Tag Archives: Stephen Sondheim

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 … Continue reading →

Sweeney Todd – Ahmanson Theatre

It’s closed now so you missed it, but it was definitely an interesting experience. It was REALLY nice to see the musical again after the movie since there were bits and pieces that I missed in the movie that are SO delicious on stage (mostly the main chorus – “Attend the tale of Sweeney Todd”). It was a very interesting performance because they make 2 major departures from the traditional presentation of it: 1) The play is more symbolic than realistic, taking place in a mental ward, allowing for each of the actors to extend their character into a psychological condition. Also there’s far less actual violence than in the original. For every death, a bucket of “blood” is transfered for another bucket and that character puts on a bloodied doctor’s coat for the remainder of the show. Also the “chair” which is a really cool part of the non-symbolic … Continue reading →

Sweeney Todd – The Demon Barber of Fleet Street and Misc Internet Mischief

Sweeney Todd This was a phenomenal movie musical. Haven’t seen the show in 2 years, but it’s Sondheim and Tim Burton and it’s just incredible. The bloody visions of Tim Burton fit perfectly with Sondheim’s bloodiest musical and it’s just beautiful. The film is visually very stylistic…I wouldn’t say cel-shaded per se, but it’s the closest description I have for the visual draining of color that occurs in the film that just makes the blood that much more stark and dramatic. Johnny Depp delivers an amazing performance as the titular Demon Barber. Helena Bonham Carter-Burton is great as Mrs. Lovett – so very funny and very manipulative. Alan Rickman can sing? Holy crap! Is there anything he can’t do? Timothy Spall seems to have gotten a career spike from Harry Potter (Petter Pettigrew) as this is the second big holiday movie I’ve seen him in (Enchanted) but I can’t complain … Continue reading →

Jekyll and Hyde and Why I’m Pathetic

Jekyll and Hyde is a fascinating musical adaptation of the classic Robert Louis Stevenson novel featuring the schizophrenic, “chemical”-addicted Victorian doctor trying to destroy the “Duality of Man”. I don’t remember ever reading Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, but somehow the concept has always been present in popular culture. Anyone know why? I mean it can’t just be The Pagemaster (featuring Leonard Nimoy as Jekyll and Hyde), can it? Anyways. T. Eric Hart did a fascinating job as the aforementioned Doctor, but the real star of the show is the music. Frank Wildhorn is an incredible composer. His music has this indelible movie-soundtrack quality that makes it so much fun to listen to. Yesterday at my singing lesson, I briefly talked with my vocal coach about the upcoming Sweeney Todd adaptation and I voiced my opinion how in the beginning of the trailer, Johnny Depp sounds a LOT like Jack … Continue reading →

Sweeney Todd Uses Hairspray, Morgan Creek Takes Stupid Pills

Christopher Walken wants more cowbell with his HAIRSPRAY!!! Cool….although John Travolta in drag is NOT something I’m excited to see…but hey, anybody (and I mean anybody) is better than Harvey Fierstien. Don’t get me wrong he’s got a place in my hall of fame for his comedy…but I hate his rendition of Edna Turnblad…almost made me crash my car when it popped up for the first time. SWEENEY TODD sharpens his scissors as Burton directs Depp to cut… hair again! I can only pray it’s a musical rendition (I have no idea the singing talents of the cast) and not a dramaticized version of the show sans singing. Also praying it’s not another Planet of the Apes. Oh God… are they SON OF THE MASKing ACE VENTURA??? Let’s hope not…


This was my first time seeing the show, but I was far from unfamiliar with the material…I’d been listening to the soundtrack for at least 8 years if not longer and absolutely love the show. This production was a well put-together performance that was wonderful to watch. The director decided to put the assassins in a hotel lobby/bar reminiscent of the Hollywood Hotel (of Twilight Zone fame), which makes the fairway references in the opening number a little vague, but none-the-less works really well as the entire cast is onstage all the time, watching the different vignettes occurring with various reactions. My favorite character before seeing the show was Guiteau (whom I now love twice as much thanks to the actor’s fantastic performance), but now my allegiance is divided between him and Sam Bicke, who is dressed in a Santa suit and has two fantastic 5-min monologues where he records … Continue reading →

Sweeney Todd – STAGEStheatre

Sweeney Todd This was an incredible performance. If you think about it, Sweeny Todd could really be pulled off in a small space: all you really need from a big stage is that “cube” that has the upstairs barbershop and the downstairs shop which rotates to the oven which rotates to the parlor. This can be (and was) re-envisioned into a small space with two floors. It was beautiful to watch. The small space also makes the chorus that much more haunting as they stare at you from less than 10 feet away screaming “SWEENY!” at you. Holy carp was that exciting! The harmonies were incredibly tight and sounded fantastic. Paired with canned music (which is normally horrible to envision), this resulted in a well-paced and beautiful sounding piece. The acting was incredible, especially Sweeny (who also directed AND musical directed the show) and Mrs. Lovett. They had incredible chemisty … Continue reading →