VIDEO: On This Day, September 15 - Henry Miller's Theater Renamed For Stephen Sondheim
On this day in 2010, Henry Miller's Theatre was renamed the Stephen Sondheim Theatre. The renaming of the theatre was dedicated to Stephen Sondheim, the greatest and best known artist in American musical theatre on his 80th birthday.
Roundabout Theatre Company, Artistic Director Todd Haimes, said of the renaming, "Stephen Sondheim is, quite simply, an artistic genius. Perhaps no writer of musical theatre has had a greater influence on his chosen art form. We are so proud that Roundabout has had the privilege of being a theatrical home to some of Steve's greatest works, including Company, Follies, Assassins, Pacific Overtures, Sunday in the Park with George and the concert performance of A Little Night Music. It's thrilling to see one of the greatest artists of our time be able to join the other legendary theatre artists who have had Broadway theatres named after them, like Ethel Barrymore, David Belasco, Edwin Booth, George Broadhurst, George Gershwin, Alfred Lunt & Lynn Fontanne, Richard Rodgers, Helen Hayes, Eugene O'Neill, Neil Simon and August Wilson. In so many ways, Steve's work has already made him a part of their illustrious tradition, so it is only fitting that we can now pay proper tribute to a composer and lyricist of extraordinary stature, Stephen Sondheim."
Frequent Sondheim collaborator, John Weidman, said "Steve Sondheim has been, without question, the pre-eminent artist working in the musical theatre for the last fifty years. The appropriateness of naming a theatre after him is self-evident. The hope in naming a theatre after him is that it will become a home for artists whose work aspires to the heady level of daring, honesty and rigor which has always characterized Steve's. It's been my experience that billing has never mattered much to Steve, but it's nice to know there is now one Broadway house where his name will always appear above the title."
Stephen Sondheim is widely acknowledged as the most innovative, most influential, and most important composer and lyricist in modern Broadway history. He is the winner of an Academy Award, numerous Tony Awardsâ, multiple Grammy Awards and a Pulitzer Prize. Some of his other accolades include a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Kennedy Center Honors (1993), the National Medal of Arts (1996), the American Academy of Arts and Letters' Gold Medal for Music (2006) and a special Tony Awardâfor Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre (2008).
His extensive body of work has revolutionized the musical theatre canon and has made him perhaps the greatest stage composer of the last 100 years. Sondheim's musical sophistication, which combines intricate vocal lines and inventive harmonies with intelligent lyrics and subject matter, is an ability that is unmatched by many of his musical theatre peers. Simply put, he is a legend.
Stephen Sondheim wrote the music and lyrics for Road Show (2008), Passion (1994), Assassins (1991), Into the Woods (1987), Sunday in the Park with George (1984), Merrily We Roll Along (1981), Sweeney Todd (1979), Pacific Overtures (1976), The Frogs (1974), A Little Night Music (1973), Follies (1971; revised in London, 1987), Company (1970), Anyone Can Whistle (1964) and A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (1962), as well as the lyrics for West Side Story (1957), Gypsy (1959), Do I Hear a Waltz? (1965) and additional lyrics for Candide (1973). Side by Side by Sondheim (1976), Marry Me a Little (1981), You're Gonna Love Tomorrow (1983) and Putting It Together (1993/99) are anthologies of his work, as is the new musical Sondheim on Sondheim. He composed the film scores of Stavisky (1974) and Reds (1981) and songs for Dick Tracy (Academy Award, 1990). He also wrote songs for the television production "Evening Primrose" (1966), co-authored, with Anthony Perkins, the film The Last of Sheila (1973) and, with George Furth, the play Getting Away with Murder (1996), and provided incidental music for the plays The Girls of Summer (1956), Invitation to a March (1961) and Twigs (1971). He won Tony Awards for Best Score for a Musical for Passion, Into the Woods, Sweeney Todd, A Little Night Music, Follies and Company. All of these shows won the New York Drama Critics Circle Award, as did Pacific Overtures and Sunday in the Park with George, the latter also receiving the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. Saturday Night (1954), his first professional musical, finally had its New York premiere in 1999 at Second Stage Theatre.