Broadway legend Stephen Sondheim dies at 91 | See 5 facts about him

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Popular Broadway composer and lyricist Stephen Sondheim dies at 91, see 5 interesting facts about him.

The Broadway legend died early on Friday, 2at his home in Roxbury, Connecticut, a spokesperson for Sondheim said. F. Richard Pappas, Sondheim’s attorney, also confirmed the composer’s death in a statement, saying it was sudden.

“The day before, Mr Sondheim had celebrated Thanksgiving with a dinner with friends in Roxbury,” Pappas said in a written statement. “And he spent all day Wednesday seeing the matinee and evening performances of Dana H and Is This a Room — doing what he most loved to do.”

During his time, he wrote the lyrics for “West Side Story,” which earned him the title of American theatre’s greatest composer and lyricist of the last half-century or more. He was the kind of composer whose work amateurs didn’t want to go close to.

Speaking about his death in a written statement, the president of the Broadway League, Charlotte St. Martin, said, “it is nearly impossible to measure Stephen Sondheim’s impact on the world of musical theatre. During a career that spanned nearly 65 years, he created music and lyrics that have become synonymous with Broadway … It is hard to imagine Broadway without him, but we know his legacy will live on for many years to come.”

Popular Broadway composer and lyricist Stephen Sondheim

See 5 interesting facts about Stephen Sondheim

Early life of Stephen Sondheim

Stephen Sondheim was born on 22 March 1930 to Herbert and Janet Sondheim. His parents exposed him to music from a tender age, despite them not having anything to do with music themselves.

Sondheim’s parents got divorced in 1942, and he went with his mother, who moved to Doylestown, Pennsylvania. His mother’s new house was near the summer residence of Oscar Hammerstein II — a famous librettist — his father’s friend. Sondheim worked with Hammerstein, and under his critical evaluation and teaching, the young Sondheim’s style was formulated. Sondheim became Hammerstein’s assistant and gained entry into the world of professional theatre.


After some time with Oscar Hammerstein II, he moved back to Los Angeles and started writing scripts. Sondheim wrote the scripts for the television series Topper and The Last Word. He met with an acquaintance of director Arthur Laurents who introduced him to composer Leonard Bernstein and choreographer Jerome Robbins along his career path.

They were searching for a lyricist for a contemporary musical adaptation of William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet when they met them. This circumstance led to Stephen Sondheim’s success, and shortly after, he became part of one of Broadway’s most successful productions of all time.

Personal life

The popular lyricist was a private person and rarely discussed his personal life. He came out as gay when he was about 40. Sondheim got married to Jeffrey Scott Romley, a digital technologist, in 2017, and they lived in Manhattan and Roxbury, Connecticut. It is unknown if he has any children.

Stephen Sondheim Awards

Sondheim won various awards throughout his career as a composer and lyricist. He won eight Tony Awards and eight Grammy Awards as a composer. He also won an Academy Award for the song “Sooner or Later,” one of five tracks written for the 1990 film D--k Tracy, starring Warren Beatty and Madonna.

In November 2015, Sondheim got honored as a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and two years later, he became the first composer-lyricist to win the PEN/Allen Foundation Literary Service Award.


Since Sondheim’s demise, Broadway and its performers have not forgotten about him as they have continued to pay tribute to him. CBS2’s Ali Bauman reported that on Sunday afternoon, 28 November 2021, in the heart of Times Square, the theatre community paid tribute to the lyricist in song.

Erin Davie, who stars in “Diana: The Musical.” He said: “I never in a million years thought that I would ever be here and say I worked with him, and I saw him laugh at something I did. I think a lot of people here can say it’s just thrilling to have been in a room with him.

Brian Stokes Mitchell, another performer, talked about his songs. She said, “this song in the middle of Times Square, in tribute to Sondheim, this is as Broadway as it gets. Stephen Sondheim is as Broadway as it gets. He changed kind of the way music was structured on Broadway, too, and the way music and lyrics were intricately linked and connected, and the way they worked together to propel a story, to propel a character. That’s something that he really really perfected.”

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