Best known for his extensive and outstanding work in musical theater, American composer and lyricist Stephen Sondheim celebrated his 90th birthday this past weekend. Though he reached the milestone on March 22nd, the festivities were taken online after Broadway was shut down due to the Corona Virus pandemic.
In what turned out to be a 2.5-hour free online concert, titled, Take Me to the World: A Sondheim 90th Birthday Celebration, stars such as Judy Kuhn, Katrina Lenk, Aaron Tveit, Laura Benanti, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Sutton Foster, Neil Patrick Harris, Seinfeld‘s Jason Alexander and more sang to the legend from the comfort of their respective homes. Those beaming in decided to recite Sondheim classics such as “No One Is Alone”, “The Witch’s Rap”, “It Takes Two” and more with each rendition getting its own twist based on the performer(s) and their environment.
The night’s standout exhibition, however, was the online trio by Meryl Streep, Christine Baranski and Audra McDonald, who sang one of Stephen Sondheim’s most recognizable numbers, “The Ladies Who Lunch” from the 1970 musical comedy Company. The three actresses showed off their vocal and cocktail-making capabilities, belting out powerful lyrics between sips of wine, scotch and vodka while wearing appropriate quarantine attire in the form of fuzzy white robes. Watch the clip here.
In addition to toasting Sondheim’s birthday, the event also fell on the 50th anniversary of the opening night of Company, which debuted on Broadway on April 26th, 1970. Proceeds from the stream will be donated to ASTEP (Artists Striving to End Poverty), an organization that connects youth from under-served communities to the visual and performing arts.
Photo: Dick Thomas Johnson