Broadway Legend Stephen Sondheim Bequeathed a $75 Million Estate to Husband, Friends
Stephen Sondheim, the Broadway legend who died in November, has reportedly left his $75 million estate to his husband, friends and multiple charities, according to court papers.
The ‘West Side Story’ songwriter left the contents of his estate, including the rights to his music and literary works, personal property and finances, which will go into the Stephen J Sondheim Revocable Trust, according to his will.
Sondheim identified 20 people and charities as beneficiaries of his trust, including his husband Jeffrey Romley, his “Into the Woods” collaborator and director James Lapine, and fellow playwright Peter Jones, whom Sondheim dated when he turned 60. was, the New York Reports post.
Sondheim also listed the Smithsonian Institute, the Museum of New York City, the Library of Congress, the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, the Dramatists Guild Fund, and the Irish Repertory Theater Company as beneficiaries of his estate.
Pictured: Stephen Sondheim and husband Jeff Romley at the 2013 Library Lions Gala
Then-President Barack Obama, right, presents the Presidential Medal of Freedom to composer Stephen Sondheim at a ceremony in the East Room of the White House, in 2015
He also named a soon-to-be-established Stephen Sondheim Foundation as another beneficiary.
Other names listed in Sondheim’s include Rob Girard, his gardener for 14 years, and Sondheim’s close friend, home designer Charles Peter Wooster, who lived in a carriage house on Sondheim’s Connecticut property, according to the New York Times.
“It’s called a gift certificate, where everything goes to the trust,” the attorney’s source said.
“It’s a very classic estate planning technique.”
The lawyer and friend of the lyricist and composer, F Richard Pappas, had announced that Sondheim died at his home in Roxbury, Connecticut, the day after Thanksgiving, at age 91.
According to his will, Sondheim named Pappas and another man who had not been identified as the executors of his estate.
The source added: ‘The trust will certainly tell the full story, but we don’t have a copy of that.’
“We can safely assume that the names of the people mentioned in the petition for the estate are beneficiaries and will receive something, but we don’t know how many.”
Irish Repertory Theater co-founders Ciarán O’Reilly and Charlotte Moore called the bequest “a nice surprise.”
Photo by Stephen Sondheim Photo by Michael Ochs, circa 1970
Sondheim was the songwriter for West Side Story, a huge success on Broadway. Pictured above is the cast of the film adaptation
Pictured: Sondheim’s Roxbury, Connecticut estate, where he died in November at age 91
Sondheim “has never failed to honor us with his unwavering support…especially of our musicals and musical adaptations,” their statement continued.
“Having ‘himself’ in our audience, while absolutely terrifying, confirmed our right to venture into the mysterious worlds in which he was the undisputed master.”
According to the Post, a New York trust attorney not involved in Sondheim’s case said the composer managed his estate well, while someone close to him managed his musical legacy by inheriting his intellectual property.
“Stephen Sondheim has worked with the best lawyers in the country and has a very good real estate plan that will benefit his wife and his friends and charities who were important to him,” the legal source told the Post.
“It also keeps its intellectual property in order… there is someone who manages its musical legacy.”