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Musical theater master Sondheim dies at 91

Legend influenced several generations of songwriters

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FILE - Composer and lyricist Stephen Sondheim poses after being awarded the Freedom of the City of London at a ceremony at the Guildhall in London, on Sept. 27, 2018. Sondheim, the songwriter who reshaped the American musical theater in the second half of the 20th century, has died at age 91. Sondheim's death was announced by his Texas-based attorney, Rick Pappas, who told The New York Times the composer died Friday, Nov. 26, 2021, at his home in Roxbury, Conn.
FILE - Composer and lyricist Stephen Sondheim poses after being awarded the Freedom of the City of London at a ceremony at the Guildhall in London, on Sept. 27, 2018. Sondheim, the songwriter who reshaped the American musical theater in the second half of the 20th century, has died at age 91. Sondheim's death was announced by his Texas-based attorney, Rick Pappas, who told The New York Times the composer died Friday, Nov. 26, 2021, at his home in Roxbury, Conn. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth, File) (Evan Vucci/Associated Press files) Photo Gallery

NEW YORK — Stephen Sondheim, the songwriter who reshaped the American musical theater in the second half of the 20th century with his intelligent, intricately rhymed lyrics, his use of evocative melodies and his willingness to tackle unusual subjects, has died. He was 91.

Sondheim’s death was announced by Rick Miramontez, president of DKC/O&M. Sondheim’s Texas-based attorney, Rick Pappas, told The New York Times the composer died Friday at his home in Roxbury, Conn.

Sondheim influenced several generations of theater songwriters, particularly with such landmark musicals as “Company,” “Follies” and “Sweeney Todd,” which are considered among his best work. His most famous ballad, “Send in the Clowns,” has been recorded hundreds of times.

The artist refused to repeat himself, finding inspiration for his shows in such diverse subjects as an Ingmar Bergman movie (“A Little Night Music”), the opening of Japan to the West (“Pacific Overtures”), French painter Georges Seurat (“Sunday in the Park With George”), Grimm’s fairy tales (“Into the Woods”) and killers of presidents (“Assassins”), among others.

Six of his musicals won Tony Awards for best score, and he received a Pulitzer Prize (“Sunday in the Park”), an Academy Award (for the song “Sooner or Later” from “Dick Tracy”), five Olivier Awards and the Presidential Medal of Honor.

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