Hugh Jackman, Idina Menzel and More Pay Tribute to Stephen Sondheim: 'End of an Era'

·4 min read
Stephen Sondheim
Stephen Sondheim

Michael Stewart/Getty

Actors from the film, television and theater worlds are paying tribute to Stephen Sondheim, the legendary lyricist, composer and songwriter of Broadway who died Friday at the age of 91.

Just some of the credits in Sondheim's rich body of work include writing the lyrics for the 1957 musical West Side Story, which would go on to multiple stage revivals and film adaptations, the most recent of which is premiering next month.

Stage and screen star Ariana DeBose, who will portray Anita in the Steven Spielberg-directed film, was one of the first to react to Sondheim's passing on Twitter, writing, "I am at a loss. Feels like the end of an era. He did indeed set the standard for the American musical. Rest well, sir."

Hugh Jackman, most known for his action film credits but a seasoned musical theater performer as well, wrote on social media, "Every so often someone comes along that fundamentally shifts an entire art form. Stephen Sondheim was one of those."

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"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," Jackman concluded.

Actor and singer Darren Criss penned a brief but lyrical homage to Sondheim, writing, "thank you so much | for something between | ridiculous and sublime | #StephenSondheim."

Wilson Cruz, who appeared in Broadway's Rent, called Sondheim a "Master. Legend. Icon." and noted that he was "privileged" to join in standing ovations at Company, the latest Sondheim revival on Broadway, last week when the songwriter himself was in attendance.

"Gratitude for the endless inspiration he provided to generations," Cruz added. "He changed the world."

Company's director, Marianne Elliott, wrote on the show's Twitter page that "we have lost the Shakespeare of musical theatre. He was the most generous collaborator with the greatest spirit. The joy of working with him was that he knew theatre could and should evolve with time. He was always open to the new."

Others to pay tribute to the Into the Woods songwriter included stage and screen greats Idina Menzel, who tweeted, "Goodbye dear sir. We will spend our lives trying to make you proud"; and Debbie Allen, who wrote, "Prolific composer and lyricist left us a legacy to remember and sing forever."

Anna Kendrick, who starred in the 2014 film adaptation of Into the Woods, wrote on Twitter, "Performing his work has been among the greatest privileges of my career. A devastating loss." She then shared a lyric from the show, "You decide what's right, you decide what's good… just remember."

In Treatment star Uzo Aduba honored Sondheim on social media as well, writing, "Stephen Sondheim was the best there ever was. I don't know when we will ever have another of his caliber, of his breadth and scope. Just the greatest, a legend, a true titan. Rest In Peace."

Establishments including the Tony Awards and the American Theatre Wing paid tribute to the theater icon as well.

"He left us with so many words, but none enough for this post. Goodbye, old pal. Thank you, Stephen Sondheim, for so much brilliance in the theatre and sharing your music with us all," the official Tony Awards Twitter account stated alongside archival video.

The Wing shared another clip of Sondheim, writing, "Thank you, thank you, thank you Stephen Sondheim. You paved the way for so many composers and theatre makers. We will never forget your generosity, your inspiration, and what you gave to the American Theatre and the world."

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