American composer and lyricist, Stephen Sondheim, has had his phenomenal international success rewarded in London, England’s capital, with a prestigious Olivier Award, the highest accolade in British theatre, for his outstanding contribution to theatre.
Stephen Sondheim was born in New York in 1930. He was mentored by Hammerstein II, the composer of famous musicals such as “Show Boat” and “Carousel”. Sondheim went on to become well known for his gritty, unsentimental lyrics, which changed the expectations of audiences, previously raised on more saccharine sweet musicals.
British ex-pat, Landsbury, perhaps best known for starring on long-running TV series, “Murder She Wrote”, still shown regularly on British TV, was there to present the award to Stephen Sondheim in a true continent swap! Angela Landsbury (85) was born and raised in London but most of her acting career has been in the United States. She returned to present the prestigious award, the biggest in British theatre, to Sondheim.
Stephen Sondheim’s hits include “West Side Story”, “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum” and “A Little Night Music”. He received a standing ovation when he came up on stage at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, at the heart of the English equivalent of Broadway, to accept the Society of London Theatre’s Special Award. Sondheim, now aged 80, talked of the influence that British theatre had had. He was a true gentleman, paying tribute to Cameron Mackintosh, “best producer I’ve ever worked with”, as he accepted the award from him and Angela Landsbury.