a Wembley studio with Stephen Sondheim, to document the songs for the movie ‘A Little Night Music’, pictured in August 1976. Sondheim wrote the music and lyrics for the movie

Stephen Sondheim (L) presents director Tim Burton with the award for Best Director for his work in 'Sweeney Todd' during the National Board Of Review of Motion Pictures award gala in New York in January 2008

Stephen Sondheim (L) presents director Tim Burton with the award for Best Director for his work in ‘Sweeney Todd’ in the course of the National Board Of Review of Motion Pictures award gala in New York in January 2008

Lee Remick, left, poses for a photo with Stephen Sondheim, right, during the finale and curtain call at Follies, party at Avery Fischer Hall in Lincoln Center, in New York in September 1985

Lee Remick, left, poses for a photograph with Stephen Sondheim, proper, in the course of the finale and curtain name at Follies, social gathering at Avery Fischer Hall in Lincoln Center, in New York in September 1985

Although the present was initially not successful, notably when it went to London, it has come to be thought to be his reigning masterpiece and has been described by Sondheim himself as the simplest present for him to jot down. ‘It simply flowed,’ he stated. 

However the grand epoch of the Sondheim-Prince collaboration got here crashing down with the large failure of Merry We Roll Along, a bitter experimental musical that defied audiences by going backwards in time.

As he wrote at the top of the primary a part of his collected lyrics: ‘But then I met James  Lapine’ – the writer-director with whom Sondheim loved an especially fruitful collaboration within the Nineteen Eighties.

Their first present was Sunday In The Park With George, the life story of the nineteenth century French painter Georges Seurat and the project that introduced Sondheim collectively along with his late-in-life muse Bernadette Peters.

Sunday In The Park With George included the tune Finishing The Hat, which has develop into extensively considered Sondheim’s personal personal treatise on how he works.

Sondheim, Lapine and Peters had been collectively once more with Into The Woods, a set of fractured fairytales that turns right into a transferring exploration of parenthood.

Then at the daybreak of the Nineteen Nineties he lastly gained an Academy Award for Best Original Song for Sooner Or Later, a slinky nightclub quantity written for Madonna within the movie Dick Tracy directed by Warren Beatty. 

That decade he additionally scored such musicals as Passion, a romantic melodrama based mostly on an Italian movie, and Assassins, a blackly comedian present concerning the individuals who have both killed or tried to kill American presidents.

He continued working into the twenty first century on such musicals as The Frogs and Road Show, and at the top of his life was collaborating on a brand new musical referred to as Square One.

Bernadette Peters and Nathan Lane, two longtime interpreters of his materials, starred in a desk learn simply this year of the present, which featured a e book by David Ives and is assumed to have been concerning the lifetime of surrealist filmmaker Luis Bunuel. 

As for his personal love life, Sondheim’s affairs included Psycho star Anthony Perkins, with whom he co-wrote the homicide thriller movie The Last Of Sheila within the Seventies.

However what he referred to as his ‘first critical relationship’ solely passed off when he was 60 years outdated, with playwright Peter Jones.

Stephen Sondheim is pictured during an on-stage discussion in 2014

Stephen Sondheim is pictured throughout an on-stage dialogue in 2014

Stephen Sondheim taking an applause during the finale of BBC Proms. The creator of the musical Sweeney Todd died on Friday morning aged 91, at his home in Connecticut

Stephen Sondheim taking an applause in the course of the finale of BBC Proms. The creator of the musical Sweeney Todd died on Friday morning aged 91, at his house in Connecticut

At the top of his life he was the husband of 1 Jeff Romley, who’s a half-century his junior and married him again in 2017.

In an interview with the New York Times lower than every week earlier than his dying, he stated of his well being: ‘Outside of my sprained ankle, OK.’

Speaking of his dedication to maintain working, he advised the paper: ‘What else am I going to do?’ I’m too outdated now to do a whole lot of touring, I’m sorry to say. What else would I do with my time however write?’

Ahead of the discharge of the movie adaptation of West Side Story, he advised the publication the massive display screen model – directed by Steven Spielberg – was ‘simply nice,’ including that there could be ‘surprises’ for individuals who really feel they know the musical.

Phantom Of The Opera creator Andrew Lloyd Webber was amongst those that paid tribute, describing Sondheim as a ‘musical theatre big of our occasions, an inspiration not simply to 2 however to a few generations’.

He stated Sondheim’s contribution to the theater ‘won’t ever be equalled’.

Lyricist Tim Rice described him as a ‘grasp musical man’, whereas Barbra Streisand, whose The Broadway Album featured a number of Sondheim songs, tweeted: ‘Thank the Lord that Sondheim lived to be 91 years outdated so he had the time to jot down such great music and GREAT lyrics! May he Rest In Peace.’

Titans of Broadway have admired Sondheim and leapt at each probability to sing him, together with the late actresses Elaine Stritch and Barbara Cook.

Angela Lansbury was a longtime muse, main the unique London cast of Gypsy and the unique Broadway productions of Anyone Can Whistle and Sweeney Todd.

Lyricists had been additionally in awe of him, together with his up to date Fred Ebb, who within the e book Colored Lights remembered how delighted he felt to have one among his exhibits praised by Sondheim. ‘Jesus, I used to be thrilled!’ stated Ebb.

Yet his admirers additionally typically discovered him intimidating and inscrutable – even Elaine Stritch, who as soon as demanded of a director: ‘You’re petrified of me, aren’t you?’, described feeling each ‘in love with’ Sondheim and ‘scared to dying’ round him.

She recalled sitting at a bar with him ‘for 3 hours’ and remarked: ‘So we have now bought rather a lot to say to at least one one other. But I’ve bought to have 25 scotches in me with the intention to do it, and so does he.’

On the information of his dying, producer Cameron Mackintosh issued a press release to The Guardian which learn: ‘The theatre has lost one among its best geniuses and the world has lost one among its best and most authentic writers. Sadly, there’s now a large within the sky. But the brilliance of Stephen Sondheim will nonetheless be right here as his legendary songs and exhibits shall be carried out for evermore. Goodbye outdated buddy and thanks from all of us.’ 

Beyond talented: 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' (pictured in 1973)

Beyond gifted: The composer had his first massive hit with West Side Story when he was simply 27 years outdated, and he went on to be praised for having ‘reinvented the American musical’ (pictured in 1973)

60-year long career: Sondheim seen standing beside an advertisement for one of his shows in 1976

60-year lengthy career: Sondheim seen standing beside an commercial for one among his exhibits in 1976

Honoring his legacy: Celebrities around the world have already begun paying homage to the legendary composer, including Barbra Streisand

Honoring his legacy: Celebrities around the globe have already begun paying homage to the legendary composer, together with Barbra Streisand

'Every so often someone comes along that fundamentally shifts an entire art form. Stephen Sondheim was one of those,' Hugh Jackson tweeted

‘Every so typically somebody comes alongside that basically shifts a complete artwork kind. Stephen Sondheim was a kind of,’ Hugh Jackson tweeted

Lin-Manuel Miranda paid tribute to Sondheim on Friday evening

Lin-Manuel Miranda paid tribute to Sondheim on Friday night 

Tributes: Additionally, Idina Menzel took to Twitter to mourn Sondheim, by writing: 'Goodbye dear sir. We will spend our lives trying to make you proud'

Tributes: Additionally, Idina Menzel took to Twitter to mourn Sondheim, by writing: ‘Goodbye pricey sir. We will spend our lives attempting to make you proud’

Jake Gyllenhaal paid tribute to Sondheim on Instagram

Jake Gyllenhaal paid tribute to Sondheim on Instagram

Celebrities around the globe have already begun paying homage to the legendary composer, together with Anna Kendrick who wrote : ‘I used to be simply speaking to somebody a couple of nights in the past about how a lot enjoyable (and f****** tough) it’s to sing Stephen Sondheim. Performing his work has been among the many best privileges of my career. A devastating loss. (sic)’

‘Every so typically somebody comes alongside that basically shifts a complete artwork kind. Stephen Sondheim was a kind of,’ Hugh Jackman tweeted. 

The Wolverine actor added: ‘As hundreds of thousands mourn his passing I additionally wish to categorical my gratitude for all he has given to me and so many extra. Sending my like to his nearest and dearest.’  

Josh Gad tweeted: ‘Perhaps not since April twenty third of 1616 has theater lost such a revolutionary voice. Thank you Mr. Sondheim on your Demon Barber, some Night Music, a Sunday within the Park, Company, enjoyable at a Forum, a visit Into the Woods and telling us a West Side Story. RIP. 

Others paying tribute included English singer Elaine Paige, who starred within the 2011 Broadway run of Sondheim’s Follies.

She tweeted: ‘Devastated to listen to one of the vital musical theatre giants of our era, #StephenSondheim, has died.

‘I used to be fortunate sufficient to have carried out in two of his exhibits @FolliesBroadway & Sweeney Todd, & even have a tune co-written by him for my fiftieth Anniversary.

‘RIP pricey man.’

Tony winner Lea Salonga, who carried out in final year’s live performance to mark Sondheim’s birthday, tweeted: ‘Rest In Peace, Stephen Sondheim, and thanks on your huge contributions to musical theater.

‘We shall be singing your songs without end. Oh, my coronary heart hurts.’

'American musical theater has lost a towering giant. Stephen Sondheim's legacy of song and lyric in unparalleled. From West Side Story to Sweenie Todd, from Gypsy to Sunday in the Park with George, there will never be a master like him,' George Takei tweeted

‘American musical theater has lost a towering big. Stephen Sondheim’s legacy of tune and lyric in unparalleled. From West Side Story to Sweenie Todd, from Gypsy to Sunday within the Park with George, there’ll by no means be a grasp like him,’ George Takei tweeted

Paying homage: Robert Rinder shared a quote about Sondheim, which read: 'Art is infinite. It has no beginning and no end'

Paying homage: Robert Rinder shared a quote about Sondheim, which learn: ‘Art is infinite. It has no starting and no finish’

Tony winner Idina Menzel took to Twitter to mourn Sondheim, writing: ‘Goodbye pricey sir. We will spend our lives attempting to make you proud.’

‘American musical theater has lost a towering big. Stephen Sondheim’s legacy of tune and lyric in unparalleled. From West Side Story to Sweeney Todd, from Gypsy to Sunday within the Park with George, there’ll by no means be a grasp like him,’ George Takei tweeted. 

Robert Rinder shared a quote about Sondheim, which learn: ‘Art is infinite. It has no starting and no finish.’

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