Stephen Sondheim’s death mourns the theater world

The icon of the American musical comedy, Stephen Sondheim, creative mind behind the scenes like “West Side Story”, “Gypsy” and “Sweeney Todd”, passed away yesterday at the age of 91; the cause was not disclosed. This was reported by his lawyer and friend, F. Richard Pappas, to The New York Times.

According to Pappas, the creative died in the morning at his home, located in the town of Roxbury, in Connecticut, after having shared the traditional Thanksgiving celebration accompanied by friends and family.

Born in 1930 in New York, Sondheim’s love for musical theater was instantaneous. From a very young age, he fell in love with the charms of the genre by sharing a friendship with Oscar Hammerstein II, a member of the famous pair of writers of musical performances Rodgers and Hammerstein, who immortalized titles such as Oklahoma! and The Rebel Novice.

Acclaimed Broadway hits came from the artist’s mind, such as the lyrics for “West Side Story” (1957, with music by Leonard Bernstein) and “Gypsy” (1959, tunes by Jule Styne) and the complete composition of “Follies” ( 1971), “Sweeney Todd” (1979) and “Into the Woods” (1987), among many others. Several of these pieces were also adapted for the big screen, starring artists such as Rita Moreno, Meryl Streep, Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter and Emily Blunt.

His creations revolutionized the genre by incorporating modern themes and innovative proposals, with which he managed to conquer audiences and critics alike. With his waste of ingenuity and talent, he won eight Grammy awards and as many Tony awards, including the special award for his career in the theater, as well as an Academy Award (thanks to a song sung by Madonna in the film “Dick Tracy ”, 1990), a Pulitzer Prize winner and, in 2015, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, awarded by the then President of the United States, Barack Obama.

In 2011 he was also recognized with a special award at the British Olivier Awards, highlighting his contribution to theater in London. Months earlier, in commemoration of his 80th birthday, the Henry Miller Theater had been renamed in his honor.

In love with his work, his inspiration also shone on streaming platforms, being in charge of the music for films such as Historia de un Marimonio and Entre Navajas y Secretos, spreading his learning also among pupils such as Lin-Manuel Miranda, creator of Hamilton.

His legacy was honored and embodied in 2013 by HBO through the documentary Six by Sondheim. Faced with the tragic news, family, friends and colleagues such as the famous composer Andrew Lloyd Webber and stars of the acting guild, such as Barbra Streisand, Idina Menzel and Kristin Chenoweth, among others, expressed their last goodbye to the creative.

“Goodbye, Steve. The musical theater giant of our time, an inspiration not only for two but for three generations. Your contribution to the theater will never be equaled ”, dedicated his British colleague Lloyd Webber (The Phantom of the Opera, Cats, Jesus Christ Superstar) on social networks.

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