Remembering Broadway legend Stephen Sondheim: Stars pay tribute

Stephen Sondheim passed away at the age of 91.

November 26, 2021, 10:30 PM

Tributes poured in from Broadway and film stars in honor of Stephen Sondheim, the legendary musical theater composer and lyricist who passed away Friday at the age of 91.

"I am so so sad to lose my friend Steve Sondheim," Bernadette Peters, who starred in many Sondheim roles, wrote on Twitter. "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," she added.

"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," Barbra Streisand tweeted while sharing a photo of herself with Sondheim.

"Goodbye dear sir. We will spend our lives trying to make you proud," Broadway star Idina Menzel tweeted.

Her "Wicked" co-star Kristin Chenoweth tweeted, "He influenced all of us, whether we knew it or not. Rest In Peace. You were a gift to this world."

PHOTO: Stephen Sondheim has died at the age of 91. Here he speaks at the Great Writers Thank Their Lucky Stars annual gala hosted by The Dramatists Guild Fund on Oct. 21, 2013, in New York.
Stephen Sondheim has died at the age of 91. Here he speaks at the Great Writers Thank Their Lucky Stars annual gala hosted by The Dramatists Guild Fund on Oct. 21, 2013, in New York.
Getty Images

Jake Gyllenhaal, who starred in "Sunday in the Park with George," shared a photo of Sondheim on social media taken during the curtain call on the opening night of the 2017 revival.

"I am grateful to have shared time with the master and maestro of American musical theater, and to have played his George," he wrote. "We have lost a giant. We will miss you. Rest In Peace."

Those working on revivals of Sondheim shows also mourned his passing.

"I don't think there's an example of another person in any other field that is the size Steve was to ours," tweeted Steve Pasquale, who is starring in the off-Broadway production of "Assassins." "Heavy hearts tonight at Assassins."

Marianne Elliott, director of this season's revival of "Company," said in a statement. "We have lost the Shakespeare of musical theater."

"He was the most generous collaborator with the greatest spirit. The joy of working with him was that he knew theatre could and should evolve with time. He was always open to the new," she continued. "We dedicate this production of 'Company' to his artistry and joy."

At Friday night's showing of "Company," Elliott and star Patti LuPone paid tribute to the legend and dedicated the run of the show to him.

PHOTO: Stephen Sondheim, seen here in a 1960 file photo, has died at the age of 91.
FILE: Stephen Sondheim, seen here in a 1960 file photo, has died at the age of 91.
Getty Images

Sondheim's big break was penning the lyrics for the 1957 musical "West Side Story." A highly anticipated film adaptation directed by Steven Spielberg is slated to come out next month.

In a statement to ABC News, Spielberg remembered Sondheim as "a gigantic figure in American culture -- one of our country's greatest 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 that he knew more about movies than almost anyone I'd ever met," Spielberg said. "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."

Film stars who took on Sondheim roles in movies also paid their respects.

"I was just talking to someone a few nights ago about how much fun (and f------ difficult) it is to sing Stephen Sondheim," Anna Kendrick, who starred in the 2014 film adaptation of "Into the Woods," tweeted. "Performing his work has been among the greatest privileges of my career. A devastating loss."

Performers starring on Broadway also expressed their condolences.

"Thank you for everything Mr Sondheim. Speechless," tweeted Aaron Tveit, of "Moulin Rouge." "We are so lucky to have what you've given the world."

Hugh Jackman, who returns to Broadway next month in "The Music Man," tweeted. "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."

The Broadway League, the national trade association for the industry, summed up the loss of the eight-time Tony Award winner.

"It is nearly impossible to measure Stephen Sondheim's impact on the world of musical theatre," Charlotte St. Martin, president of The Broadway League, said in a statement. "During a career that spanned nearly 65 years he created music and lyrics that have become synonymous with Broadway from 'Gypsy' and 'West Side Story' to 'A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum,' 'Follies,' 'Into the Woods,' 'Sweeney Todd,' 'Sunday in the Park with George,' and too many more to name."

"It is hard to imagine Broadway without him, but we know his legacy will live on for many years to come," she added.

ABC News' Betsy Hill contributed to this report.

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