American composer Stephen Sondheim dies

Composer and lyricist Stephen Sondheim, known for works such as West Side Story O Gypsy and considered one of the greatest Broadway legends, he died this Friday at the age of 91 in the town of Roxbury (Connecticut). New York Times.

According to the media, Sondheim’s death has been confirmed by his lawyer and friend, Richard Pappas, who described the death as sudden, since he had been celebrating the Thanksgiving holiday the day before at a dinner with friends.

Sondheim (New York, 1930), winner of an Oscar, a Pulitzer, and more than a fortnight of Emmys and Grammys, began to reap success in the late 50s, when he wrote the lyrics for West Side Story and of Gypsy, and continued to triumph until the 1990s, with the lyrics and music of “Assasins”, with which he gave voice to the people who had killed or tried to kill a US president.

The 70s and 80s, its most productive years

The first work in which he composed both music and lyrics was the 1962 comedy A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, which won a Tony and was represented for more than two years on Broadway.

Possible Music – Sondheim Special with Paco Tomás – 01/06/20 – listen now

In the 70s and 80s, his most productive years, he elaborated works considered varied and original, included Company (1970), Follies (1971), A Little Night Music (1973), Pacific Overtures (1976), Sweeney Todd (1979), Merrily We Roll Along (1981), the Into the Woods (1987).

In all, Sondheim composed both lyrics and music from 12 Broadway shows, of which five won a Tony for the best musical, and six of them a Tony for the best soundtrack, while the show “Sunday in the Park”, which did not receive either of these two awards, was awarded with a Pulitzer.

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In addition, in 1993 he received a career award from the prestigious Kennedy Center, and in 2015 he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, awarded by former US President Barack Obama.

Recently, three films nominated for various awards contained his music.

In 2010, one of Broadway’s theaters, until then known as the Henry Miller, was named in his honor.

In 2020, the theater mecca of the United Kingdom, the West End of London, also wanted to pay tribute by baptizing one of its theaters with his name, but Sondheim could not attend that event, after having suffered a spectacular fall.

That same year, his 90th birthday was celebrated in style at a virtual party, courtesy of the coronavirus pandemic, in which figures such as Meryl Streep, Bernadette Peters, Patti LuPone and Audra McDonald participated.

Recently, three films nominated for various awards contained his music: Daggers in the back (Knives Out), Joker e Story of a marriage (Marriage Story), which precisely contained a scene in which the protagonist, played by Adam Driver, sang “Being Alive”, from the show Company.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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