Legendary American composer and lyricist Stephen Sondheim, hailed by many for his musical and songwriting contributions in Broadway, passed away early Friday at his home in Roxbury, Connecticut. He was 91. The news of his passing was announced by his attorney F. Richard Pappas, with the publicist for the ongoing Broadway production of Sondheim's musical Company at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre, Rick Miramontez, also confirming to AFP. Pappas stated that the Broadway icon's demise was sudden and had celebrated Thanksgiving with friends a day ago.
Sondheim rose to the top of the league on Broadway and is celebrated by many as the greatest composer-lyricist of the last half of the 20th century. One among the few theater composers who wrote songs and music, some of his notable works include '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) and 'Into the Woods' (1987). He also proved to be a talented lyricist in the late 1950s and wrote for 'West Side Story' and 'Gypsy'. Starting his first words and music combo in 1962, Sondheim wrote for the comedy 'A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum', which enjoyed a two-year run, including taking home the prestigious Tony Award. He went on to write music and lyrics for nearly a dozen Broadway shows, while winning Tonys on five occasions for Best Musical, including six other times for Best Original Score. In 1985, his 'Sunday in the Park' won the Pulitzer Prize for drama.
In 1993, Stephen Sondheim was felicitated with Kennedy Center Honors for lifetime achievement, while also being awarded a Tony Award for lifetime achievement in 2008. He was also honored with the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama in 2015. Outside of his work on Broadway, Sondheim wrote music for a few films that included the score for Stavisky (1974), while also winning an Academy Award in 1991 for his song 'Sooner or Later (I Always Get My Man)' in Warren Beatty’s Dick Tracy. He is survived by husband, Jeffrey Romley, and a half brother, Walter Sondheim.
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