UPDATE, with additional performances: Jake Gyllenhaal, Linda Lavin, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Laura Benanti, Neil Patrick Harris and Ben Platt are among the second wave of stars to sign on for Sunday’s Stephen Sondheim virtual birthday concert.
Also joining the all-star benefit for Artists Striving To End Poverty are Annaleigh Ashford, Melissa Errico, Beanie Feldstein, Josh Groban, Judy Kuhn, Randy Rainbow and Lea Salonga. Special appearances will be made by Victor Garber, Joanna Gleason, Nathan Lane and Steven Spielberg.
Take Me To The World: A Sondheim 90th Birthday Celebration, hosted by Raúl Esparza, is set for this Sunday, April 26, the 50th anniversary of the opening night of Sondheim’s groundbreaking musical Company. The concert kicks off at 8 pm ET, and will be available for free at Broadway.com and the Broadway.com YouTube channel.
In addition to Streep, Peters, LuPone and McDonald, artists performing songs from the Sondheim catalog will include Mandy Patinkin, Christine Baranski, Donna Murphy, Kristin Chenoweth, Sutton Foster, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Kelli O’Hara, Aaron Tveit, Maria Friedman, Iain Armitage, Katrina Lenk, Michael Cerveris, Brandon Uranowitz, Stephen Schwartz, Elizabeth Stanley, Chip Zien, Alexander Gemignani and, from the cast of Pacific Overtures at Classic Stage Company, Ann Harada, Austin Ku, Kelvin Moon Loh and Thom Sesma.
Host Esparza starred as Bobby in the 2006 Tony Award-winning revival of Company and in the Kennedy Center Sondheim Celebration productions of Sunday in the Park With George and Merrily We Roll Along in 2002, as well as the City Center Encores! production of Anyone Can Whistle and in last year’s Road Show.
“The world is in a hard place,” Esparza said in a statement, “and we are all searching for something great. Well, Stephen Sondheim is greatness personified.”
Mary-Mitchell Campbell will be the music director, with Paul Wontorek serving as director.
This online event will act as a fundraiser for ASTEP (Artists Striving to End Poverty), the organization conceived by Campbell and Juilliard students to transform the lives of youth through art.