Posted by Larry Gleeson
Master Stephen Sondheim, an American composer, and lyricist was one of the most important figures in 20th-century musical theatre passed away yesterday, November 26, 2021, at his home in Roxbury, Conn., at the age of 91.
Sondheim is/was considered one of the greatest Broadway writers ever writing stunningly striking original lyrics. While his works were critically acclaimed they were not always commercially successful. Nevertheless, his work raised the bar for artistic standards.
Some of Sondheim’s works as a composer and lyricist include: A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (1962), Company (1970), Follies (1971), A Little Night Music (1973), Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (1979), Sunday in the Park with George (1984), and Into the Woods (1987). He was also known for writing the lyrics for West Side Story (1957) and Gypsy (1959).
Film adaptations of Sondheim’s work include West Side Story (1961), Gypsy (1962), A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (1966), A Little Night Music (1977), Gypsy (1993), Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007), Into the Woods (2014), West Side Story (2021).
Sondheim was still very much part of pop culture and is featured as a cameo in Lin Miranda’s film adaptation tick,tick…BOOM! Sondheim’s work had inspired Larson who in turn inspired, Miranda. In addition, In addition, Steven Spielberg’s 2021 film adaptation of West Side Story is heading to theatres in December. Furthermore, Sondheim received a Best Original Song Academy Award for penning “Sooner Or Later,” performed by Madonna in the 1990 film Dick Tracy.
In all Sondheim received nine Tony Awards (including a Lifetime Achievement Tony in 2008). eight Grammy Awards, a Pulitzer Prize, a Laurence Olivier Award, and a 2015 Presidential Medal of Freedom. He also had a theatre named for him on Broadway and in the West End of London.
Gone but never forgotten….Stephen Sonheim.