Sondheim feted by Olivier Awards

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The Independent Culture

The songwriter Stephen Sondheim is to be honoured at this year's Laurence Olivier Awards.

The American composer and lyricist will accept the prestigious Special Award in person at the ceremony at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, later this month.

The night will end with a tribute to Sondheim, who wrote the lyrics for West Side Story, from performers including Adrian Lester. In a long career, Sondheim's other theatrical hits have included A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum, A Little Night Music and Sweeney Todd.

Previous winners of the Special Award include Sir Alec Guinness, Dame Judi Dench and Lord Olivier.

The show, hosted by Michael Ball and Imelda Staunton, will be broadcast live on BBC Radio 2. Love Never Dies, Andrew Lloyd Webber's sequel to Phantom Of The Opera, has the most nominations. The production, which opened to mixed reviews last year, is up for seven awards, including best new musical and best actress in a musical for Sierra Boggess.

Sherlock star Benedict Cumberbatch, Mad Men actress Elisabeth Moss and Elaine Paige will be among the names handing out awards on 13 March. There will also be a performance by Barry Manilow.