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Nov 26 2021
Broadway Great Stephen Sondheim Dies @ 91 Comments (0)

Boyculture-sondheim-stephen-signed-newsweek-magazine-1973-353328A music man for the ages (Image via Newsweek)

The saddest news for the theater community after such a dismal year and a half: Broadway legend Stephen Sondheim has died at 91.

The New York Times reports his death was considered sudden, in that he was in good health and had celebrated Thanksgiving with friends uneventfully on Thursday.

On November 14, Sondheim had shown up to a performance of a revival of his Assassins in NYC. The following evening, Sondheim made a surprise in-person appearance at the first preview of a revival of his classic show Company on Broadway, receiving rapturous applause. Just next door, the film version of tick, tick ... BOOM! was premiering, including Bradley Whitford playing a beneficent Sondheim, who was in real life a mentor to film's subject, the late Jonathan Larson.

Sondheim-playbill-west-side-story-boycultureImagine having this not even be your only big hit. (Image via Playbill)

Born on March 22, 1930, in NYC, Sondheim became arguably the most lauded, revered, ambitious and influential figure in musical theater history. His work remains among the most popular in the American canon, and includes a number of iconic contributions: the lyrics for West Side Story (1957) and Gypsy (1959), the smash comedy A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (1962), the beloved flop Anyone Can Whistle (1964), and boundaries-smashing musicals including Company (1970), Follies (1971), A Little Night Music (1973), Pacific Overtures (1976), Sweeney Todd (1979), Merrily We Roll Along (1981), Sunday in the Park with George (1984), Into the Woods (1987), Assassins (1990) and Passion (1994).

Among his most memorable songs, “Send in the Clowns,” “The Ladies Who Lunch” and “I'm Still Here.”

Sondheim-obama-boycultureAt least we don't have to look back and think we didn't appreciate Mr. Sondheim in his lifetime. (Image via

Sondheim won Tonys and received a 2008 Tony for lifetime achievement, the Pulitizer Prize and was a Kennedy Center honoree (1993). In 2015, President Obama awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom. A Broadway house on W. 43rd bears his name.

1sfNMadonna vamping to “Sooner or Later” (GIF via GIPHY)

In film, he co-wrote the mystery The Last of Sheila (1973), and in 1991 won an Oscar for “Sooner or Later (I Always Get My Man)” from the movie Dick Tracy, performed by Madonna in the film.

Sondheim is survived by his husband of four years, Jeffrey Romley.