Belfast Telegraph

Friday 19 September 2014

Theatre named in honour of Sondheim

Stephen Sondheim before the lighting of the marquee of the Stephen Sondheim Theatre in Times Square (AP)

Stephen Sondheim has received a belated birthday gift - his name on a Broadway theatre.

The 1,055-seat venue on West 43rd Street that is currently named after actor-producer Henry Miller was formally renamed on Wednesday night and lit in Sondheim's honour.

"I'm deeply embarrassed. I'm thrilled, but deeply embarrassed," said Sondheim, whose eyes welled with tears as the sun fell over Times Square.

Sondheim, who turned 80 in March, also admitted that he had never really liked the sound of his last name. "It just doesn't sing."

Joining the Tony Award-winning composer and lyricist of such shows as Company and Follies were Sondheim's long-time collaborators Patti LuPone, Nathan Lane and John Weidman.

"He is a true gentleman of the theatre, a theatrical legend," said Lane. "I have to say - don't take this the wrong way - this is so much more moving to christen a theatre the Stephen Sondheim as opposed to the British Petroleum Playhouse."

The 50,000-square-foot theatre reopened last year as a joint venture of the Durst Organisation and Bank of America. It is being leased by the nonprofit Roundabout, which plans to produce The Pee-Wee Herman Show and the Cole Porter romp Anything Goes with Sutton Foster as the first shows in the new Sondheim theatre.

Sondheim, who wrote the lyrics for West Side Story and Gypsy, has won Tony Awards for the scores of Passion, Into the Woods, Sweeney Todd, A Little Night Music, Follies and Company. His Sunday In The Park With George was awarded the Pulitzer Prize.

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