These Celebrity Tributes To Theatre Legend Stephen Sondheim Are So Touching
Jake Gyllenhaal, Anna Kendrick, and more stars are mourning the loss.
Hollywood and Broadway stars alike are mourning the loss of theatre legend Stephen Sondheim, who died on Friday, Nov. 26. Perhaps one of the first names to cross your mind when thinking of Broadway is Sondheim, the theatre giant who is considered one of the most influential figures in musical theatre — many have even given him credit for having reinvented the American musical. So, you could imagine after hearing about the 91-year-old’s passing, many celebrities shared their condolences and special thanks to the theatre titan. These celebrity tributes to Stephen Sondheim after his death emphasize just how much he meant to the world of theatre.
The New York Times announced Sondheim had died in his Roxbury, Connecticut home on the morning of Friday, Nov. 26. The hugely influential lyricist and composer was a driving force behind some of the biggest, most beloved modern musicals, including Into the Woods, Company, Sweeney Todd, and West Side Story. He also worked closely with many of the most talented actors of the past half-century, many of whom shared emotional remembrances of their friend in light of his passing.
Jake Gyllenhaal shared a touching testimony to the “maestro” on Instagram and how he will be forever grateful for getting to play one of the lead characters in Sondheim’s Sunday in the Park with George. “This picture of Mr. Stephen Sondheim, was taken during curtain call on the opening night of Sunday in the Park with George,” he wrote on Instagram. “I am grateful to have shared time with the master and maestro of American musical theater, and to have played his George. We have lost a giant. We will miss you. Rest In Peace.”
Sondheim may have primarily been known in the world of Broadway, but he had a huge impact in Hollywood too. His Broadway shows like Into the Woods, Sweeney Todd, and West Side Story have all been adapted into movies. Kendrick, who played Cinderella in the 2014 film Into the Woods posted to Twitter to share her thoughts on the loss of the icon (and how difficult it was to sing a Sondheim song). “I was just talking to someone a few nights ago about how much fun (and (expletive) difficult) it is to sing Stephen Sondheim," she tweeted. "Performing his work has been among the greatest privileges of my career."
Frozen stars Josh Gad (Olaf) and Idina Menzel (Elsa) also paid their respects to the iconic writer and lyricists. Both Gad and Menzel have been in Broadway productions, with Menzel being reputably known for her portrayal of Elphaba in Wicked and Gad for playing Elder Cunningham in Book of Mormon. “Goodbye dear sir,” Menzel wrote on Twitter. “We will spend our lives trying to make you proud. #stephensondheim”.
Two other major Broadway stars shared their touching tributes on social media: Barbra Streisand and Bernadette Peters. Streisand rose to fame with her performances in Broadway shows Funny Girl (1964) and I Can Get It For You Wholesale (1962) and later took on the big screen with movies like A Star is Born (1976), The Way We Were (1973), and Hello, Dolly! (1969). “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,” she wrote on Instagram.
Peters is one of the most acclaimed performers to grace the stage and has starred in two Sondheim productions: Into the Woods and Sunday in the Park with George.
Hugh Jackman also took to social media to show appreciation for Sondheim. “Every so often someone comes along that fundamentally shifts an entire art form. Stephen Sondheim was one of those,” he wrote. “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.”
Of course, these are only a few of the scores of tributes flooding social media after Sondheim’s death. The legendary lyricist touched the lives not only of his famous collaborators, but everyone who saw one of his shows, so this is a particularly painful loss for so many.