Sweeney Todd

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Sweeney Todd

Post  MlleMusique on Sun Oct 25, 2009 10:34 pm

I'm so annoyed we lost the old topic! Had some good stuff on there.
Anyway, I watched 'Sweeney Todd: in concert' last night so I'm on a Sweeney thing at the moment...I might even watch the movie again...

Any other Sweeney fans?

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Re: Sweeney Todd

Post  Scorp on Sun Oct 25, 2009 10:49 pm

Yep. IMHO it's probably the best musical ever written (in objective technical terms, Phantom is obviously my favourite by a mile). Was anyone here lucky enough to catch the John Doyle revival on Broadway? I really wanted to see it but couldn't go to New York at the time. Sad I did get to see the star-cast concert at the RFH in London a couple of years ago ( Surprised was it really that long ago?). Not great acoustics in spite of the multi-million pound refurbishment but some great performances from Bryn Terfel, Maria Friedman, Daniel Evans, Philip Quast, Emma Williams and Rosemary Ashe! I also really like Tim Burton's film version; it's the only stage-to-screen musical transition that I think has actually been successful (otherwise I generally cringe at movie musicals).

For anyone in London, I don't know if it's still on the Time Out website but at the time of the film they released a fantastic Sweeney guided tour of the relevant parts of the City for you to listen to on your iPod/mp3 player. Gave you loads of history complete with all the directions you needed. Well worth doing, I learnt a lot!

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Re: Sweeney Todd

Post  Paula74 on Sun Oct 25, 2009 11:07 pm

It's one of my two favorite Sondheim musicals, the other being Company.

I saw the Sweeney Todd revival on Broadway a few years ago. I know that Doyle's concept for it wasn't everyone's cup of tea, but I absolutely loved it. The only weak spot for me was Patti Lupone. Her diction was awful...if I hadn't heard the songs before or hadn't been familiar with the story, it would've been hard to follow her. And she never seemed to be Mrs. Lovett, but was always Patti Lupone with a bad accent and frowzy clothes. Loved the rest of the cast, though, and the staging was interesting in a stark Edward Gorey-esque way.

Have to admit that I did not care for the Burton film at all. I saw it twice...once at the movie theater and once on DVD. I just felt like I was watching a grisly cartoon.

I wish I could see Casa Manana's upcoming production since Norm Lewis will be playing Sweeney.

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Re: Sweeney Todd

Post  Scorp on Sun Oct 25, 2009 11:39 pm

Paula74 wrote:

I saw the Sweeney Todd revival on Broadway a few years ago. I know that Doyle's concept for it wasn't everyone's cup of tea, but I absolutely loved it.

I loved it too. I have a friend who hates it and swears by the Hal Prince version, but I never saw that live and what I have seen of it doesn't quite do it for me (surprising since I usually adore Hal Prince's direction).

Paula74 wrote:The only weak spot for me was Patti Lupone. Her diction was awful...if I hadn't heard the songs before or hadn't been familiar with the story, it would've been hard to follow her.

LOL, *ahem*, not quite as bad as her infamous "fillmeupwithyaheatwithyanoisewithyadirtoverdome" from Evita and "ilovenananananana" ("I love flannel on a man") from Sunset! Still like in spite (or even for?) it though (not in the stereotypical "OMG Patti Lupone IS GOD" way though, especially as I am beginning to find her diva antics more and more bizarre and unjustified).

And she never seemed to be Mrs. Lovett, but was always Patti Lupone with a bad accent and frowzy clothes.

Yeah, the accent was...odd. I think Ben Brantley made a funny comment about that too. That said it's not as horrendous as her Lansbury-influenced failed attempt in the televised concert with George Hearn.

I think the staging really worked well. I do understand some of the criticism saying that if you were new to the show it was unfollowable, though.

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Re: Sweeney Todd

Post  SenorSwanky on Mon Oct 26, 2009 1:05 am

LuPone's always been a very self-conscious performer for me; she never seems to immerse herself in a role and lose her own personality. Her voice has never been my cup of tea, either. Though I do love her Worst Pies in London in the concert version.

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Re: Sweeney Todd

Post  LadyCDaae on Mon Oct 26, 2009 3:12 pm

This ranks alongside PotO as one of my all-time favorite musicals, and is one of three shows I consider to be perfect on the technical level (the other two are The Music Man and A Chorus Line). I have a weakness for bat-guano insane Victorians, I guess.

I enjoyed the Burton movie, though Helena Bonham-Carter's characterization wasn't to my taste and I missed all the chorus numbers.

~LCD

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Re: Sweeney Todd

Post  Scorp on Mon Dec 07, 2009 7:32 am

Am I allowed to brag? What a Face

Just won a mint condition signed OBC opening night Playbill on eBay, although I really really don't have the money to spend on it...but I figured I would regret not snapping it up otherwise: http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=270493311273&ssPageName=ADME:L:COSI:GB:1123

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Re: Sweeney Todd

Post  IamErik771 on Wed Feb 03, 2010 5:13 pm

Sweeney may well be not only my favorite musical, but also my favorite stage work out of all the plays, operas, and musicals I've encountered. I've gotten to see it live twice (same production here in Hawaii), and was quite impressed with it. And of course, I've seen and loved the DVD releases of the productions with George Hearn. I also quite enjoyed Tim Burton's film -- while it did cut a lot of parts I loved from the stage version, it also kept true to much of the original's spirit and avoided overdoing some of the campy aspects of the story. I'd love to see a live production again sometime soon.

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Re: Sweeney Todd

Post  Paula74 on Fri Feb 05, 2010 12:55 am

IamErik771 wrote:I'd love to see a live production again sometime soon.

So would I. But I can't see a production happening around here. About a year ago, I got to know a guy who directs some small local shows. He mentioned that he really would love to direct Sweeney Todd here, but every time he suggests it, the powers-that-be look at him in horror. He has a hard time selling them on Sondheim shows in general.

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Re: Sweeney Todd

Post  ML6 on Fri Feb 05, 2010 1:43 am

Ah, Sweeney Todd. My first introduction to this musical was years ago, back when first getting into Phantom and a friend told me that she was watching the DVD. I looked it up, found it at the library, and brought it home. (Mind you, I was seventeen at the time!)

I always liked shows where they had the libretto featured in with the CD (like Phantom) so I got to enjoy it well. And not long after, I found the VHS of the Hearn production... and then they released it on DVD and I snapped that up.

Personally, I disregard what Hal Prince said (metaphorically) about it being during the 'Industrial Revolution'. That's not at ALL what I got from his staging. How I viewed it?: In the musical Elisabeth, there are ghosts that rise from the graves to tell the story of Elisabeth. So in Sweeney Todd, you see two people come onstage and start digging a hole in the ground. The next thing you know the whistle blows, and the stage goes dark, and when the whistle ends, the stage shows all these people. I took it as they were in a graveyard not far from the factory, and the people on the stage are the ghosts of people who Sweeney affected. Which is a bit complicated since A.) They're burying Sweney's body ; B.) Some of those people Sweeney didn't kill. And, the fact that the time frame wouldn't really match with my idea. But, it would explain how they appeared on the stage so quickly after the whistle. And how they are able to interact with the ghosts at the end when Sweeney and Lovett rise from their graves.

[ I also have this book where Hal Prince is interviewed about Sweeney Todd and he said that although he didn't HATE working on it, he just didn't 'get it'. Which is why the staging is so... not there? (And probably why I was able to get some weird 'ghost story' from it.) He has good things to say about it, but he just doesn't understand the popularity that it got (and that it still gets). ]

Personally, I enjoy the costuming in the Hal Prince version a lot more because I respectfully like things that ahere to the timeframe (though Sweeney is a musical you can technically perform during any time). I didn't care for the staging in London/Broadway of the revival because of the ghastly orchestrations and the costuming. Ugh.

As for the film, the film is really pretty and I can tell that Burton must have used some of his ideas from the DVD and the original show he saw in London. But overall, I perfer the Hal Prince version because it's fuller and it plays more like a 'ghost story' than a tight knit musical (like the revival was).

Btw, I was the one that Scorp mentioned who likes the Hal Prince one more. Razz

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Re: Sweeney Todd

Post  operafantomet on Fri Feb 05, 2010 10:51 pm

Sweeney Todd war in Denmark!! Two major theatres to perform it this year:

Odense teater: http://www.odenseteater.dk/01892/01896/
Aarhus teater 2010/2011: http://www.aarhusteater.dk/nyheder.asp?AjrDcmntId=1775

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Re: Sweeney Todd

Post  Scorp on Wed Feb 17, 2010 3:19 pm

Mr Sondheim's doing a talk at the National Theatre here in London this afternoon. I queued up for day tickets this morning and it was worth it, because I've got a front row seat. Squee! Very Happy This will help me get over that encounter with Lloyd Webber a few days ago... Laughing

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Re: Sweeney Todd

Post  operafantomet on Sun Jul 11, 2010 9:15 pm

"Sweeney Todd" just finished a successful run in Odense in Denmark, with ex-Phantom Preben Kristensen as Sweeney and Stig Rossen as the judge. Alas I didn't get to see this one. But another Danish production is due in spring 2011, with ex-Phantom Flemming Enevold in the title role. *gaaaaasp* MUST see!

http://www.aarhusteater.dk/default.asp?Id=1648

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Re: Sweeney Todd

Post  Paula74 on Sun Jul 11, 2010 9:25 pm

I've been in the mood for Sweeney Todd lately and was just listening to the 2005 revival earlier.

There is a local production...well, at Barrington Stages about an hour from me, but not in any location I can travel to without a car...that I had really wanted to see. Unfortunately, the reviews haven't been good.

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Re: Sweeney Todd

Post  operafantomet on Tue Jun 07, 2011 9:07 am

A promo video on Aarhus teater's Sweeney Todd production, starring Flemming Enevold in the title role. I'm so sad to have missed this production, it looks splendid, much cooler than I imagined based on photos.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fNwMsqyHhgU&

Another 3 minute long clip showing the design and the scene transactions. Very cool video!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=26MCY0406mg

A third video showing the musical in making. I wish more theatres did promo like this.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sXgB2fTxIso

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Re: Sweeney Todd

Post  operafantomet on Fri Aug 26, 2011 11:37 pm

I saw Charlie Chaplin's "The Dictator" tonight. Great movie!

I don't know if this has been mentioned before, but I am pretty sure either Johnny Depp (who watched a lot of Chaplin movies when he created his Edward Scissorhands character) or costume designer Colleen Atwood borrowed a little from "The Dictator" when recreating Sweeney for the big screen.

No, I'm not talking about his Hitler Hynkel. Look at Chaplin's jewish character, the guy with dark, wavy hair and a white strain of hair on the forehead. Profession: barber. Look at his female side kick, with dark, long, curly "bird nest" hair. Maybe it's just me, but I immediately saw a strong resemblance to the Sweeney Todd movie. Forget the mustache. Just look at the overall types. I'm pretty sure the creators of Sweeney made a nice historical movie nod here:

From 6:14: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9nGRhLKDI6k

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Re: Sweeney Todd

Post  SenorSwanky on Sat Aug 27, 2011 3:49 pm

Might be, particularly the woman.

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Re: Sweeney Todd

Post  ML6 on Tue Aug 30, 2011 8:19 pm

There is a version of Sweeney Todd that is playing at the Theatre du Chatlet in France. It has an English speaking cast. Seems to be a collaboration - both sets and costumes of the original 1979 production and the film. The singers are all right, but I don't find them all that fantastic. Sweeney has a nice voice, but I just think he could be... better. Caroline O'Connor I only know from De-Lovely, so I can't say much about her, either.

Here are some clips posted by the theatre themselves:

http://youtu.be/y-DaLzQqDgM
http://youtu.be/wyxn_sh6nhg

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Re: Sweeney Todd

Post  SenorSwanky on Wed Aug 31, 2011 3:00 am

Yeah, not very impressed.

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Re: Sweeney Todd

Post  Scorp on Fri Nov 04, 2011 10:00 am

The Chichester production with Michael Ball as Todd (apparently completely unrecognisable as him!) and Imelda Staunton as Lovett is transferring to the West End! It's going to be at the Adelphi from 10 March or something like that, pretty much exactly two years after a certain other show occupied the theatre and violated it... I hope it is suitably decontaminated before I go.

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Re: Sweeney Todd

Post  SenorSwanky on Sat Nov 05, 2011 12:55 am

Dude, I'd love to see that duo. I've wanted to see Ball take a crack at the Phantom for some time.

Here's a sort of trailer of the production: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rrYGl5wTwhs

Looks great. Seems they've reset the show in a more recent time, like early 20th rather than early 19th century.

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Re: Sweeney Todd

Post  TheFinnishPhantom on Thu Feb 23, 2012 7:29 am

Found this totally awesome original Broadway commercial today;

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=90vBH847AD4&feature=watch_response

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Re: Sweeney Todd

Post  AlwaysChristine on Sat Apr 07, 2012 6:40 pm

Who had seen the actual production with Michael Ball?
I want to see it. I heard the CD and I was so scared, it was so great.
More and more I like this Sondheim piece. Very dark.

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Re: Sweeney Todd

Post  Scorp on Sun Apr 08, 2012 9:16 am

SweetChristine wrote:Who had seen the actual production with Michael Ball?
I want to see it. I heard the CD and I was so scared, it was so great.
More and more I like this Sondheim piece. Very dark.

I'm going to see it soon, haven't decided when yet. I went to the cast recording signing at Dress Circle; both Ball and Staunton were incredibly friendly and jovial. They seem like they're having the time of their lives.

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Re: Sweeney Todd

Post  AlwaysChristine on Sun Apr 08, 2012 9:34 am

Scorp wrote:
SweetChristine wrote:Who had seen the actual production with Michael Ball?
I want to see it. I heard the CD and I was so scared, it was so great.
More and more I like this Sondheim piece. Very dark.

I'm going to see it soon, haven't decided when yet. I went to the cast recording signing at Dress Circle; both Ball and Staunton were incredibly friendly and jovial. They seem like they're having the time of their lives.

Oh great! I get a signed copy, Dress Circle is wonderful.
I have the same feeling, I hope I can see it soon...it´s a must for me...

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Re: Sweeney Todd

Post  HerMajesty on Sat Apr 21, 2012 7:40 am

SweetChristine wrote:Who had seen the actual production with Michael Ball?
I want to see it. I heard the CD and I was so scared, it was so great.
More and more I like this Sondheim piece. Very dark.

We saw it last week, it's excellent. Imelda Staunton in particular is outstanding, such a great actress.

Some of the supporting characters are weak, but it's still an excellent production.

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Re: Sweeney Todd

Post  Scorp on Thu May 31, 2012 11:15 pm

HerMajesty wrote:
SweetChristine wrote:Who had seen the actual production with Michael Ball?
I want to see it. I heard the CD and I was so scared, it was so great.
More and more I like this Sondheim piece. Very dark.

We saw it last week, it's excellent. Imelda Staunton in particular is outstanding, such a great actress.

Some of the supporting characters are weak, but it's still an excellent production.

Agree. Staunton = perfection in this. My favourite Lovett now.

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Re: Sweeney Todd

Post  purplehaze93 on Wed Nov 21, 2012 10:29 pm

I was reading on Davis Gaines's website, that he played Sweeney at some point...and people raved about how wonderful he was, which isn't a surprise considering who he is. Just curious if anyone has any more information on this? As to when he played it, and surely if anyone has seen him, please give your two cents!

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Re: Sweeney Todd

Post  Miss.Christine.Daae on Sat Dec 27, 2014 10:53 pm

Second favorite musical right here; it's so brilliant! I have both stage versions with George Hearn on DVD, as well as the OBC Recording. If I may add: I had the wonderful privilege of interviewing Ken Jennings, the original Tobias. Very Happy If anyone's interested in reading the interview, you can go here: emmykami.tumblr.com/post/98255697312/attend-the-tale-interview-w-broadway-veteran-ken (copy + paste since it isn't letting me link it). Enjoy if you decide to read it! Smile

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