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If you’re a fan of musicals, you’ve been somehow touched by Stephen Sondheim. He was the lyricist behind West Side Story’s enchanting songs like “Maria” and “Tonight.” Sondheim provided the music and words to Sweeney Todd and Into the Woods along with so many favorite Broadway shows like A Little Night Music, Company and Follies. So, our hearts grow heavy with the sound of his music as we report that Sondheim has died at the age of 91.
The musical theatre legend passed away early on Friday in his home in Roxbury, Connecticut. Per NBC News, the cause of his death is unknown. The Broadway community and world has lost one of the greatest musical geniuses all time, and the composer with the most Tony Awards to date and a Pulitzer Prize winner.
By the age of 27, Stephen Sondheim’s first show, West Side Story on Broadway, in the late ‘50s. Sondheim wrote the words to the songs set to be heard again in the upcoming Steven Spielberg remake against Leonard Bernstein’s compositions. For the next 60 years, Sondheim made a number of contemporary and beloved musicals.
His work spanned all types of stories and subjects. Sondheim wrote about a murderous barber in Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, which later became a movie starring Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, Alan Rickman and Sacha Baron Cohen in 2007. He wrote Sunday in the Park With George, about French post-impressionist painter Georges Seurat. Sondheim delved deeply into relationships in Company, 19th century Japan in Pacific Overtures and twisted the fairy tales we know and love for Into the Woods.
More to come…