Stephen Sondheim: A master of musical theater

Written by M.E. Hardy, CNN

Stephen Sondheim is the father of American musical theater.

After debuting at the young age of 17 with the musical “Street Scene,” he went on to write about the human condition with works such as “Company,” “Sweeney Todd,” “A Little Night Music,” “Pacific Overtures” and “Merrily We Roll Along.” His work has become synonymous with stage entertainment, with memorable songs ranging from the poignant (“Send in the Clowns,” “Anyone Can Whistle”) to the funny (“A Little Night Music,” “Company”).

Sad news to wake up to today: Stephen Sondheim has died.

Perhaps the greatest Broadway composer of our time, he wrote many of the world’s most enduring musicals. Two words: “Into the Woods.”

Sondheim composed the songs for some of the most acclaimed and popular films of the 1980s, including “Fiddler on the Roof,” “A Little Night Music” and “Company.”

“Sad to wake up to this news. Dear Stephen, my stage father, my inspiration, my hero,” tweeted James Earl Jones, who’s performed Sondheim’s work numerous times.

In a statement to CNN, Gregory Jbara, star of the show “Merrily We Roll Along,” expressed his sadness at the death of his musical hero.

“Stephen Sondheim was so extraordinary. I’ve shared hundreds of rehearsals, performances and performances with him, performing in his Broadway shows as well as international productions,” Jbara said. “His spirit defined me; as a composer he took the lead, and I will continue to follow in his footsteps.”

“Sondheim was a writer of extraordinary depth, and his music and lyrics are two of the most well-loved and acclaimed in history,” tweeted James Corden, the British actor and comedian. “A remarkable mind and talent, and a class act.”

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