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Stephen Sondheim
Photo by Michael le Poer Trench

Judi Dench, Adrian Lester, Michael Ball and more celebrate Stephen Sondheim with a special concert

‘Old Friends’ is being staged at the actual Sondheim Theatre by Cameron Mackintosh

Andrzej Lukowski
Written by
Andrzej Lukowski
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Stephen Sondheim never actually got to visit the West End’s Sondheim Theatre after its name was changed from the Queen’s Theatre in 2019. Nor has it previously played host to any of its late namesake’s musicals: despite the name change, the theatre remains the base for the indestructible ‘Les Misérables’. Nonetheless, it provided a focal point for fans and mourners when the West End’s lights were dimmed in memory of the music-theatre titan last year. And now it’s the rightful home to a very special concert in the great man’s honour that’ll take place later this year.

‘Old Friends’ features British performers who’ve starred in Sondheim’s works over the decades, and features quite a guestlist, with Michael Ball, Petula Clark, Judi Dench, Daniel Evans, Bonnie Langford, Adrian Lester, Damian Lewis, Julia Mckenzie, Bernadette Peters, Elaine Paige, Clive Rowe, Imelda Staunton and Hannah Waddingham all featuring.

And yes, they’ll all be singing: Sondheim was very much the actor’s songwriter, and the likes of Dench and Lester all performed in his musicals (in their cases ‘A Little Night Music’ and ‘Sweeney Todd’) back in the day, and will be doing rare reprisals this May. The show will be directed by Sondheim’s regular interpreter Maria Friedman, along with the great choreographer Matthew Bourne. More names will be added, but book this quick if you want a chance of seeing this once-in-a-lifetime celebration of one of the greatest artists who ever lived.

‘Old Friends’ is at the Sondheim Theatre, May 3. Buy tickets here.

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