Stephen Sondheim was hailed as one of the most influential and innovative voices in history of American musical theater by friends and fans following the composer’s death Friday at the age of 91.
Sondheim was remembered for his musically challenging works, for his inventive storytelling and his unique approach to crafting stage musicals.
Barbra Streisand was quick to comment on social media of her appreciation for the composer behind such Broadway landmarks as “Company,” “Sweeney Todd,” “Follies,” “A Little Night Music,” “Sunday in the Park With George,” “Merrily We Roll Along,” “Into the Wood” and “Assassins.”
“Thank the Lord that Sondheim lived to be 91 years old so he had time to write such wonderful music and GREAT lyrics,” Streisand wrote on Twitter.
Thank the Lord that Sondheim lived to be 91 years old so he had the time to write such wonderful music and GREAT lyrics! May he Rest In Peace🥲🎵 🎶🎵 pic.twitter.com/vshNSdkvpQ
— Barbra Streisand (@BarbraStreisand) November 26, 2021
Elaine Paige, who worked on Broadway with Sondheim in “Follies” and “Sweeney Todd,” called him a “dear man” and “one of the most important musical theater giants of his generation.”
Devastated to hear one of the most important musical theatre giants of our generation, #StephenSondheim, has died. I was lucky enough to have performed in two of his shows @FolliesBroadway & Sweeney Todd, & also have a song co-written by him for my 50th Anniversary. RIP dear man pic.twitter.com/1u8RURvcix
— Elaine Paige (@elaine_paige) November 26, 2021
Josh Gad, star of “The Book of Mormon,” echoed the acclaim of his fellow Broadway stars.
“Thank you Mr. Sondheim for your Demon Barber, some Night Music, a Sunday in the Park, Company, fun at a Forum, a trip Into the Woods and telling us a West Side Story,” Gad wrote.
Perhaps not since April 23rd of 1616 has theater lost such a revolutionary voice. Thank you Mr. Sondheim for your Demon Barber, some Night Music, a Sunday in the Park, Company, fun at a Forum, a trip Into the Woods and telling us a West Side Story. RIP. 🙏 https://t.co/jHX7ob9JWv
— Josh Gad (@joshgad) November 26, 2021
Lea Salonga, the Broadway veteran who took part in a 90th birthday tribute to Sondheim last year, said simply: “We shall be singing your songs forever.”
Rest In Peace, Stephen Sondheim, and thank you for your vast contributions to musical theater. We shall be singing your songs forever. Oh, my heart hurts…
— Lea Salonga (@MsLeaSalonga) November 26, 2021
Tony-winner Idina Menzel shared that sentiment: “We will spend our lives trying to make you proud.”
Goodbye dear sir. We will spend our lives trying to make you proud. #stephensondheim
— Idina Menzel (@idinamenzel) November 26, 2021
Fellow composer Benjamin Scheuer offered an example of Sondheim’s famous generosity to up-and-coming tunesmiths. He tweeted a photo of a short type-written letter from Sondheim complimenting Scheuer on his 2015 production “The Lion.”
“Never did I expect this letter, which arrived in my dressing room the next day,” Scheuer wrote.
One of the greatest honors of my career was performing THE LION with Stephen Sondheim in the audience. Never did I expect this letter, which arrived in my dressing room the next day. What extraordinary kindness & generosity. Here’s to you, Stephen. Thanks for the songs. pic.twitter.com/vX2fXCJlti
— Benjamin Scheuer (@BenjaminScheuer) November 26, 2021
More to come