Stephen Sondheim dead at 91 – Broadway songwriting icon who wrote lyrics for West Side Story passes away in Connecticut

BROADWAY songwriter Stephen Sondheim, known for hits in West Side Story and Gypsy, passed away on Friday at the age of 91.

He was known for his work in various plays, including Company, Sweeney Todd, and Merrily We Roll Along.

According to The New York Times he died in his Roxbury, Connecticut home.

His death was confirmed by lawyer and friend F. Richards Pappas, who called it sudden.

Stephen had been celebrating Thanksgiving with friends in the area.

No cause of death has been released at this time.

Stephen was among the most sought-after composers and lyricists in the industry.


His career dates back to the 1950s, at which time he wrote the lyrics to West Side Story and Gypsy.

Stephen's success continued on for many years to come.

In the 1990s he wrote the music and lyrics for Assassins and Passion, two highly successful musicals.

The former focuses on people who have tried to kill American presidents while the latter is an opera focused on true love.

Stephen didn't write the words and music to a Broadway show until 1962.

At that time, he created the famous comedy A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum.

The play won a Tony award for best musical.

It was so successful it ran for more than two years.

Most of his success came in the 1970s and 1980s.

During that time he was called to work on several plays, including Company, Follies, A Little Night Music, Pacific Overtures, Sweeney Todd, Merrily We Roll Along, Sunday in the Park With George and Into the Woods.


Although Stephen was considered one of the best in the industry, few can say they worked with him.

His peers included Irving Berlin, Cole Porter, Frank Loesser, Jerry Herman and Noël Coward.

Stephen was only for hire during the first decade of his career.

He was also particular about who he collaborated with, choosing by hand throughout his years of work.

He selected Hal Prince, Jonathan Tunick and James Lapine, all of whom shared his desire to see music expand beyond a form of entertainment.

Stephen's music varied from simple melodies to more complex and vibrant works.


He won many awards throughout his long career.

Stephen won five Tony Awards for best musical and six for best original score.

Sunday in the Park, a play he wrote the music for , won a Pulitzer Prize for drama in 1985.

Several revivals of his shows, including Assassins, won Tonys as well despite not originally being on Broadway.

In 1993 Stephen was presented with the Kennedy Center Honors for lifetime achievement.

In 2015 he was awarded a Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama.

In 2008 he got another lifetime achievement award, this time at the Tony Awards.

He got a Broadway house on West 43rd Street renamed in his honor in 2010.

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