Stephen Sondheim is one of the most iconic names in musical theatre. The composer and lyricist is famous for musicals like West Side Story, Into the Woods, Sweeney Todd, Company, and more. His accolades include everything from eight Tony Awards to a Pulitzer Prize to a Presidential Medal of Freedom. It’s almost impossible to imagine what modern musical theatre would look like without him—and that’s something worth celebrating.
Which is the exact idea behind Take Me To The World: A Sondheim 90th Birthday Celebration, a virtual concert that will honor the maestro’s milestone birthday. The COVID-19 pandemic has all of us locked indoors, but that doesn’t mean we can’t celebrate. Why not do it alongside some of the biggest stars of the stage and screen? Raúl Esparza is on the docket to host. Appearances will include Meryl Streep, Bernadette Peters, Patti LuPone, and many more.
“The world is in a hard place, and we are all searching for something great,” Esparza said in a statement (via Broadway.com). “Well, Stephen Sondheim is greatness personified. So, we’ve assembled a group of people who love Steve and have worked with Steve and have been inspired by Steve to sing his music and share some joy and some heartache together.”
Many of the top billed stars joining the special have very close ties to Sondheim. Esparza performed in a number of his works, including the Tony Award-winning revival of Company, as well as the Kennedy Center Sondheim Celebration productions of Sunday in the Park With George and Merrily We Roll Along.
Streep was nominated for an Oscar for her performance as the Witch in Disney’s Into the Woods.
Peters and LuPone have both appeared in a number of Sondheim productions, and considered some of the foremost interpreters of his work.
Other stars set to appear in Take Me To The World: A Sondheim 90th Birthday Celebration include Mandy Patinkin; Christine Baranski; Audra MacDonald; Kristin Chenoweth; Sutton Foster; Aaron Tveit; Iain Armitage; and Michael Cerveris.
Not only will the streaming special celebrate Sondheim’s birthday, but will also air on the 50th anniversary of the Broadway debut of Company. And it will act as a fundraiser for Artists Striving to End Poverty (ASTEP), an organization that connects performing artists to youth from underserved communities.
The event will stream on Broadway.com and the Broadway.com YouTube channel this Sunday, April 26, at 8 p.m. ET.
Featured Image: Walt Disney Studios