Fans mourning the loss of Stephen Sondheim paid their respects to the legendary composer and lyricist outside his namesake theater in Midtown on Friday night.
Broadway lovers erected a makeshift memorial outside the Stephen Sondheim Theater on West 43rd Street, leaving bouquets of flowers, notes and a black-and-white photo of the smiling icon, who died at the age of 91 on Friday year.
“He was so nice, so nice,” said home manager Molly McQuilkin, 36, who has met Sondheim a few times.
“He definitely changed what musicals were and the stories they can tell,” she told the Post. “For me, this is a segment of musical theater on which the book will end.”
Formerly known as Henry Miller’s Theatre, the theater was renamed in Sondheim’s honor in 2010 to honor his 80th birthday.
“It’s a great loss for all of us,” said onlooker William Marvin as he walked inside.
Andy Kosovych, a New Jersey resident who waits in line to see “Mrs. Doubtfire”, who plays in the theater, said it was “a sad day”.
“It’s weird that we were going to the theater the day he died,” the 72-year-old noted.
Theater aficionado and Manhattan resident Brian Cummings, who was taking photos of the memorial, called Sondheim a “titan” of the industry.
“He’s up there with the big guys, and it makes me smile to see that,” Cummings said.
“He kind of created a whole genre if you will,” the theater enthusiast added. “He’s the Elvis Presley of the American scene. It’s the Converse of rock ‘n’ roll music.
Actor Adam Chanler-Berat, who plays John Hinckley Jr. in Sondheim’s new show “Assassins,” said he was both “proud and sad” after Friday night’s performance at the Classic Stage Company of Broadway at East 13th Street.
“He’s the reason so many of us do this,” Chanler-Berat told the Post.
“We’re just overwhelmed right now and it’s a real honor to be able to be part of this amazing production and be part of the legacy of his amazing work,” the actor added.
“I feel really proud and sad. He’s a titan and it just happened, so it’s hard to take it all in.
Massachusetts resident Carissa Barry-Moilanen, who saw “Assassins” on her 21st birthday, said it was “devastating” to learn of Sondheim’s death.
“He was the giant of the theatre. He was like Shakespeare,” she said.
The legendary “West Side Story” lyricist’s death was announced by his attorney and friend, F. Richard Pappas, who told The New York Times it was sudden, but did not provide details. Pappas said Sondheim celebrated Thanksgiving the night before.
Considered the greatest composer and lyricist of the 20th century, Sondheim is best known for his iconic musicals such as “Company”, “Gypsy”, “Sweeney Todd” and “Into the Woods”.
Sondheim has won seven Tony Awards, more than any other composer, during his long career, as well as an Academy Award, eight Grammy Awards, a Pulitzer Prize and a Laurence Olivier Award.
In addition to “Assassins,” another revived Sondheim show, “Company,” is playing at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theater on Broadway on West 45th Street.