Stars pay tribute to Stephen Sondheim and other music legends at the Grammys In Memoriam
Rachel Zegler, Cynthia Erivo, Leslie Odom Jr., and Ben Platt paid tribute to some of music's great giants in the sky at the 64th Grammy Awards on Sunday night.
For the ceremony's annual In Memoriam segment, the quartet performed classic songs written by the late Stephen Sondheim as images of musicians we've recently lost flashed behind them.
Those honored included Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins, Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts, Meat Loaf and his collaborator Jim Steinman, Don Everly of the Everly Brothers, DMX, Biz Markie, Betty Davis, Lee Scratch Perry, Ronnie Spector, Vicente Fernández, the Monkees' Michael Nesmith, and more.
In a medley that featured some of Sondheim's most beloved numbers, Platt sang "Not a Day Goes By" and Erivo and Odom Jr. sang "Send in the Clowns," before all three joined Zegler for a rendition of "Somewhere" from West Side Story, the film remake of which Zegler starred in last year.
The legendary composer and lyricist died in November at the age of 91. Over the course of his staggering career, Sondheim racked up eight Tonys (the most of any composer), an Oscar, a Pulitzer, and eight Grammys, including for Song of the Year — an award rarely given to a work originally written for a theatrical production. Sondheim earned the coveted prize in 1976 for Judy Collins' version of "Send in the Clowns," a song that first appeared in the 1973 musical A Little Night Music. His cast albums for Company, A Little Night Music, Sweeney Todd, Sunday in the Park With George, Into the Woods, and Passion also won Grammys.
All four singers have performed Sondheim's work in the past. Erivo participated in the "Ladies Who Sing Sondheim" concert in 2016 and sang "The Miller's Son" at the 2019 Sondheim Award Gala. Odom Jr. recorded a medley with Renee Fleming that included Into the Woods' "Children Will Listen." Platt duetted with Beanie Feldstein on Into the Woods' "It Takes Two" for the 2020 quarantine livestream "Take Me to the World: A Sondheim 90th Birthday Celebration." And Zegler recently earned raves for her performance as Maria in Steven Spielberg's Oscar-nominated West Side Story, a modern adaptation that featured Sondheim's lyrics and Leonard Bernstein's score from the original 1957 Broadway musical.
Platt explained the significance of Sondheim's work in his life and career in a recent interview with Grammy.com. "When I was a kid, I felt a little bit different than a lot of my peers in the sense that my mind was sometimes elsewhere," he said. "In Sunday in the Park With George, which is my favorite musical of all time, [Sondheim writes] a lot about that mindset — what it's like to be an artist and what you have to sacrifice to really love what you do and be passionate about what you do. How sometimes relationships and other aspects of your life have to really take a backseat when you're devoting yourself to your art. Hearing that expressed in such a beautiful way was so moving to me."
Zegler recently shared on Twitter how grateful she was for the opportunity to pay respect to one of her idols. "When you walk through your entire life with someone's words in your heart, it is the greatest honor to be able to memorialize them," she wrote, "and on such a big scale, too. My goodness. I am so thankful."
The 64th Grammy Awards took place Sunday, April 3, at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas and were broadcast live on CBS.
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