A gift for a gift to honor legend Stephen Sondheim

"Take Me to the World" is a birthday tribute to remember, as it honors a man who has given so much to Broadway. Actress Joanna Gleason said it best, “It's your birthday, but you are the gift.”

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Samantha Frankel

On Sunday April 26th, Broadway stars “gathered together” to celebrate Stephen Sondheim’s 90th birthday. As a way to honor him, dozens of performers filmed videos of themselves performing his work. Those videos were then edited together by Broadway.com, and would be shown to the world in a YouTube live.

  The quarantine has put a damper on everything. Broadway lights are dark, tours have stopped, and many performers are unsure of what is next for them. 

  However, celebrating birthdays is an exception to this damper. From birthday parades, to Zoom calls, people have been finding unique ways to celebrate the special days of people special to them. 

 On Sunday April 26th, Broadway stars “gathered together” to celebrate Stephen Sondheim’s 90th birthday. As a way to honor him, dozens of performers filmed videos of themselves performing his work. Those videos were then edited together by Broadway.com, and would be shown to the world in a YouTube live.

 For those who don’t know, Stephen Sondheim is a legendary Broadway composer. He wrote the music for musicals like West Side Story, Into the Woods, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, (which Eastern just performed in November), and many more. 

  As an avid Broadway lover, the caliber of Broadway stars set to perform these incredible works made watching this video irresistible. So at 7:55 Sunday night, I sat down on my couch, waiting for the Youtube live to begin. 

  Unfortunately, similar to the Broadway world, there were some technical issues, and the curtain had to be held. During this time though, Broadway fans were entertained with tweets from Lin Manuel Miranda, using references from Sondheim’s shows like “ONE MIDNIGHT GONE!” to joke about the wait. 

  Fortunately, the wait was more than worth it. As soon as the video began, we were wowed with a stunning rendition of Follies “Prologue”, played by Stephen Schwartz. 

 The stunning performances did not end there. Kelli O’Hara (accompanied by Dan Lipton) and Josh Groban had beautiful performances of their Sondheim songs of choice. Sutton Foster and Neil Patrick Harris involved their adorable children, making their performances even more delightful. 

  In between the various songs, more celebrities sent their birthday wishes for Stephen. They shared their experiences with the legend, often explaining how he made them a better performer or a better person.

  The astonishing performances continued on with Broadway legends like Lin Manuel Miranda, Patti LuPone, and an iconic trio with Christine Baranski, Meryl Streep, and Audra McDonald, where they drank to the “Ladies Who Lunch”.  

   To finish the star-studded list of performers, Bernadette Peters gave viewers a heartwarming and inspirational acapella version of “No One is Alone”. 

  When you thought the video was over, a grand finale with every Broadway Star you can imagine began, with the actors singing Follies  “I’m Still Here”.

  Take Me to the World is a birthday tribute to remember, as it honors a man who has given so much to Broadway. Actress Joanna Gleason said it best, “It’s your birthday, but you are the gift.”