The Society celebrated the 85th year of Stephen Sondheim in style with Hey, Old Friends! at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane. With the help of a 30-piece orchestra, a 12-piece ensemble formed from the best of the West End, a chorus of 37 from Arts Ed, and 41 principals, we said Happy Birthday, Mr Sondheim, and at the same time raised funds for our partner charity, The Silver Line.
The Stephen Sondheim Society would like to say a huge thank you to everyone involved in our 85th Birthday Tribute to Stephen Sondheim… and to the hundreds of supporters who backed our Gala concert on Kickstarter. The event was an overwhelming success, so thank you, too, to Richard Douglas Productions for making it all happen.
The idea of the concert was to bring together some “old friends” and some new ones and share in the love that we all have for the words and music of Steve Sondheim. Nicholas Parson CBE LL.D acted as host, while our patrons Julia McKenzie and Millicent Martin tied the various acts together, with Milly also delivering her own solo performance. The other principals were: Rosemary Ashe, Marianne Benedict, Tracie Bennett, Kim Criswell, Lorna Dallas, Anton du Beke, Daniel Evans, Dominic Anthony Ferris, Tim Flavin, Anna Francolini, Tiffany Graves, Simon Green, Haydn Gwynne, Anita Harris, Kit & McConnel, Marilyn Hill Smith, Bonnie Langford, Rula Lenska, Jason Manford, James McConville, Alistair McGowan, Robert Meadmore, Martin Milnes, Karl Moffatt, Charlotte Page, Laura Pitt-Pulford, Sarah Redmond, Joseph Shovelton, Sally Ann Triplett, Michael Xavier and finally the winners of The Stephen Sondheim Society Student Performer of the Year competition Carl Au, Turlough Convery, Erin Doherty, Adrian Grove, Michael Peavoy and Corrine Priest. Thank you all!
Look our for further updates on the event but for now, here’s a reminder of the evening courtesy of Darren Bell Photography.
Responses from members, friends and patrons…
What can I say but congratulations for being a major part of Putting it Together. There is obviously Bill and many others but without the fund raising at the beginning it would never have happened. The opening number was amazing, so sad to hear it only once! I hope you are both very pleased and you should also be proud. Paul Easton
I just wanted to thank you both for offering me the tickets to last night – and to congratulate you on the show itself. It was a great evening that did the Society proud, and I really appreciate being able to attend. Thanks and well done!
Katie Giles What a triumph. How proud – and relieved – you must be as you waken to a new day with the Gala as history. I do not belittle all the chores that must still face you, but the evening really WAS a triumph! The only thing that marred the event was what was missing. Stephen Sondheim’s presence, although entirely understandable, and his message was a typically gracious one. And just one word about the Society, its contribution to the evening and your work in particular. Nicole and I were on the point of invading the stage, lunging for a microphone and saying thank you publicly. Instead, you have this. Please convey our thanks to all from the Society who worked towards the evening’s success. Bravissima! Nicky and Nicole
Huge congratulations and thanks to all involved in such a wonderful evening – you must be so proud and delighted! Tony & Simone
Thank you so much for such a brilliant evening. Alan and I are still on cloud nine. The whole evening was just amazing. You did the society and the birthday boy proud. I hope you are not too exhausted after all that organising and ruining around. Thanks again. Johnny & Alan
What an amazing night. Well done for organising it – I hope you had a chance to actually watch at least some of the show. Fiona Craig
The gala was wonderful!! Thank you so much for all your work and enthusiasm. The mugs are so lovely and so unique. Cari
Now that the dust has settled and things are getting back to normal, we just wanted to say Thank You to you and all the team for such a brilliant concert. We thoroughly enjoyed it and it was great to see Millicent Martin and Anita Harris etc etc. A great evening. Thanks again to everyone. Denis & Stuart
Just wanted to say a huge thank you for all the hard work you and everyone else put in, to make Sunday night such a success. It was an absolutely fabulous evening. Reece & Andy
It all went brilliantly. You must have done an amazing amount of work and both the members of SSS and The Silver Line owe you a big debt of gratitude. Many thanks and best regards. Elisabeth & Jeff
I must just thank you and all involved for a magnificent evening with an amazing cast to celebrate Stephens 85th. Paul Cotton
A fabulous Gala evening! I’d seen Michael Xavier just a couple of days before in Shakespeare’s War of the Roses. What a talent he is! Mary Pyke
Thank you for a wonderful evening on Sunday. Such a clever selection of rarely performed bits & old favourites – plenty of Follies too, which is always a boon! Thank you for all of you hard work. – I hope that you are getting some rest now. Neil Macey
You did a fab job on the Gala. We really enjoyed it. It was worth it just to hear Daniel and Anna do “Move On” and then “Sunday”. Rather a lot of snuffling from my end of the row! With best of wishes. Tricia Sharpe
Thank you to you and everyone involved in arranging the birthday tribute show on Sunday night. Teresa and I certainly enjoyed the evening and all the wonderful performances! A great night of Sondheim and hopefully good for The Silver Line too. Thank you once again – have a little relax now. John Purser
Well, what a fab Gala. Good to see lots of our favourite people singing our favourite songs. And well done to you for all your work to get it sorted, lovely programme. See you at the next event. Susan Huxley
Just a short note of congratulation for your massive part in “putting it together” for Sunday evening. It was a brilliant show and though it seems invidious to pick out highlights, the 33 Sondheim numbers in five minutes and Bonnie Langford’s and Anton du Beke’s “Can That Boy Foxtrot!” do stand out. It must have been a complete nightmare to arrange all the logistics and it seemed to go without a hitch (although I expect that there were things you were aware of that the audience didn’t see) so well done!!!! Jim and Elaine
Well done to everyone involved with the show. My wife and thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it and congratulations to Lynne and all the team at the Sondheim Society for making it happen. I am so glad that I did help Kickstart the show and for anyone who missed it, you missed an absolute treat. There were moments I had tears in my eyes from the outstanding singing. Gavin Williams
We would like to thank you for all that you did to make “Hey Old Friends” such an amazing success. We had an incredible star-studded evening and all the professionals performed as though this show would run for years – it was so magnificent, including the orchestra, the lighting, and from where we sat in the Grand Circle the sound was superb – for a change. What is the date for the next one? !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Again our congratulations and many thanks. Ray & Hazel Merrin
Just a quick word to say how much I enjoyed the Gala last week. I’m going through a difficult time at the moment and it did me the world of good. The chap behind me said, as we were going , that he was glad he had sat behind me as I had so obviously enjoyed the whole show. So, well done to all of you involved. Dora Basham
What a really splendid evening you organised… It was beautifully planned and obviously a HUGE amount of effort from all of you… I was so pleased to have been invited… THANK YOU very much. Best Wishes to all. Mary Hammond
What a fantastic do you gave us at Drury Lane! Lynne, you deserve a rest and perhaps a whole “benefit” season (like a loyal footballer). With thanks as always. Paddy & Tony
Belatedly (sorry) thank you for a super evening. I hope you were pleased. Some great moments for sure. Very best wishes. Sean Gray
It may have been a bit fraught in the foyer but the show was just fantastic so congratulations on a brilliant night. Liz Sell
It was a memorable evening and thanks to all involved. Gay Sullivan