On Wednesday, September 15th at 6:30PM, the Broadway community gathered alongside Stephen Sondheim as the lights of the newly dedicated Stephen Sondheim Theatre marquee are lit for the first time.
Roundabout Theatre Company hosted the event to honor the most celebrated artist in American musical theatre. The participants in the event included his longtime collaborators Nathan Lane, Patti LuPone & John Weidman as well as Tom Tuft, Chairman of Roundabout Theatre Company's Board of Directors and Mr. Sondheim himself.
In order to facilitate this dedication, a small group of Stephen Sondheim devotees initiated a generous contribution to the renaming dedication of the theatre to support Roundabout's Musical Theatre Fund. The Musical Theatre 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.
Roundabout has a long relationship with Stephen Sondheim having produced five Tony Award® nominated Sondheim revivals including Company (1995), Follies (2001), Tony Award® winning Assassins (2004), Pacific Overtures (2004), Sunday in the Park with George (2008) & the recent acclaimed production of Sondheim on Sondheim. In 2009 Roundabout presented a one-night only gala concert reading of A Little Night Music at Studio 54 starring Natasha Richardson, Victor Garber and Vanessa Redgrave. In 2005, Roundabout honored Sondheim with the Jason Robards Award for Excellence in Theatre for the indelible impact his life's work has made on the Theatre World.
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.
BroadwayWorld's James Sims was on hand to capture this historic event on video. Follow James on Twitter at @simsjames.