Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (1979)

Words & Music: Stephen Sondheim

Book: Book by Hugh Wheeler based on the 1973 play Sweeney Todd, the Demon Barber of Fleet Street by Christopher Bond

Premise: Benjamin Barker, a London barber banished to Botany Bay on a trumped-up charge, returns to the city 15 years later as Sweeney Todd to wreak his revenge on the Judge and Beadle who sent him down. When he meets up with his now-widowed neighbour – the impoverished pie-maker Nellie Lovett – the pair embark on a murderous scheme to turn those looking for a shave into meat pies.

 

Major productions:

1979 Broadway: Uris (now Gershwin) Theatre

1980 London: Theatre Royal, Drury Lane

1980 USA National Tour

1982 National Tour

1982 TV: Dorothy Chandler Pavilion

1984 Houston Grand Opera

1984 New York City Opera

1985 London Revival

1989 Off-Broadway Production

1993 Royal National Theatre

1996 Goodspeed Opera House

1996 Leicester Haymarket

1999 Los Angeles Reprise! Concerts

2000 London Concert

2000 New York Philharmonic Concerts

2000 Bridewell Production
2001 Television Concert

2002 Kennedy Center Production

2002 Opera North

2002 Lyric Opera of Chicago Production

2003 Royal Opera House

2004 Watermill Production

2004 New York City Opera Revival

2005 Broadway Revival

2007 National Tour

2007 Film Version

2012 London Revival
2014 New York Philharmonic Concerts

2014 Tooting Arts Club

2015 London Revival

 

Broadway (1979)

Uris (now Gershwin) Theatre

222 W 51st St, New York, NY 10019, USA

 

Previews: 6 February 1979

Opens: 1 March 1979

Closes: 29 June 1980

Performances: 557

Director: Harold Prince

Musical Director: Paul Gemignani

Designer: Eugene Lee

Costume Designer: Franne Lee

Lighting: Ken Billington

Dance and Movement: Larry Fuller

Producers: Richard Barr, Charles Woodward,
Robert Fryer, Mary Lea Johnson, Martin Richards

Cast:

Sweeney Todd: Len Cariou

Mrs Lovett: Angela Lansbury
Judge Turpin:  Edmund Lyndeck
Beadle Bamford: Jack Eric Williams
Pirelli: Joaquin Romaguera

Beggar Woman: Merle Louise
Anthony Hope: Victor Garber
Tobias Ragg: Ken Jennings
Johanna Barker: Sarah Rice

Jonas Fogg: Robert Ousley

Musical Numbers:

Prologue

"Organ Prelude" - Instrumental

"The Ballad of Sweeney Todd" - Chorus, Todd

Act I

"No Place Like London" - Anthony, Todd, Beggar Woman

"The Barber and His Wife" - Todd

"The Worst Pies in London" - Mrs. Lovett

"The Barber and His Wife (Reprise)/Poor Thing" - Mrs. Lovett

"My Friends" - Todd and Mrs. Lovett

"The Ballad of Sweeney Todd (Reprise 1)" - Chorus

"Green Finch and Linnet Bird" - Johanna

"Ah, Miss/Green Finch and Linnet Bird (Reprise)" - Anthony, Johanna, Beggar Woman

"Johanna" - Anthony

"Pirelli's Miracle Elixir" - Tobias, Todd, Mrs. Lovett, Chorus

"The Contest" - Pirelli

"The Ballad of Sweeney Todd (Reprise 2)" - Chorus

"Johanna (Mea Culpa)" - Judge Turpin

"Wait" - Mrs. Lovett

"Pirelli's Death" - Pirelli

"The Ballad of Sweeney Todd (Reprise 3)" - Tenor Trio

"Kiss Me" - Johanna, Anthony

"Ladies in their Sensitivities" - Beadle, Judge Turpin

"Kiss Me (Quartet)" - Johanna, Anthony, Beadle, Judge Turpin

"Pretty Women" - Todd and Judge Turpin

"Epiphany" - Todd

"A Little Priest" - Mrs. Lovett and Todd

Act II

"God, that's Good!" - Tobias, Mrs. Lovett, Todd, and Chorus

"Johanna (Quartet)" - Anthony, Todd, Beggar Woman, Johanna

"By the Sea" - Mrs. Lovett and Todd

"Not While I'm Around" - Tobias and Mrs. Lovett

"Parlor Songs":

  • "Sweet Polly Plunkett" - Beadle

  • "The Tower of Bray" - Beadle, Mrs. Lovett, Tobias

  • "Sweet Polly Plunkett (Reprise)" - Mrs. Lovett"

The Ballad of Sweeney Todd (Reprise 5)" - Chorus, Lunatics

"Final Sequence":

  • "City on Fire" / "Searching" - Johanna, and Beggar Woman / Mrs. Lovett and Todd

  • "Ah, Miss (Reprise)" - Anthony and Johanna

  • "Beggar Woman's Lullaby" - Beggar Woman

  • "Pretty Women (Reprise)" - Todd and Judge Turpin

  • "The Ballad of Sweeney Todd (Reprise 6)" - Chorus

  • "Final Scene" - Mrs. Lovett and Todd

Epilogue

  • "The Ballad of Sweeney Todd (Reprise 7 - Finale)" - Company

Tooting Arts Club (2014)

Harrington's Pie Shop

3 Selkirk Rd, London SW17 0ER

Previews: 21 October 2014

Opens: 27 October 2014

Closes: 29 November 2014

Performances: 38

Director: Bill Buckhurst

Musical Director: Benjamin Cox

Designer: Simon Kenny

Lighting: Amy Mae Smith

Sound: Josh Richardson

Producer: Rachel Edwards

Co-Producer: Hilary Williams

Associate Producer: Tracey Childs

Cast:

Mrs Lovett: Siobhan McCarthy
Sweeney Todd: Jeremy Secomb
Judge Turpin:  Duncan Smith
Beadle Bamford: Ian Mowat
Pirelli/Beggar Woman: Kiara Jay
Anthony Hope: Nadim Naaman
Tobias Ragg: Joseph Taylor
Johanna Barker: Grace Chapman

Musical Numbers:

As per the 1979 Broadway production, except "Tooth Pulling Scene" was dropped, "The Letter" was spoken by Todd, and the Lunatics were dropped. The 32-seat pie shop (established 1908) placed some restrictions on the show, resulting in a number of cuts.

 
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