HomeBad Ass AsiansAsian American Broadway stars react to death of Sondheim

Asian American Broadway stars react to death of Sondheim

By Louis Chan, AsAmNews National Correspondent

Tony-award-winning and nominated Asian Americans joined the world Saturday in mourning the death of Broadway great Stephen Sondheim.

They remembered him as a “generous mentor,” and a “legacy that will never die.”

Sondheim is best known for his musicals West Side Story and Sweeney Todd. West Side Story went on to become an Oscar-winning hit movie that has been updated by director Stephen Spielberg and will be premiering in December.

“We shall sing your songs forever,” tweeted actress Lea Salonga whose performance as Kim in Miss Saigon in 1991 won her a Tony for best actress, making her the first Asian woman ever to win a Tony.


Playwright David Henry Hwang whose play M.Butterfly made him the first Asian American writer ever to win a Tony for best play in 1988 called Sondheim the “greatest dramatist of our time.”

#StephenSondheim was also one of our most generous mentors, which included his founding of the Young Playwrights Festival (1981-2015),” he continued.

Sondheim died Friday at the age of 91 at his home in Roxbury, Connecticut.

“I love the theatre as much as music, and the whole idea of getting across to an audience and making them laugh, making them cry – just making them feel – is paramount to me,” Sondheim said to National Public Radio, in 2013, according to Al Jazeera.

He won eight Tony Awards and eight Grammy Awards.

Sondheim married his husband Jeffrey Romley who survived him in 2017.

“The stage tonight feels like an arena,” tweeted actress Eva Noblezada. “Stephen gifted the world with a legacy that will never die.”

Noblezada has received two Tony nominations. Her role as Kim in the revival of Miss Saigon earned her her first nomination in 2017. Two years later she earned her second as Eurydice in Hadestown.

Tony Leung appeared most recently in Aladdin on Broadway in the titular role from 2017 – 2019. He expressed heartfelt appreciation for Sondheim.

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