Lansbury had been originally announced to participate in the all-star concert, but initially withdrew due to scheduling. Along with Zeta-Jones, Lansbury will now perform with a host of stage veterans who originated roles in a Sondheim musical, or starred in the revivals.
A five-time Tony Award-winning actress, Lansbury originated roles in Sondheim's Anyone Can Whistle and Sweeney Todd. She earned a Tony for her portrayal of Mrs. Lovett in Sweeney Todd and was also Tony-honored for her work as Rose in the first Broadway revival of Gypsy. She currently stars as Madame Armfeldt in Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler's Night Music.
Zeta-Jones is making her Broadway debut as steely actress Desirée Armfeldt opposite Lansbury. She earned an Academy Award for her performance as Velma Kelly in the film of Kander and Ebb's "Chicago."
The concert will also feature Nathan Lane (A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, The Frogs), Len Cariou (Sweeney Todd, A Little Night Music), Donna Murphy (Passion, Encores! Follies), Michael Cerveris (Assassins, Sweeney Todd, Road Show), Raúl Esparza (Company), Joanna Gleason (Into the Woods), Bernadette Peters (Sunday in the Park with George, Into the Woods, Gypsy), Tom Aldredge (Into the Woods, Passion), Alexander Hanson (A Little Night Music), Michelle Pawk (Merrily We Roll Along, Bounce), Victor Garber (Sweeney Todd, Assassins), Debra Monk (Company, Assassins), Chip Zien (Into the Woods), Alexander Gemignani (Sweeney Todd, Sunday in the Park with George, Road Show), Mark Jacoby (Sweeney Todd), Claybourne Elder (Road Show), Jim Walton (Merrily We Roll Along, Sweeney Todd), B.D. Wong (Pacific Overtures) and Sutton Foster (Encores! Anyone Can Whistle). Previously announced Tony Award winners Patti LuPone (Gypsy, Sweeney Todd) and Barbara Cook (Follies in Concert, Sondheim on Sondheim) have withdrawn from the concert.
Encores! musical director Rob Berman will conduct a full orchestra for the evening that will celebrate musicals for which Sondheim penned both music and lyrics. Proceeds will benefit Young Playwrights Inc., which was founded by Sondheim in 1981, and New York City Center's educational and artistic programming.
"I am so delighted to be invited to play some part in the celebrations for Stephen Sondheim," John Doyle said in a statement. "City Center is taking a look back, in concert, at moments from all the shows for which Steve wrote both the words and the music. Highlights will be sung by some of Broadway's most shining stars — all of whom either originated or revived major roles in these shows. We can never celebrate Steve enough. He has done more than any other artist to influence the development of musical theatre. This is simply City Center's way of saying, 'Thank You.'"
Stephen Sondheim, who began his Broadway career as a lyricist for West Side Storyand Gypsy, made his debut as a composer/lyricist in 1962 with A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. Along with collaborators including Leonard Bernstein, Arthur Laurents, James Goldman, George Furth, James Lapine, John Weidman and Harold Prince, Sondheim revolutionized the face of musical theatre with Company, Follies, A Little Night Music, Sweeney Todd, Pacific Overtures, Anyone Can Whistle, Merrily We Roll Along, Sunday in the Park with George, Assassins, Into the Woodsand Passion. His latest musical, Road Show, debuted at the Public Theater in 2009.
The gala will begin with cocktails at 6 PM, followed by the 7 PM performance. A post-show dinner will follow at the Plaza Hotel.
For sponsorship packages, ranging $500-$50,000, phone (212) 763-1205.
Performance-only tickets are priced $25, $60, $85 and $250, and are available at the New York City Center box office (W. 55th Street between Sixth and Seventh Avenues), through CityTix at (212) 581-1212, or online at NYCityCenter.
The Roundabout Theatre Company will present a new revue exploring his craft, Sondheim on Sondheim, beginning March 19. Sondheim will celebrate his 80th birthday March 22.