UPDATE: London’s West End theaters have announced they will dim their lights for two minutes at 7 PM tomorrow in Stephen Sondheim’s honor.
Tributes to Sondheim’s genius continue to pour in from the entertainment community.
Composer Andrew Lloyd-Webber said that he had always been “sort of in awe” of a man he described as “an absolute genius” and a “titan” of musical theater.
“Farewell Steve, the musical theatre giant of our times, an inspiration not just to two but to three generations,” Lloyd Weber tweeted. “Your contribution to theatre will never be equaled.”
EARLIER: The unexpected death today of songwriter Stephen Sondheim at his Connecticut home will no doubt catch many by surprise, given his relatively robust persona, even at age 91.
But while his passing may shock, there is no doubt about the huge contributions he made to the American songbook during his groundbreaking 70-year career as a songwriter, lyricist and general force on worldwide culture.
Steven Spielberg, whose “West Side Story” features Sondheim lyrics, saluted him in a statement.
“Stephen Sondheim was a giganic figure in American culture – one of our country’s greatet songwriters, a lyricist and composer of real genius, and a creator of some of the most glorious musical dramas ever written. Steve and I became friends only recently, but we became good friends, and I was surprised to discover he knew more about movies than almost anyone I’d ever met. When we spoke, I couldn’t wait to listen, awestruck by the originality of his perceptions of art, politics and people — all delivered brilliantly by his mischievous wit and dazzling words. I will miss him very much, but he left a body of work that has taught us, and will keep teaching us, how hard and how absolutely necessary it is to love.”
Some of the online reactions to Sondheim’s passing below.
Every so often someone comes along that fundamentally shifts an entire art form. Stephen Sondheim was one of those. As millions mourn his passing I also want to express my gratitude for all he has given to me and so many more. Sending my love to his nearest and dearest. pic.twitter.com/4KlnJJJipq
— Hugh Jackman (@RealHughJackman) November 26, 2021
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
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
I am so so sad to lose my friend Steve Sondheim He gave me so much to sing about ♥️♥️I loved him dearly and will miss him so much Thank you for all the gifts you gave the world Steve♥️
— Bernadette Peters (@OfficialBPeters) November 26, 2021
— Kristin Chenoweth (@KChenoweth) November 26, 2021
RIP Stephen Sondheim. Not just a genius but a truly wonderful person. He'd go see everything and encourage young artists (like so many, I received a personal note which thrills me to this day.) He loved the theater; he was and will always be the theater. There will be trumpets pic.twitter.com/byiJaZ580H
— Paul Rudnick (@PaulRudnickNY) November 26, 2021
Goodbye dear sir. We will spend our lives trying to make you proud. #stephensondheim
— Idina Menzel (@idinamenzel) November 26, 2021
American musical theater has lost a towering giant. Stephen Sondheim's legacy of song and lyric in unparalleled. From West Side Story to Sweenie Todd, from Gypsy to Sunday in the Park with George, there will never be a master like him.
— George Takei (@GeorgeTakei) November 26, 2021
I am at a loss. Feels like the end of an era. He did indeed set the standard for the American musical.
Rest well, sir. #StephenSondheim
— Ariana DeBose (@ArianaDeBose) November 26, 2021
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
I was just talking to someone a few nights ago about how much fun (and fucking difficult) it is to sing Stephen Sondheim. Performing his work has been among the greatest privileges of my career. A devastating loss.
— Anna Kendrick (@AnnaKendrick47) November 26, 2021
He wrote me a wonderful permission letter to use “Old Friends” in American Gods. I avoided meeting him (failed only once) and refused dinner because I didn’t have many heroes. Now I’ve got one less. Thank you Stephen Sondheim so much. pic.twitter.com/soRo4G2ZFU
— Neil Gaiman (@neilhimself) November 26, 2021
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
Stephen Sondheim has been receiving lifetime tributes since around 1973 and still it feels like we’ll always find something else to celebrate about him. Devastating.
— Louis Virtel (@louisvirtel) November 26, 2021
There are no words. He had them all. And the music.He was incomparable. He was God to many of us. We loved his work. And god he was good. So good. Rest peacefully ❤️💔❤️ pic.twitter.com/A9MKH9NMEm
— Sondheim Society (@SondheimSociety) November 26, 2021