Sweeney Todd – Musical Theatre West

Phenomenal!!! I walked out of the theatre like. giddy fan boy!

This musical is almost tied with Urinetown as the show I’ve seen the most (I’ve seen 5 different productions of Urinetown and now 4 of Sweeney – once with Norman Large (EEEE) at Riverside Community Theatre; once with John Massey Jr directing, musical directing and starring as Sweeney at STAGEStheatre; and once at the Ahmanson with it’s Tony-award winning “artistic” rendition). Does the movie count as the fifth time? ;-D

This was hands-down one of the best large stage productions of Sweeney Todd I’ve ever seen. The set design, the lighting, the dancing, the singing, the acting – it’s all absolutely phenomenal. It’s no small wonder that the director (who has been in several productions of Sweeney as The Beadle – including the first National Tour) was able to pull this off, but even today it’s still a masterful stroke of Sondheim’s brush that this show is as rich and vibrant as it was almost 30 years ago (as evidenced on the DVD recording). The stars of the show are definitely Norman Large as Sweeney and Debbie Prutsman as Mrs. Lovett, but equal applause goes to the rest of the cast who function as Greek Chorus, assorted people of London-town, and stage hands – moving set pieces while the leads strut about giving us the play. Their vocal power and gaunt stares only enhance the dark, brooding melancholy that is Sweeney Todd, the Demon Barber of Fleet Street.

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