Everybody Rise! Roundabout's Sondheim 80 Celebrates a Master's Milestone

By Kenneth Jones
22 Mar 2010

Promotional art for Sondheim 80
Promotional art for Sondheim 80

The Roundabout Theatre Company, which has given the shows of Stephen Sondheim a New York City home since the 1990s, celebrates the March 22 birthday of the composer-lyricist with a gala-benefit performance dubbed Sondheim 80, featuring tributes from musical theatre writers and Broadway stars.

Bernadette Peters, Barbara Cook, Vanessa Williams, Rita Moreno, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Duncan Sheik, Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey are among the artists paying homage on the night of Sondheim's 80th birthday.

Guests will see a performance of the new Roundabout revue Sondheim on Sondheim at Studio 54. Sondheim on Sondheim stars Barbara Cook, Vanessa Williams and Tom Wopat. Music and lyrics are by Sondheim, and the production is conceived and directed by James Lapine.

Next, guests will enjoy a gourmet dinner and "a very personal star-studded musical tribute," with new songs by contemporary musical theatre writers, at the Sheraton New York.

Songwriters participating include Tom Kitt & Brian Yorkey (Next to Normal), Michael John LaChiusa (The Wild Party), Andrew Lippa (The Addams Family), Robert Lopez (Avenue Q) and Kristen Anderson-Lopez, Lin-Manuel Miranda (In the Heights), Duncan Sheik (Spring Awakening), Stew & Heidi Rodewald (Passing Strange) and Jeanine Tesori & David Lindsay-Abaire (Shrek).



Their original compositions will be sung by some of Broadway's biggest talents, such as Berndadette Peters, in front of an audience that will include friends and artists from Sondheim's six decades on Broadway such as Elaine Stritch, Lauren Bacall, Donna Murphy, Kelli O'Hara, Lynn Redgrave, Sam Mendes, Frank Rich, Michael Cerveris, La Chanze and more.

The tribute concert is directed by Paul Gemignani, Sondheim's longtime musical director.

All proceeds from this event will benefit Roundabout Theatre Company's Musical Theatre Fund.

*

Roundabout has a long relationship with Stephen Sondheim having produced five Tony Award nominated Sondheim revivals including Company (1995), Follies (2001), Tony Award-winning Assassins (2004), Pacific Overtures (2004) and Sunday in the Park with George (2008). In 2005, Roundabout honored Sondheim with the Jason Robards Award for Excellence in Theatre for the indelible impact his life's work has made on the theatre world.

The Honorary Chairs of the Gala are Barry Diller & Diane von Furstenberg and Bernadette Peters. The Gala chairs are Michael T. Cohen, Martin & Perry Granoff and Tom & Diane Tuft. The Vice-chairs are Edward & Betsy Cohen, Mike & Pilar de Graffenried, Ted & Mary Jo Shen, Mark R. Fetting & Georgia D. Smith.

The performance of Sondheim on Sondheim will begin at 6:15 PM at Roundabout's Studio 54. Underwriter and above ticket buyers are also invited to a private VIP Cocktail Party before the show begins. Immediately following the performance, the dinner and birthday tribute will commence at the Sheraton New York.

For more information, contact Steve Schaeffer, director of special events, at (212) 719-9393 ext. 312 or steves@roundabouttheatre.org.

Visit www.roundabouttheatre.org.