[Sca-cooks] OT & OOP: Sweeney Todd movie

Phil Troy / G. Tacitus Adamantius adamantius1 at verizon.net
Thu Nov 29 20:36:40 PST 2007

On Nov 29, 2007, at 10:38 PM, Caointiarn wrote:

> So for us who may not know  of this musical, is there an "original"
> recording we should find and view?  Or does such  a thing exist?
> Caointiarn

There's a 1982 road company performance of the original 1979 Harold  
Prince production (which is a version of the original Broadway  
production) that was broadcast on PBS and later appeared on home video  
and DVD.

But it's basically the same production, with the wonderful rotating  
split-level set, scene changes done by chorus members in costume, lots  
of trap doors, steam-powered machinery, etc. It's got some of the  
original cast members: Angela Lansbury as Mrs. Lovett, Edmund Lyndeck  
as Judge Turpin, Joaquin Romaguera as Pirelli, Ken Jennings as Tobias.  
Len Cariou is replaced by George Hearn, who is pretty good, and can  
sing, but knows not the meaning of the word "subtle". Ingénue heroine  
type, bland young hero type, and fifth-business/plot catalyst beggar  
woman are replacements. The hero, Antony, _had_ been played by Victor  
Garber, whose face seems inescapable to anyone watching broadcast TV  
for a couple hours today.

Well, anyway, this is available on DVD, and there's also a concert  
performance (basically a version staged without sets and period  
costumes) with George Hearn and Patti Lupone in the lead roles. As far  
as I know, those are the only video options for the musical, both are  
pretty good in their own way. Cast albums on audio CD for various  
productions are also available, but you really want the 1979 Broadway  
production, with the full cast and full orchestra. It's just the way  
the show was written. There was a popular 2005 or 2006 revival with  
Michael Cerveris and Patti Lupone (and a bunch of wooden boxes) with  
an alleged high-quality cast album, but it just sounds all tinny and  

There's a bunch of footage from various productions available on  
YouTube (mostly individual scenes/songs), for those whose impatience  
outweighs their dedication to quality...


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