“Let Me Entertain You!” Steven Spielberg, Meryl Streep, Victor Garber, Jason Alexander andwere just a few of the celebrities wishing a happy 90th birthday Sunday night in a star-studded tribute to Broadway’s most prolific composer.
The birthday celebration was supposed to take place March 22, Sondheim’s actual 90th birthday and the scheduled opening night of the latest revival of his show “Company,” but because of coronavirus pandemic, it was canceled.due to the
Former “Company” star Raul Esperaza decided Broadway should still celebrate the legendary talent behind musicals like “Into the Woods,” “Sunday in the Park With George,” and “Merrily We Roll Along.” So he teamed up with the nonprofit ASTEP (Artists Striving to End Poverty), and its founder and musical director Mary-Mitchell Campbell, to put together the once-in-a-lifetime concert livestreamed on Broadway.com.
The show, which started more than an hour late due to technical difficulties, made the wait worth it with powerhouse performances.
“Younger” star Sutton Foster, who is set to star in “The Music Man” this fall with Hugh Jackman, performed “There Won’t Be Trumpets” from “Anyone Can Whistle.” Her 3-year-old daughter Emily made a cameo appearance.
Neil Patrick Harris’s two kids also were part of his bit singing “The Witch’s Rap” from “Into The Woods.” Harris once starred in a 2011 one-night-only production of Sondheim’s “Company” alongside Stephen Colbert with the New York Philharmonic.
Director Steven Spielberg also joined in to honor Sondheim. The two have been working together on afilm remake slated for theaters this December, starring Ansel Elgort and newcomer 18-year-old Rachel Zegler. Sondheim wrote the lyrics to the 1957 musical, which was also being revived with a new production on Broadway this year.
“I celebrate you for another one of your other extraordinary gifts which is your photographic memory, which is constantly updated with your love for movies,” Spielberg said.
“Dear Evan Hansen” star Ben Platt and “Booksmart” star Beanie Feldstein recorded a duet of “It Takes Two” from “Into the Woods.” The two best friends are set to star in a movie version of “Merrily We Roll Along” that will film over the course of 20 years.
Jake Gyllenhaal and Annaleigh Ashford reprised their 2016 performance of “Move On” from the most recent revival of “Sunday in the Park With George.” The musical was slated to be remounted at the Savoy Theatre in London beginning June 5.
“I’ll drink to that!” Meryl Streep, Christine Baranski and Audra McDonald performed the most iconic performance of “Ladies Who Lunch” from “Company” in their bathrobes while holding various props filled with booze. The song, which was made famous by the late Elaine Stritch 50 years ago, was recorded with the three stars together over Zoom.
Patti LuPone, who was set to star in the revival of “Company,” moved from her basement to another part of her Connecticut home to perform “Anyone Can Whistle.”
Bernadette Peters performed the most powerful and timely song as the last soloist of the evening. From her New York City apartment, she sang a capella “No One Is Alone” from “Into the Woods.”
“Not only is Steve Sondheim a genius, he is a wonderful person and I love him,” the 3-time Tony Award winner and most well-known Sondheim interpreter said softly. “I thought this might be the perfect song right now,” she added.
The two and half hour concert ended with dozens of Broadway stars singing “I’m Still Here” from “Follies.” — a touching tribute to Sondheim and also a nod that Broadway, while it’s shut down for now, is still able to bring us music and joy.
Leigh Scheps is senior reporter for InsideEdition.com and Broadway contributor for CBS Interactive.