To celebrate the 90th birthday of musical theater icon, Stephen Sondheim, a star-studded cast will perform a virtual concert, “Take Me To The World: A Sondheim 90th Birthday Celebration” on Sunday, April 26.
Sunday marks the 50th anniversary of the opening night of Sondheim’s groundbreaking production, “Company,” which debuted on Broadway.
The celebratory concert that is free to view will feature a long list of blockbuster names including Meryl Streep, Bernadette Peters, Patti LuPone, Audra McDonald, 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.
Raúl Esparza, who starred as Bobby in the highly-acclaimed, Tony Award-winning revival of Company in 2006, will host the festivities.
“The world is in a hard place, and we are all searching for something great. Well, Stephen Sondheim is greatness personified. So, we’ve assembled a group of people who love Steve and have worked with Steve and have been inspired by Steve to sing his music and share some joy and some heartache together,” Esparza said. “We may be far from Broadway right now, but Broadway is never far from us. Besides, Stephen Sondheim turned 90. How many times do you get to be 90? 11? So come on, say it, get it over with, come on, quick…happy birthday.”
The event will also act as a fundraiser for ASTEP (Artists Striving to End Poverty), which is an organization started by noted Broadway director Mary-Mitchell Campbell along with students from the famed Juilliard school of music.
“Sondheim shows us the depth of our hearts, the complexity of our minds, and all that it is possible to accomplish through his brilliant marriage of music and storytelling,” Campbell said. “Artists Striving to End Poverty aims to make sure that all children living in challenging situations have the opportunity to be transformed by the making of art. In my personal experience, encountering Stephen Sondheim’s music has helped these children imagine an entirely different life and future for themselves. Linking Sondheim and ASTEP together during this very difficult time made perfect sense to us. Children and art.”
Sondheim, born on March 22, 1930, has been an active composer and lyricist since 1954 and is considered one of the most important figures ever in the history of musical theatre.
Amongst his most notable works as composer and lyricist are “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum” (1962), “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street“ (1979), and “Into the Woods“ (1987). He is also known for writing the lyrics for “West Side Story“ (1957) and “Gypsy“ (1959).
“Take Me To The World: A Sondheim 90th Birthday Celebration” will begin at 8 p.m. ET.