Sweeney Todd

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street is a musical thriller written by Stephen Sondheim in 1979 which approached opera in the use of its music throughout the script. Unlike other musicals during this period in theatrical history, Sweeney Todd offered ironic views of human behavior and social values.  It avoided the happy endings of earlier musicals and was organized around a concept and a story.  Sweeney Todd has been classified as a revenge/thriller musical, and many critics and students of theatre believe that a majority of the enduring success of this play can be linked to the primal look at emotions and obsessive personality within this script. Not to mention that the music is beautifully complex. In its original production, the show won eight (8) Tony Awards and eleven (11) Drama Desk Awards.

In March of this year, the New York Philharmonic performed the music of Sondheim's Sweeney Todd as part of their 2014 Season, and the special program aired on PBS.  The program was billed as a concert experience featuring Bryn Terfel and Emma Thompson.  A few weeks ago, I shared the opening number with you via Exquisitely Geek's Facebook page; just in case you missed it, here it is:

SPOILERS: This is one of the most artistic transitions into a true performance that I've seen in a long time.  After watching the intro an embarrassing number of times, I thought about going to PBS to purchase the performance.  Imagine my surprise when the entire performance was available on YouTube!  In watching the full performance,  the cast list includes Audra McDonald, Christian Borle, and Erin Mackey. 

If you've never seen Sweeney Todd or if you just want to see it again, here's the full version for your viewing pleasure!

I must admit that this show is what swayed me one way or the other when I was looking at colleges.  If it wasn't for scholarships and funding, I can tell you that I would have gone to a college solely based upon their performance of Sweeney Todd.  This is one of those shows that I love regardless of the caliber of theatre I step into to watch it.  I hope you enjoy this artistic interpretation of Sondheim on your Monday!

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