Stephen Sondheim passed away Friday at the age of 91.
The composer died suddenly at his home in Connecticut, F. Richard Pappas, an attorney for Sondheim confirmed. A musical theater titan, Sondheim composed Broadway staples including “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum,” “Sweeney Todd,” “Sunday in the Park with George” and “Follies,” and wrote lyrics for “West Side Story” and “Gypsy.”
Over the course of his decades-long career, Sondheim won seven Tony Awards, as well as a lifetime achievement award, making him the winningest composer in Tony Awards history. He was also the recipient of a Pulitzer Prize, for “Sunday in the Park with George,” as well as an Academy Award, eight Grammy Awards, a Laurence Olivier Award and a Presidential Medal of Freedom.
A revival of his musical “Company” is currently playing Broadway. The musical’s director, Marianne Elliott, released a statement Friday, calling Sondheim, “the Shakespeare of musical theatre,” and dedicating the evening’s performance to him.
“We have lost the Shakespeare of musical theatre,” Elliott said in a statement. “He was the most generous collaborator with the greatest spirit. The joy of working with him was that he knew theatre could and should evolve with time. He was always open to the new.”
Sondheim made recent appearances on Broadway, attending “Company” on Nov. 15, its first performance back, and having two-show day as recently as Wednesday. Sondheim attended both “Is This a Room” and “Dana H.”
The New York Times first reported the news of his death.
Tributes to Sondheim began pouring in Friday evening, with actors, directors and other members of the musical theater community (and even politicians, including Mayor Bill de Blasio) thanking the composer for his impact on the industry and on individuals.
“I am so, so sad to lose my friend Steve Sondheim. He gave me so much to sing about. I loved him dearly and will miss him so much. Thank you for all the gifts you gave the world Steve,” Bernadette Peters wrote.