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Sondheim gala to take place in the West End in May

Sondheim at the Sondheim for the first time!

A coterie of stars alongside Stephen Sondheim
© Dan Wooller

A gala to celebrate the life and work of Stephen Sondheim will take place at the Sondheim Theatre at the beginning of May, it has been announced.

Set to feature a cast of around 30 major West End and Broadway stars, the event will raise funds for the Stephen Sondheim Foundation (established under the writer's will), which assists emerging writers, and musicians.

Appearing on the night will be (deep breath) – Michael Ball, Petula Clark, Judi Dench, Daniel Evans, Bonnie Langford, Adrian Lester, Damien Lewis, Julia McKenzie, Elaine Paige, Bernadette Peters, Clive Rowe, Imelda Staunton, Hannah Waddingham and more names set to be revealed.

Peters is reportedly set to perform "Losing My Mind" from Follies with Dench delivering a rendition of "Send In The Clowns" from A Little Night Music.

Matthew Bourne and Maria Friedman will stage the one-night-only show, which has choreography by Stephen Mear, musical supervision by Stephen Brooker, arrangements by Stephen Metcalfe, set design by Matt Kinley, lighting by Warren Letton and sound by Mick Potter with the evening produced by Cameron Mackintosh.

A 26-piece orchestra will be conducted by Alfonso Casado Trigo for the event, which will run at the Shaftesbury Avenue theatre on Tuesday 3 May 2022. Tickets go on sale on 15 March.

Mackintosh said: "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 at 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."

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