London's West End is set to pay tribute to the legendary Stephen Sondheim who has passed away.

The iconic theatre composer and lyricist Stephen Sondheim died aged 91 on Friday November 26. 

In tribute, West End theatres will dim their lights for two minutes at 7pm on Monday November 29 in his memory.

Julian Bird Chief Executive of the Society of London Theatre and UK Theatre, said: "The theatre world is a smaller place after the passing of Stephen Sondheim.

Times Series: Stephen Sondheim taking an applause during the finale of BBC Proms in 2010. Credit: PAStephen Sondheim taking an applause during the finale of BBC Proms in 2010. Credit: PA

His legacy of extraordinary shows and songs will live on for many generations to come - but now, we pay tribute to his outstanding contribution to our theatres and celebrate his talent."

Who was Stephen Sondheim?

Stephen Sondheim was theatre royalty and one of the industry's most decorated artists.

He won eight Tony Awards including a lifetime achievement award in 2008, eight Grammy awards as well as a Pulitzer Prize, an Academy Award, five Olivier Awards and he was also received the Presidential Medal of Honour.

In his early career, he wrote lyrics for the likes of West Side Story and Gypsy before composing smash hits like Into the Woods, Sweeney Todd and Company.

Tributes to Stephen Sondheim 

Composer Andrew Lloyd Webber paid tribute to Sondheim on Twitter, saying: “Farewell Steve, the musical theatre giant of our times, an inspiration not just to two but to three generations. Your contribution to theatre will never be equalled.”

He also told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “A Little Night Music is a masterpiece. It’s one of the pieces I go back to play again and again.

“So many, many will focus on his lyrics because they are peerless, but for me as a composer, I just think his work was, really extraordinary.

“Sondheim was an absolute genius and the New York Times rightly calls him a titan of musical theatre. And that’s the only word I can think of.”

The creator of Hamilton and tik...tik BOOM!, Lin Manuel Miranda wrote:"Future historians: Stephen Sondheim was real. Yes, he wrote Tony & Maria AND Sweeney Todd AND Bobby AND George & Dot AND Fosca AND countless more.

"Some may theorize Shakespeare's works were by committee but Steve was real & he was here & he laughed SO loud at shows & we loved him."

The theatrical producer Sir Cameron Mackintosh, who renamed his Queen’s Theatre venue after the composer in 2019, said theatre had “lost one of its greatest geniuses and the world has lost one of its greatest and most original writers”.

 

While the lyricist Sir Tim Rice described Sondheim as a “master musical man”, and Barbra Streisand tweeted: “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.”