Meryl Streep, Jake Gyllenhaal, and Christine Baranski were just some of the stars who toasted the legendary composer during the virtual benefit concert.

By Jessica Derschowitz
April 27, 2020 at 10:23 AM EDT
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An appropriately deep roster of A-list Broadway and Hollywood stars came together virtually on Sunday night to toast Stephen Sondheim’s 90th birthday with a benefit concert packed with performances and toasts (literally, in one case) to the iconic composer.

“Take Me to the World: A Sondheim 90th Birthday Celebration,” which livestreamed via Broadway.com and benefitted Artists Striving to End Poverty (ASTEP), started off with some technical difficulties (Broadway shows rarely lift their curtains at 8 p.m. on the dot, but this one started late and then paused again after host Raul Esparza’s opening remarks happened without sound), but once things began properly rolling along just after 9 p.m., viewers were treated to nearly two-and-a-half hours of musical tributes from the likes of Meryl Streep, Jake Gyllenhaal, Patti LuPone, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Neil Patrick Harris, Bernadette Peters, Mandy Patinkin, Audra McDonald, and many more.

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Gyllenhaal and Annaleigh Ashford reprised their recent Sunday in the Park With George roles for a split-screen duet of “Move On,” while Patinkin — who starred in the original 1984 Broadway production — did “Lesson #8” from the musical while standing in a field, a former George singing in an empty park on, yes, a Sunday.

Other highlights from the evening included pals Beanie Feldstein and Ben Platt singing “It Takes Two” from Into the Woods, a popular choice with the performers during Sunday’s show. Josh Groban, apparently unable to pick just one tune to sing, mixed Woods' “Children Will Listen” with Sweeney Todd’s “Not While I’m Around,” while Miranda sang “Giants in the Sky” and Harris enlisted his children to help with the portion of the opening number known as "The Witch's Rap." At the show’s end, before the final credits, Peters sang an a cappella version of “No One Is Alone” from her dining room.

There were interludes from Victor Garber, Nathan Lane, and Steven Spielberg (director of the forthcoming West Side Story remake that, if the pandemic doesn’t push the release date, will arrive this December), and other songs from Donna Murphy, LuPone, Laura Benanti, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Katrina Lenk, and Michael Cerveris. But the night’s biggest moment, if it’s fair to pick just one, has to be Christine Baranski, Streep, and McDonald teaming up for “The Ladies Who Lunch” from Company, dressed in white bathrobes and mixing drinks as they sang — earnest, theatrical, and having the best time, channeling the energy of the special as a whole and the collective mood of everyone watching from home. Let's all drink to them, indeed.

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As of Monday morning, the show is still available online, so you can catch it (or revisit your favorite moments) above. Check out the show’s full rundown below:

​Stephen Schwartz – “Prologue” (Follies)

Broadway Musicians – “Overture”

Sutton Foster with Emily Griffin – “ There Won’t Be Trumpets” (Anyone Can Whistle)

Neil Patrick Harris with Gideon Burtka-Harris and Harper Burtka-Harris – “The Witch’s Rap” (Into The Woods)

Kelli O’Hara – “What More Do I Need” (Saturday Night)

Judy Kuhn – “What Can You Lose” (Dick Tracy)

Victor Garber – Tribute to Sondheim

Katrina Lenk – “Johanna” (Sweeney Todd)

Aaron Tveit – “Marry Me A Little” (Company)

Iain Armitage – Plea to donate to ASTEP

Beanie Feldstein & Ben Platt – “It Takes Two” (Into The Woods)

Brandon Uranowitz – “With So Little to Be Sure Of” (Anyone Can Whistle)

Mary-Mitchell Campbell & Priyanka Patil – Plea to donate to ASTEP

Melissa Errico – “Children and Art” (Sunday in the Park with George)

Randy Rainbow – “By The Sea” (Sweeney Todd)

Elizabeth Stanley – “The Miller’s Son” (A Little Night Music)

Mandy Patinkin – “Lesson #8” (Sunday in the Park with George)

Steven Spielberg – Tribute to Sondheim

Maria Friedman – “Broadway Baby” (Follies)

Lin-Manuel Miranda – “Giants in the Sky” (Into The Woods)

Lonny Price – Tribute to Sondheim

Lea Salonga – “Loving You” (Passion)

Laura Benanti – “I Remember” (Evening Primrose)

Raúl Esparza – Plea to donate to ASTEP

Chip Zien – “No More” (Into The Woods)

Joanna Gleason – Tribute to Sondheim

Josh Groban – “Children Will Listen” (Into the Woods) / “Not While I’m Around” (Sweeney Todd)

John Weidman – Tribute to Sondheim

Brian Stokes Mitchell – “The Flag Song“ (Assassins)

Michael Cerveris – “Finishing The Hat” (Sunday in the Park with George)

Jason Alexander – Tribute to Sondheim

Linda Lavin – “The Boy From…” (The Mad Show)

Elizabeth Stanley – Plea to donate to ASTEP

Alexander Gemignani – “Buddy’s Blues” (Follies)

Ann Harada, Austin Ku, Kelvin Moon Loh, and Thom Sesma – “Someone in a Tree” (Pacific Overtures)

Nathan Lane – Tribute to Sondheim

Lin-Manuel Miranda – Plea to donate to ASTEP

Raúl Esparza – “Take Me To The World” (Evening Primrose)

Donna Murphy – “Send in the Clowns” (A Little Night Music)

Christine Baranski, Audra McDonald, & Meryl Streep – “The Ladies Who Lunch” (Company)

Annaleigh Ashford & Jake Gyllenhaal – “Move On” (Sunday in the Park with George)

Patti LuPone – “Anyone Can Whistle” (Anyone Can Whistle)

Bernadette Peters – “No One is Alone” (Into The Woods)

Members of the Broadway Community – “I’m Still Here” (Follies)

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