According to a press release just received by the Clyde Fitch Report, at a gala performance last night of the new Broadway revue Sondheim on Sondheim, it was announced that Stephen Sondheim, who turned 80 yesterday, will receive the highest accolade one can attain on the American stage: a Broadway theater bearing one’s name.
Think about it: The Stephen Sondheim Theatre.
The Stephen Sondheim Theatre.
The Stephen Sondheim Theatre.
The Stephen Sondheim Theatre.
Nothing could be more fitting, more perfect, to salute the greater musical-theater artist of this or any other century.
Here are the details:
James Lapine and John Weidman
The Stephen Sondheim Theatre
to the greatest and best known artist in American musical theater
on his 80th birthday
Announcement made at gala performance of new Broadway musical
Sondheim on Sondheim
Mon., March 22, 2010
Longtime collaborators James Lapine and John Weidman announced the renaming of Henry Miller’s Theatre to the Stephen Sondheim Theatre. The renaming of the theatre is dedicated to Stephen Sondheim, the greatest and best known artist in American musical theatre on his 80th birthday. The announcement was made at Roundabout Theatre Company’s gala performance of the new Broadway musical Sondheim on Sondheim.
A small group of Stephen Sondheim devotees initiated a generous contribution to the renaming dedication of the theatre to support Roundabout’s Musical Production Fund. The Musical Production Fund was established in 2003 by Roundabout’s Board of Directors to sustain this important art form and insure that Roundabout can continue its mission to produce musical revivals as well as developing new musicals by both established and emerging composers. At their request, the amount of the contribution to the Musical Production Fund will not be disclosed.
Quote from Roundabout Theatre Company, Artistic Director Todd Haimes:
“Stephen Sondheim is, quite simply, an artistic genius. Perhaps no writer of musical theatre has had a greater influence on his chosen art form. We are so proud that Roundabout has had the privilege of being a theatrical home to some of Steve’s greatest works, including Company, Follies, Assassins, Pacific Overtures, Sunday in the Park with George and the concert performance of A Little Night Music. It’s thrilling to see one of the greatest artists of our time be able to join the other legendary theatre artists who have had Broadway theatres named after them, like Ethel Barrymore, David Belasco, Edwin Booth, George Broadhurst, George Gershwin, Alfred Lunt & Lynn Fontanne, Richard Rodgers, Helen Hayes, Eugene O’Neill, Neil Simon and August Wilson. In so many ways, Steve’s work has already made him a part of their illustrious tradition, so it is only fitting that we can now pay proper tribute to a composer and lyricist of extraordinary stature, Stephen Sondheim.”
Quote from John Weidman:
“Steve Sondheim has been, without question, the pre-eminent artist working in the musical theatre for the last fifty years. The appropriateness of naming a theatre after him is self-evident. The hope in naming a theatre after him is that it will become a home for artists whose work aspires to the heady level of daring, honesty and rigor which has always characterized Steve’s. It’s been my experience that billing has never mattered much to Steve, but it’s nice to know there is now one Broadway house where his name will always appear above the title.”
About Stephen Sondheim
Stephen Sondheim is widely acknowledged as the most innovative, most influential, and most important composer and lyricist in modern Broadway history. He is the winner of an Academy Award, numerous Tony Awards√¢, multiple Grammy Awards and a Pulitzer Prize. Some of his other accolades include a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Kennedy Center Honors (1993), the National Medal of Arts (1996), the American Academy of Arts and Letters’ Gold Medal for Music (2006) and a special Tony Award√¢for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre (2008).
His extensive body of work has revolutionized the musical theatre canon and has made him perhaps the greatest stage composer of the last 100 years. Sondheim’s musical sophistication, which combines intricate vocal lines and inventive harmonies with intelligent lyrics and subject matter, is an ability that is unmatched by many of his musical theatre peers. Simply put, he is a legend.
Stephen Sondheim wrote the music and lyrics for Road Show (2008), Passion (1994), Assassins (1991), Into the Woods (1987), Sunday in the Park with George (1984), Merrily We Roll Along (1981), Sweeney Todd (1979), Pacific Overtures (1976), The Frogs (1974), A Little Night Music (1973), Follies (1971; revised in London, 1987), Company (1970), Anyone Can Whistle (1964) and A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (1962), as well as the lyrics for West Side Story (1957), Gypsy (1959), Do I Hear a Waltz? (1965) and additional lyrics for Candide (1973). Side by Side by Sondheim (1976), Marry Me a Little (1981), You’re Gonna Love Tomorrow (1983) and Putting It Together (1993/99) are anthologies of his work, as is the new musical Sondheim on Sondheim. He composed the film scores of Stavisky (1974) and Reds (1981) and songs for Dick Tracy (Academy Award, 1990). He also wrote songs for the television production “Evening Primrose” (1966), co-authored, with Anthony Perkins, the film The Last of Sheila (1973) and, with George Furth, the play Getting Away with Murder (1996), and provided incidental music for the plays The Girls of Summer (1956), Invitation to a March (1961) and Twigs (1971). He won Tony Awards for Best Score for a Musical for Passion, Into the Woods, Sweeney Todd, A Little Night Music, Follies and Company. All of these shows won the New York Drama Critics Circle Award, as did Pacific Overtures and Sunday in the Park with George, the latter also receiving the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. Saturday Night (1954), his first professional musical, finally had its New York premiere in 1999 at Second Stage Theatre.