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Sondheim Theatre delays lunchtime opening event following Stephen Sondheim fall

Sondheim has been left 'temporarily incapacitated' following the fall at his home in Connecticut but is said to be 'still here in feisty frustrated spirit'

Stephen Sondheim and Cameron Mackintosh at the Olivier Awards
© Dan Wooller for WhatsOnStage

The official lunchtime opening event for the Sondheim Theatre has been delayed after Stephen Sondheim suffered a fall that has left him 'temporarily incapacitated' at his home in Connecticut, it has been announced by producer Cameron Mackintosh.

Sondheim was due to attend an event on the 14 January 2020 at the newly refurbished and modernised space on Shaftesbury Avenue, the current home of Les Misérables. The event has now been delayed, and is expected to go ahead later this year. Les Misérables continues to run with a production opening night gala next week still occurring as planned.

In a statement Mackintosh said: "I am very sorry to have to let you know that we have just been informed that Stephen Sondheim suffered a fall a few days ago at his Connecticut home where he tore a ligament which has seriously compromised his immediate mobility. As a consequence, we have had to take the disappointing decision to postpone the official opening of the Sondheim Theatre (where Les Misérables is playing) on the 14th of January 2020 which Stephen was coming over for from New York.

"It is likely to be a few months before Stephen will be fit enough to travel to England again to celebrate the new theatre bearing his name. Though temporarily incapacitated, Steve is very much still here in feisty frustrated spirit with West Side Story and Company opening imminently on Broadway and the Sondheim Theatre and Sunday in the Park With George opening in London."

Sondheim himself added: "I would do nearly anything for Cameron. But to stand side by side with him on a West End stage holding onto a stroller is not something I will let him enjoy teasing me about. From the early reports of friends and the mouth-watering photos I have seen, Les Miz will have to run another 35 years for him to break even on what he has spent creating such an extravagantly beautiful new theatre out of an old building.

"As I recover from my tumble, I'm impatient to throw away my cane, grab my hat and head across the Pond as soon as I can to see on which cherub Cameron has tattooed my initials. I am, to put it mildly, chuffed to have my name on a theatre in the West End I have loved visiting ever since my first trip to London almost seventy years ago. London has always been a second home to me personally and professionally. On this occasion, Cameron has even offered to lend me a flock of his sheep so I can exercise my right as a Freeman of the City to bring them across London Bridge without charge."

The Sondheim Theatre, formerly the Queen's, closed in the summer of 2019 for refurbishment, opening again for performances in December last year. Sondheim is expected to be fully recovered in time for his 90th birthday on 22 March 2020.