Stephen Sondheim, the legend of American musical theater, dies at 91
The most important American lyricist and author of West Side Story lyrics, Stephen Sondheim, passed away Friday at the age of 91, a spokesman for one of his plays announced.
His lawyer, F. Richard Pappas told the New York Times that Stephen Sondheim died suddenly at his home in Roxbury, Connecticut, after he had celebrated Thanksgiving with his friends the day before.
A spokesman for his Broadway play "Company," Rick Miramontez, confirmed his death.
Apprenticed at an early age by the famous playwright Oscar Hammerstein ("Show Boat", "Sound of Music"), Stephen Sondheim was chosen, at the age of only 25, to write the lyrics for the play "West Side Story" that became a legend in the field of musical theatre. . His first Broadway play was later adapted for the screen.
Sondheim, born on March 22, 1930 in New York, was considered one of the greatest playwrights and preferred artistic theater to mainstream Broadway entertainment.
Among the most prominent works in which he participated as a composer or lyricist are "Sweeney Todd", "Gypsy", "Sunday in the Park with George" and "A Little Night Music".
During his long career, the Broadway giant has won eight Grammy Awards, several Tony Awards, an Academy Award, and a Pulitzer Prize.
A passion for musical theater from an early age developed in Stephen Sondheim, whose parents were both fashion designers.
After working on television or creating crossword puzzles for New York Magazine, he made his name with West Side Story.
In 2015, US President Barack Obama awarded Sondheim the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor.
"Stephen simply reinvented American musical theatre," Obama said. "His music is so beautiful, and his words so precise, that even when he presents the flaws of everyday life, he transcends them."
Iconic singer Barbra Streisand commented on Sondheim's death with a photo of the two of them tweeting: "Thank God that Sondheim has lived to 91 years and had the time to write such great music and excellent lyrics! May he rest in peace.”
Actress and singer Anna Kendrick expressed her "sorry for the tragic loss." "A few days ago, I was telling someone how fun (and really hard) to sing to Stephen Sondheim," she wrote on Twitter. Performing his work has been one of the greatest privileges of my career.”
Actor Hugh Jackman expressed his gratitude to the lyricist. “Every now and then someone comes along and radically changes an entire genre of art,” he wrote in a post. Stephen Sondheim was one of them. While his death saddens millions of people, I also want to express my gratitude for all he has done for me and so many others.”
In front of the Bernard Jacobs Theater on Broadway in New York, British director of "Company - a Musical Comedy" Marianne Elliott praised the "genius who will always be a reference."
This fall, two of Sondheim's plays on Broadway, "The Company" from 1970 and "Assassins" (1990), are evidence that Sondheim's works are long-lived and ageless.
In an interview with the New York Times, the artist said, days before his death, that he was "lucky" to have his works performed over and over again.