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Welcome to Theatre Talk with Vanessa! Here I will give a brief synopsis of musicals that I have listened to and give you my in-depth opinion on my favorite and least favorite aspects of the show. Feel free to send in any shows you want me to write about or listen to if I’m unfamiliar with the show!
Most of you do not know, but I was very involved in my high school’s theatre program. One of my favorite shows that we ever put on was “Sweeney Todd,” which we did my senior year. The show, based on the book by Christopher Bond with music written by the legendary Stephen Sondheim, is about a barber named Sweeney Todd who has had many troubles in his life and is an ultimate pessimist who wants the world to pay. The show has many twists and turns that I would never want to spoil and many dark moments as well. This is for sure not a show suitable for kids under 15 years old.
“Sweeney Todd” opened on Broadway with the principle cast of Len Cariou as the title character; Angela Lansbury as Mrs. Lovett, a struggling baker: Sarah Rice as Johanna, Todd’s daughter and Edmund Lyndeck as Judge Turpin. The original production opened on March 1, 1979 and closed on June 29, 1980, with 557 performances and 19 previews. There have also been many tours around the USA and internationally, even in London at West End. Tim Burton even directed a movie adaption of the musical with Johnny Depp as Sweeney Tood and Helena Bohnam Carter as Mrs. Lovett.
The show’s music is very hard, but is so much fun to perform. It is truly music to your ears when it is performed correctly but quite a horrendous sound when you are beginning to get a feel for the notes you are playing and singing. Some of my favorite songs include “No Place Like London,” “Pirelli’s Miracle Elixir” and “A Little Priest.”
I loved being in this show because I was able to play many different characters, all while still displaying a dark demeanor to the audience. My favorite character that I played in the show was a lunatic in the insane asylum, and I love playing crazy characters so this was a big treat for me. Being in the ensemble is without a doubt the best part of the show. The principle characters are amazing, of course, but as an ensemble member you are able to be so many different characters in one show.
Overall, I believe that “Sweeney Todd” is a great musical to see if you are tired of seeing all of the happy-go-lucky musicals and want a story that is truly sad and depressing. Stephen Sondheim is a household name that most theatre fans would know, so add this to your list of shows by Sondheim that you know, and have yourself a great time! Or at least the best time that you can… it is a show about death, after all.
Vanessa Rodriguez-Mclean is a second-year student majoring in media and culture with a minor in journalism. VR925245@wcupa.edu