It has recently been announced that a semi-staged and semi operatic version of Sweeney Todd will run at the London Coliseum in March 2015 starring Emma Thompson and Bryn Terfel. The show is a reprisal of a production that ran at New York’s Lincoln Centre with the New York Philharmonic. Thompson and Terfel will reprise their roles of Mrs Lovett and Sweeney Todd.
Public booking for the new production opens on September 23rd.
The musical follows the Demon Barber of Fleet Street as he returns to London as a convict from Australia seeking revenge against those who separated him from his wife and child. On arriving in London he meets Mrs Lovett, who owns a failing pie shop and recognises Todd as his real name Benjamin Barker. She quickly tells him his wife Lucy died at the hands of Judge Turpin, who keeps his daughter Joanna locked up as his ward, intending to marry her. As she reveals his shaving razor his arm ‘feels complete again’ and he sets up his barber business above Mrs Lovett’s shop. Seeking revenge leads to murder, and prompted by Mrs Lovett his victims become fresh ingredients for her pies which boost sales and lead to the tragic conclusion.
Featuring one of Sondheim’s darkest and most intricate scores Jonathan Tunick provides fresh orchestrations which resonates around the theatre. From the opening chords of the organ prelude to the chilling sound of the factory whistle, the mood remains atmospheric through the choral sounds of ‘The Ballad of Sweeney Todd’ to the more intense ‘Epiphany’. The lyrics are witty and exciting, with comic songs such as ‘By the Sea’ and ‘A Little Priest’ lodged firmly into the musical theatre repertoire.
After opening in London at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane for a limited run in 1980 starring Dennis Quilley and Sheila Hancock the show won the 1980 Olivier Award for Best Musical. The most successful London production was the 1998 National Theatre revival at the small Cottesloe Theatre starring Alun Armstrong and Julia McKenzie which was praised for its intense drama and chamber-musical production elements. In 2004 John Doyle presented an actor-musician production of the show which transferred to Trafalgar Studios and The Ambassadors Theatre, before being revived on Broadway starring Michael Cerveris and Patti LuPone.
In 2011 a very successful production of Sweeney Todd starring Imelda Staunton and Michael Ball opened to rave reviews as part of the Chichester Theatre festival. The show then transferred to London’s West End at the Adelphi Theatre where it ran for 6 months in 2012.
Please browse our site for current cast and creatives information, as well as a full history of the show and discussions of the film and the work of Stephen Sondheim.