Stephen Sondheim’s unexpected passing on Nov. 26 has unleashed a tremendous outpouring of sadness, love and gracious recollection. I’ve been tracking and absorbing more than 50 obituaries, reminiscences, and tributes — from major media, theaters, performers, my many colleagues in the American Theatre Critics Association and more. I resonated with something that composer Jason Robert Brown wrote: “Obviously there are a million things I have to say, but also there’s really only one thing to say: Thank you, Steve, for everything.” I can only echo that.
The satellite radio service, SiriusXM, is dedicating all its “On Broadway” channel programming on Sunday, Dec. 5, to music and information about Sondheim, titling it “Remembering Stephen Sondheim.” Included in the day will be repeat airings of my four one-hour conversations with “On the Aisle” host Bill Rudman. We talk through Sondheim’s career and musical philosophy, with lots of musical illustrations. Here’s the schedule in Eastern Time (adjust for your own time zone): Part 1, 12:30 p.m.; Part 2, 3:00 p.m., Part 3, 5:30 p.m.; and Part 4, 9:00 p.m. We had a great time recording these programs, and I’ve had very positive feedback from people who heard them in April and May. If you have SiriusXM in your car or at home, please tune in.
Rather than being long-winded about Sondheim’s remarkable career, I’m sharing with you links to two video recollections. The first is Sondheim’s tribute by the Kennedy Center Honors in 1993, narrated by Angela Lansbury and featuring songs performed by Bernadette Peters, Jason Alexander, Scott Bakula and Lansbury herself. It’s a wonderful summary of his creative output with some entertaining and heartfelt musical numbers. The second is an hour-long recording of one of Sondheim’s stimulating onstage conversations with Frank Rich from March 11, 2008, in Portland, Oregon. It’s a perfect example of his forthright intelligence, his sense of humor, his willingness to share, and his great humanity.
We all must be grateful to have had Stephen Sondheim in the world for 91 years.
Anything you do,
Let it come from you.
Then it will be new.
Give us more to see.
That’s precisely what he did. Thank you, Steve, for everything.