Stephen Sondheim: show business reacts to the death of the Broadway giant

The news of the death on Saturday in Connecticut of Stephen Sondheim at the age of 91 sparked a wave of emotion and reactions in the entertainment world. Successful composer, revealed as lyricist of West Side Story in 1957, Stephen Sondheim was considered one of the greatest composers of musicals.

Stephen Sondheim wins 8 Grammy Awards, an Oscar and a Pulitzer Prize

Trained by the grandmaster of the musical Oscar Hammerstein (Show Boat, The melody of happiness), Stephen Sondheim was hired at 25, in 1955, to write the lyrics, alongside Leonard Bernstein, Jerome Robins and Arthur Laurents from the legendary musical West Side Story. his first show on Broadway in 1957 and then adapted for the screen in 1961. He had notably worked on Sweeney Tod, Gypsy, Sunday in the Park with Georg, A Little Night Music, as a composer or lyricist.

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Born March 22, 1930 in New York, Stephen Sondheim, whose parents worked in fashion, had a passion for musical theater from an early age. After working on television and even writing crosswords for the New York Magazine, it is thanks to his work as a lyricist on West Side Story that he rose to fame. Proof of the longevity of his work, two of his pieces, Company, created in 1970, and Assassins, which dates from 1990, were performed on Broadway this fall.

Hugh Jackman: ” Stephen Sondheim fundamentally changed an artistic genre ”

During his lifetime, Stephen Sondheim accumulated the awards: 8 Grammy Awards, as many Tony Awards (trophies for the theater), an Oscar (1991), as well as a Pulitzer Prize (1985). In 2015, Barack Obama awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor. ” To put it simply, Stephen has reinvented the American musical “, said the former president of the United States. Since the disappearance of Stephen Sondheim, reactions and tributes have multiplied, especially on social networks.

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Among these numerous reactions that of Barbra Streisand who wrote: ” Thank the Lord that Stephen Sondheim lived to be 91 and had time to write such wonderful music and great lyrics! “. For Australian actor Hugh Jackman “ Every now and then a person comes to fundamentally change an entire artistic genre. Stephen Sondheim was one of them ”. On Twitter, the English composer Andrew Lloyd-Webber (Cats and The Phantom of the Opera) wrote ” Farewell Steve, the musical theater giant of our time, an inspiration not only for two but for three generations ”. The Théâtre du Châtelet recalls that the American artist has marked his history ” with 5 French creations of his works in the 2010s » and greet ” a departing Broadway genius, the last representative of a golden age of musical comedy that he has been able to reinvent and transform ”. Tonight in London, at 7 p.m., all theaters and cinemas in the West End will turn off their lights for 2 minutes in tribute to Stephen Sondheim announced the Society of London Theater.

Philippe Gault (with AFP)

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Stephen Sondheim: show business reacts to the death of the Broadway giant