The birthday of one of the most famous names in theatre is being marked by a gala this year in London.

The 85th birthday of Stephen Sondheim, the playwright behind such hits as Sweeny Todd and Into the Woods, is being celebrated with the Hey, Old Friends gala at the Theatre Royal on Drury Lane in October.

Tickets are being sold for the event through Kickstarter, with the organisers trying to raise £110,000 by July 5.

Craig Glenday, Chairman of The Stephen Sondheim Society said: “He will hate me saying this but Sondheim is probably the single most important living figure in musical theatre, and he’s done so much to influence the current generation of musical theatre writers.

“Steve turned 85 this year, and the trustees of The Stephen Sondheim Society reckoned that there simply wasn’t enough being done in the UK to mark this.

“We all remember the fuss that was made for his 80th, and we wanted to see what we could do to honour this latest milestone.”

People wishing to buy tickets for the gala through the fund raising website could also get access to rehearsals, an after show party and other Sondheim-themed rewards.

High profile performers who are supporting the event include, Imelda StautonJamie Parker, Jenna Russell and Nicholas Parsons.

Imelda Stauton said: “This year, Stephen Sondheim turned 85, and some of his old friends here in London, and I’m sure a few young ones,­ feel that we would like to do something to celebrate.

“But we need your help to make it happen.”

The event is also supporting the elderly support charity Silver Line, which was created by Dame Esther Rantzen.

Hey, Old Friends is taking place on October 25 in the Theatre Royal in Drury lane, London. For more information, and to buy tickets, click here.