Sweeney Todd in Concert
This delicious production of Stephen Sondheim's Sweeney Todd: The Demon Ba rber of Fleet Street, a musical thriller of revenge and romance set in Victorian Engla nd, features Broadway diva Patti LuPone as Mrs. Lovett and veteran stage actor George Hear n in the title role. Premiering in 1979, the legendary Sweeney Todd--winner of nine New York Drama Critics Circle Awards and eight Tony Awards--is recorded with the San Fran cisco Symphony as conducted by Rob Fisher. Cast:
Patti LuPone: Mrs. Lovett
George Hearn: Sweeney Todd
Davis Gaines: Anthony Hope
Lisa Vroman: Johanna
Neil Patrick Harris: Tobias Ragg
Timothy Nolen: Judge Turpin
John Aler: Beadle
Victoria Clark: Beggar Woman
Stanford Olsen: Pirelli
The San Francisco Symphony Orchestra's 2001 concert production of Stephen Sondheim's witty shocker is musically superb and (even without scenery) theatrically effective. The performers are in costume and use a few essential props such as Todd's razor, but more than these details the quality of their singing and acting makes this production stand out. It looks like a final seal of approval at the end when Sondheim comes out, smiling, to take a bow.
Sweeney Todd evokes a special balance of horror and comedy because injustice, revenge, and cannibalism are the subjects of its grisly humor, balanced with moments of romantic idealism. George Hearn in the title role and Patti LuPone as the enterprising, utterly amoral pie seller Mrs. Lovett are both brilliant, with an excellent supporting cast. Members of the orchestra are occasionally seen behind the action, but frequent, effective close-up shots of the singers generate a dramatic atmosphere. --Joe McLellan
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
Top Customer Reviews
And the actors!!! They are all amazingly talented, have divine voices, and have an incredible grasp on the complex characters. Twenty years after replacing Len Cariou on Broadway, George Hearn proves he still has what it takes to make an amazing Sweeney. If anything, the added years have made his performance even stronger than it was on the '82 video recording, and his voice hasn't weakened one bit.
Another real find is Neil Patrick Harris (who knew the ex-Dougie Houser was a tenor?), who earned Sondheim's seal of approval as "the definitive Tobias." Watching this performance will prove the platitude is not wasted. Harris is instantly charming from the moment he takes stage, and the Act II ballad "Not While I'm Around" will break your heart. He sings it with such emotion and a crystal-clear tenor voice that your heart will immediately go out to him, and the song is one of the highlights of this uniformly excellent DVD.
However, for me "Sweeney Todd" has and will always be about Mrs. Lovett, and Patti LuPone's performance delivers in spades. Now, don't get me wrong, Angela Lansbury's performance in the original cast is irreplaceable, but LuPone comes in a very close second.Read more ›
Overall, I enjoyed watching this concert because I like the music a lot. But if you're only going to buy one version of this, get the '82 production with Angela Lansbury. Patti Lupone's interpretation of Mrs. Lovett was almost too sinister, too sensual. She was really unlikeable.
Neil Patrick Harris was surprisingly good. My only problem with him is that he looked a little too old (perhaps costume might have helped here too)and too wise. Maybe it is because he is so tall.. Overall, I just got the feeling that there was something missing. It felt too serious and I felt that when the audience laughed, it wasn't because they were laughing at Lupone's great delivery, rather it was because they knew a funny line was coming so they laughed courteously. If you're a true Sweeney Todd fan, you should have this as part of your collection. Otherwise, stick to the '82 version.
Sweeney; I suffered from that affliction of many fans of
masterworks - my definitive version was the first one I
attended and since it was the production mounted in Sydney
in 1988, I had no recording of it to reprise.
Yes, you yanks, we do stage musicals in Australia.
It was about as different from this production in musical
forces as you can get. However, it shared the absolute
*focus* on tragedy that this production keeps.
I couldn't come at the lauded 1982 recording with my heart,
pleasing enough though the musicality and Grand Guignol shocks were; I couldn't feel the apprehension which the Sydney performances maintained from the first screaming whistle.
Then a couple of months ago, I caught this production on our
public broadcast channel.
It is *the* Show. In every way.
The big band with big operatic voices is a revelation.
The staging with pared down props and action is still the full
And the new judge's stuff adds to the whole.
The camera is so clearly scripted. It is as much a stage tool as the clever ramps.
The shocks are still delivered but they are more from the musicians now.
I am very glad the dvd is in stock at my favourite US store.
It has been played here after dinner every night this week.
If you haven't experienced a Sweeney performance yet,
then make sure you see this one first.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
I saw this in person and am so delighted to be able to have a copy to enjoy again.Published 9 months ago by Joseph D. Driskill
Having read all of the comments on this DVD I just felt like I had to put in my oar. I loved this version to me dispite the lack of costumes or props this is the prefect version. Read morePublished on March 24 2004
This is a very well staged Concert production of Sondheims Sweeney Todd and really proves that music and characters are so strong that no opulent scenery or costumes are... Read morePublished on Feb. 7 2004 by Bo V. Rasmussen
I have seen all three versions, Harold Prinze whom introduced it to me personally when he did the 1982 version, but this new version slightly different lacking a set, but only... Read morePublished on Jan. 4 2004 by tim donohue
Having seen the Lansbury/Hearn "Sweeney Todd" on VHS, I approached this re-make with a certain reluctance. A mistake on my part. Read morePublished on July 29 2003 by jwalzer
In less than two weeks, after buying both the ORIGINAL BROADWAY CAST ALBUM, watching the taped 1982 live performance on VHS (originally aired on PBS and currently out-of-print) and... Read morePublished on Feb. 26 2003 by Nate Bush
To: Mark Orell; That little bit that Pirelli sings before he is slain does not have a name; it's technically a reprise of "The Contest" with different words. Read morePublished on Jan. 30 2003 by Elise Godfrey
Attend the tale of Sweeney Todd.
His skin was pale and his eye was odd.
These are the first words of one of the finest musicals ever written. Read more
Look for similar items by category
- Movies & TV > Drama
- Movies & TV > Horror > Slasher Flicks
- Movies & TV > Music Video & Concerts > DTS
- Movies & TV > Musicals & Performing Arts > Broadway
- Movies & TV > Musicals & Performing Arts > Musicals > Broadway
- Movies & TV > Musicals & Performing Arts > Musicals > Concerts
- Movies & TV > Mystery & Suspense > Crime