The lights in London’s West End theaters will go out on Monday evening to honor the life of Stephen Sondheim, it has been announced.
The tribute, reserved for the deaths of only the most important talent, comes as many big names in entertainment have joined international stars of musical theater to mourn the composer’s death at the age of 91 this weekend.
In a burst of admiration and sadness, American show business figures like singer Barbra Streisand and the Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda, spoke about Sondheim’s pioneering influence and the many memorable songs he composed, including Send in the Clowns, by A little night music, and I’m still here and I’m losing my mind Follies.
Steven Spielberg, whose new film version of the 1950s musical West Side Story, which Sondheim wrote the lyrics, hits theaters next month, revealed that although he only knew the composer at an old age, they have become close. “Stephen Sondheim was a gigantic figure in American culture – one of our country’s greatest songwriters, a truly genius lyricist and composer, and a creator of some of the most glorious musical dramas ever written.”
A statement from Spielberg continued: “When we spoke I was eager to listen, marveling at the originality of his perceptions of art, politics and people – all brilliantly delivered by his mischievous mind. and his dazzling words. I will miss him very much, but he left a work that has taught us, and will continue to teach us, how difficult and absolutely necessary it is to love.
Posting on Twitter, Streisand said: “Thank the Lord that Sondheim lived to be 91 so he had time to write such wonderful music and awesome lyrics,” while Miranda shared a recent Twitter exchange. with Sondheim in which he thanked the Broadway legend. to mentor other young talents.
In response, Sondheim told Miranda he was especially proud of this part of his life and that it was driven in part by his desire to thank great music creator Oscar Hammerstein, of Rogers and Hammerstein, for all his early advice. . “Steve: you’ve paid off your debt to Oscar a thousand times over,” Manuel replied privately. This weekend, he added a public tribute to Sondheim’s talent: “Future historians: Stephen Sondheim was real. Yes he wrote Tony & Maria ET Sweeney todd AND Bobby AND George & Dot AND Fosca AND countless others. Some may theorize that Shakespeare’s works were by committee, but Steve was real and he was here and he laughed SO hard at shows and we loved him.
In Britain Andrew Lloyd Webber, the world’s best known and most successful musical theater name, praised Sondheim’s immense talent as a lyricist in particular, calling him “the musical theater giant. of our time, an inspiration not only for two but for three generations “. . Speaking on BBC Radio 4 Today program, Lord Lloyd-Webber, composer of The Phantom of the Opera and Evita, revealed that the pair had previously planned to work together on a rivalry-themed show.
Singer Elaine Paige, the original Evita stage and later Sondheim’s music performer, wrote on social media about her devastation upon hearing of the death while prominent British theater producer Sir Cameron Mackintosh said: “The theater has lost one of its greatest geniuses and the world has lost one of its greatest and most original writers. He added that Sondheim “will always be there because his legendary songs and shows will be played forever more”.
Among the main musical performers to be honored was Hugh Jackman, who praised Sondheim for being someone “who fundamentally changes an entire art form”.
In Spain, film star Antonio Banderas said he learned the news shortly after starring in a production of the acclaimed Sondheim show. Society, recently relaunched. “Barely an hour ago, I was singing Being Alive, the latest musical number,” he wrote on Twitter. “Now I’m home, always with leftovers [sic] makeup on my face mourning the death of our maestro.
Actor Vanessa Williams, who played the Witch on Broadway in the 1994 revival of Sondheim In the woods, tweeted: “What a privilege to have imbued the incredible aura of legendary Stephen Sondheim himself several times in my life. I only ever received a few musical notes from him that concerned diction, but immediately incorporated and cherished every word.
Speaking only a week ago at his home in Connecticut, and apparently in good health, the man who is now celebrated as the great dominant voice in American musicals for the past 50 years offered a distinctly humble commentary and dryly detached, from the perspective of an aged theatrical sage. He told the New York Times that he avoided making large overviews. “Where Broadway?” I’m not answering the question, ”Sondheim said. “Who knows. I really don’t care. This is the future. Whatever happens, it will.
Lights across the London Theater will go out for two minutes at 7 p.m. on Monday, said Julian Bird, managing director of the Society of London Theater and the UK Theater. “The world of theater is smaller tonight after the passing of Stephen Sondheim,” he said. “His legacy of extraordinary performances and songs will live on for many generations to come – but now we pay tribute to his exceptional contribution to our theaters and celebrate his talent. “