This movie is a recorded performance in concert. It all begins when Benjamin Barker( George Hearn), a mysterious,quiet,and subtle barber, returns to his hometown in London after escaping ...
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This movie is a recorded performance in concert. It all begins when Benjamin Barker( George Hearn), a mysterious,quiet,and subtle barber, returns to his hometown in London after escaping from a prison in Australia with help from a young sailor named Anthony. Now Sweeney Todd, he returns to his home where he and his wife Lucie and daughter Johanna used to live. When he arrives he meets Mrs. Nellie Lovett(Patti Lupone), a lonely woman who owns a down and out pie shop, and discovers that his wife has poisoned herself and the judge that unfairly punished him is responsible and the judge also has his daughter. So then Sweeney plots his revenge on the judge and his accomplice the Beadle and with help from Mrs. Lovett he re-opens his barber shop and vows to give the judge the closest shave he will ever know and give Mrs. Lovett a tasty new ingredient for her homemade meat pies. Written by
The original Broadway production starring Angela Lansbury and Len Cariou opened at the Uris Theater on February 6, 1979, ran for 557 performances and won the 1979 Tony Awards for the Best Musical, Book and Score. See more »
Mr. Todd. Strange, sir. It seems your face is known to me.
That's a laugh, him being me uncle's cousin and arrived from Birmingham only yesterday.
And yet already, I have heard Beadle Bamford spoken of with great respect.
Well, sir, I do try for my neighbors. Fleet Street, eh? Above your pie shop, ma'am?
That's it, sir.
Then, Mr. Todd, you shall surely be seing me before the week is out.
You will be welcome, Beadle Bamford, and I guarantee to give you, without a penny's charge, the...
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Excellent production of one of Sondheim's masterpieces
You either love Sondheim or you hate him (although few of the arguments for hating him hold water, In My Anything But Humble Opinion). Certainly his darkest work and arguably his best, Sweeney Todd is an exploration of the depths to which a man will sink to wreak vengeance on those who have wronged him.
With all respect to Len Cariou, who created the role in the original production, George Hearn is and always will be the definitive Sweeney Todd. There are things he does that I don't even think he's consciously aware of anymore, but are absolutely chilling to watch. Patti Lupone has the thankless task of trying to follow the immortal Angela Lansbury as Mrs. Lovett; she carries it off by making almost completely different dramatic choices and playing her strengths (like Meryl Streep, she's got one of the best deadpans in the business, and lines that Lansbury played for laughs, Lupone plays straight--we still laugh, but for different reasons). The rest of the cast acquit themselves beautifully, particularly Davis Gaines as the lovestruck Anthony Hope and Victoria Clark as the crazed Beggar Woman.
But the real surprise of the cast is Neil Patrick Harris as the innocent, waiflike Tobias Ragg. Having played the part myself, I have a bad habit of holding other actors to impossible standards--and Harris not only meets them, he flattens them. Instead of watching him and thinking, "I could have done that," I found myself watching him and saying "I wish I'd done that"--something I've never been able to say in any other production.
The score is as close to grand opera as Sondheim gets, and the gems--"A Little Priest", "Not While I'm Around", "Johanna", "Wait," and the act II quartet sparkle as brightly as I've ever heard them.
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