At the 2011 Olivier Award ceremony this year Stephen Sondheim was presented with a lifetime achievement award. Part of the tribute to the 80 year-old composer was from his 85 year-old star Angela Lansbury.
Lansbury’s first ever Broadway musical was in 1964 with Stephen Sondheim’s short-lived Anyone Can Whistle. In May 1973, the first revival of Gypsy opened in London’s West End and played for 300 performances. Lansbury played Rose, the infamous stage mother. In September 1974, the same production opened at Broadway’s Winter Garden Theatre. Lansbury received her third Tony for her performance in Gypsy.
Most famously Lansbury created the role of Mrs Lovett in the original 1979 production of Stephen Sondheim’s musical thriller Sweeney Todd. She later played the role in the first US tour (1982) which was recorded for television while playing in Los Angeles. She won another Tony Award for her portrayal of Mrs Lovett.
For her last Sondheim outing Lansbury starred as Madame Armfeldt with Catherine Zeta Jones in the first Broadway revival of A Little Night Music, which opened in December 2009. She left the show in June 2010. For her performance as Madame Armfeldt, Lansbury received a 2010 Tony Award nomination for Best Featured Actress in A Musical.
Sondheim’s been good for Miss Lansbury, but Lansbury has certainly been good to Mr Sondheim!