Stephen Sondheim's Old Friends A Celebration

Stephen Sondheim’s Old Friends tribute concert starring Bernadette Peters, Judi Dench, Elaine Paige – what we know so far

27 April 2022 update: First look video of rehearsals for the Old Friends tribute concert to Stephen Sondheim at the Sondheim Theatre (see below). The concert will also see the following stars perform on the night: Shan Ako, Christine Allado, Holly-Anne Hull, Ashley Campbell, Anna-Jane Casey, Desmonda Cathabel, Josefina Gabrielle, Louis Gaunt, Amy Griffiths, Bradley Jaden, Ian McLarnon, Jeremy Secomb, Jordan Shaw and Matthew White.

30 March update: More stars have now been added to the concert, including Janie Dee, Rosalie Craig and Rob Brydon. Also a simulcast of the live show to be held at the Prince Edward Theatre on 3 May.

A major concert celebrating the life of US musicals composer and lyricist Stephen Sondheim is coming to the Sondheim Theatre in London on 3 May 2022.

Produced by friend and collaborator, West End impresario Cameron Mackintosh, the Gala celebration is going to be a star-filled night, with British and American stars coming together to celebrate the life and work of one of the 20th century’s most important theatre practitioners.

Over 30 stars will perform at the Gala, many of whom have achieved some of their greatest stage musical success with Sondheim’s work, including Bernadette Peters, Adrian Lester, Julian Mackenzie, Imelda Staunton, Hannah Waddingham, Judi Dench, and Daniel Evans.

Also appearing will be Elaine Paige, Michael Ball, Petula Clark (Mary Poppins), Bonnie Langford (Anything Goes), Damian Lewis, and Clive Rowe.

New stars recently added include Janie Dee, Rosalie Craig, Rob Brydon, Rob Houchen, Julian Ovenden (South Pacific), Anna-Jane Casey (Cabaret), and Gary Wilmot.

Rehearsals of the Old Friends all-star Stephen Sondheim Concert in London.

It is impossible to overstate the influence and contribution Stephen Sondheim has made to Musical Theatre, both personally and professionally. He was as great a teacher as he was an incomparable writer and the Little Things that he did for so many people forged legions of friendships throughout his long life. I was lucky enough to be Steve’s friend and occasional collaborator for over 45 years since I first produced Side By Side By Sondheim and the Wyndham’s Theatre in 1976. It was a friendship full of laughter, gossip and glorious insightful camaraderie.

Steve was so prolific and profound as a writer that it’s impossible to put together a definitive list of his greatest songs, as everyone has their own favourites, so our choice of songs will purely reflect the joy and love I have for one of the greatest Broadway Babies of all time.” said Cameron Mackintosh.

Proceeds from the gala will benefit the Sondheim Foundation, supporting young playwrights, composers and lyricists.

Choreography will be by Stephen Mear, with staging by Matthew Bourne and Maria Friedman, and a 26 piece orchestra conducted by Alfonso Casado. Musical supervision is by Stephen Brooker, musical arrangements are by Stephen Metcalfe, set design by Matt Kinley, projection designs by George Reeve, lighting by Warren Letton and sound by Mick Potter.

Audiences can expect songs from some of Sondheim’s greatest musicals including Gypsy, West Side Side, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Company, Follies, A Little Night Music, Pacific Overtures, Sweeney Todd The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, Merrily We Roll Along,  Sunday in the Park With George, Into the Woods, Assassins, and Passion.

The live show will also be screened simultaneously at the Prince Edward Theatre in London, where Mary Poppins is currently playing.

Stephen Sondheim died in November 2022 at the age of 91, at his home in Roxbury, Connecticut, US.

Les Miserables is currently playing at the Sondheim Theatre in London.

Original article posted 3 March. Updated 18 March to include additional cast members.

Tickets: The actual live gala performance at the Sondheim there is SOLD OUT. But you can still get tickets to the live screening at the Prince Edward Theatre here.


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